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CHAPTER FIVE Linking Adaptation Efforts Across the Nation A daptation is a process and not mainly about a set of actions to be taken right now. Nevertheless, this report does identify some âlow-hanging fruitâ: near- term options to mainstream adaptation into current policies and programs (Chapter 8). Adaptation is primarily about developing a multiparty, public-private national framework for becoming more adaptable over time: improving information systems for telling us what is happening, both with climate change impacts and with adaptation experiences; working together across institutional and social boundaries to combine what each party does best; and making it a part of our national culture to continually revisit what risk management strategies make sense as we learn more about what we are facing from climate change. In this sense, adaptation poses enormous challenges across sectors, jurisdictions, and levels of governance. Successful adaptation to climate change involves a multitude of interested partners and decision makers: federal, state, and local governments; the pri- vate sector, large and small; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and community groups; and others. The issue is how to create a framework in which all of the parties can work together effectively, taking advantage of the strengths of each and ensuring that their activities reinforce each other rather than getting in each otherâs way. There are three general kinds of alternative approaches for meeting this need: 1. A strong federal government adaptation program, nested in a body of federal government laws, regulations, and institutions. With this approach, the federal government would take the lead in identifying adaptation actions in the national interest, mandate appropriate responses while providing resources to support them, set goals for improvements in the nationâs adaptive capaci- ties, and ensure coordination with other national programs and other parties nationwide. 2. A grassrootsÂbased, bottomÂup approach that is very largely selfÂdriven. Ad- aptation planning and actions would be decentralized. Decisions would be made without significant federal encouragement or coordination, except for programs of the federal agencies themselves. Current adaptation efforts are largely occurring in this manner.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E 3. An intermediate approach. Planning and actions would be decentralized but the federal government would play a significant role as a catalyst and coordi- nator at the outset, providing information and technical resources, and con- tinually evaluating needs for additional risk management at a national level. In consultation with social scientists, practitioners, and stakeholders, this panel consid- ered all three approaches and found that the intermediate approach had the stron- gest support among these groups. The examples presented in this chapter substanti- ate this finding. ADAPTIvE CAPACITy How do we build the capacity across the vast range of decision makers in government, businesses, and households throughout the nation to understand, assess, and address their vulnerabilities to climate change? As previous chapters have emphasized, vul- nerabilities to climate change and options for adaptation are so diverse and so often specific to local contexts that adaptation decisions will need to be made and imple- mented by a wide variety of parties in all levels of government, business, and society at large. Vulnerability to the impacts of climate change depends on not just the exposure to impacts but also the sensitivity and the capacity to cope with the impacts. There- fore, assessing and building adaptive capacity will be a critical factor in determining the nationâs vulnerability to the impacts of a changing climate (Adger and Vincent, 2005). In addressing this capacity-building challenge, there is often a mismatch be- tween the scale at which an adaptation decision should be made and the capacities to adapt. This mismatch involves both knowledge about what to adapt to and the financial and human resources to make the adaptation happen. Because governance is an important determinant of adaptive capacity, this chapterâs discussion focuses on the role of the public sector in adaptation and its capacity to carry out this responsibil- ity (Finan and Nelson, 2009; Moser, 2009a). Adaptive capacity is the ability or potential of a system to respond successfully to climate variability and change, and includes adjustments in both behavior and in resources and technologies. (Adger et al., 2007) The capacity to adapt to new stresses associated with climate change is uneven across and within sectors, regions, and countries (IPCC, 2007a; OâBrien et al., 2006). Although wealthy countries and regions have more resources to direct to this issue, the availabil- ity of financial resources is only one factor in determining adaptive capacity (Moss et al., 2001). Other factors include the ability to recognize the importance of the problem 0
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation in the context of multiple stresses, to identify vulnerable sectors and communities, to translate scientific knowledge into action, and to implement projects and programs. The will of politicians (or the will of constituents to enable their representatives) to make decisions and spend resources on long-term investments is especially difficult given the uncertainties associated with the future magnitude of climate change; this critical ingredient of adaptive capacity is unfortunately often lacking. Furthermore, the capacity to adapt is dynamic and influenced by economic and natural resources, social networks, entitlements, institutions and governance, human resources, and technol- ogy (see Chapters 2-4 of this report; IPCC, 2007a). It is important to understand that nations with greater wealth are not necessarily less vulnerable to climate impacts, and to acknowledge that a socioeconomic system might be as vulnerable as its weakest link (Tol and Yohe, 2007). Therefore, even wealthy nations can be severely impacted by extreme events, socially as well as economically, as the United States learned from Hur- ricane Katrina (IPCC, 2007a). In fact, adaptive capacity itself involves diverse elements, which helps to explain why a certain response to a particular climate change impact can result in a positive outcome in one place but not in another (Tol and Yohe, 2007). As described in Chapter 2, the United States is vulnerable to a wide range of climate change impacts such as increased droughts, sea level rise, flooding, loss of biodiversity, increased heat waves, and other effects. Although significant adaptation planning activities are already under way in some cities, states, sectors, NGOs, and federal agen- cies (Chapter 3), it is clear that there are many areas where adaptive capacity appears to be quite limited (see, e.g., Feldman and Kahan, 2007; Moser, 2009a,b; NRC, 2009a; and Chapter 4 of this report). Improving the nationâs adaptation capacity requires, first, identifying the existing adaptation capacity within the private sector, NGOs, and state, local, federal, and tribal governments, and second, identifying gaps and high-priority adaptation actions that need greater resources and institutional support. Because the nature of governance is an important determinant of adaptive capacity and, in turn, of the success of any adaptation to climate change (Finan and Nelson, 2009; Moser, 2009a), it is important to consider roles that the public sector can play in capacity building, along with the unique roles of the private sector and NGOs. Examples of public-sector roles include supporting adaptation plans and projects, monitoring climate impacts, reducing the vulnerability of infrastructure, providing information on risks for private and public investments and decision making, incen- tivizing investments in technologies and other adaptations that may have long-term benefits or cost savings, addressing needs for public education, building institutions and knowledge bases, and workforce development (Adger et al., 2007; NRC, 2007a). In addition, Chapter 6 describes the federal governmentâs important role in considering the international context of adaptation to climate change impacts.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E As Chapter 3 demonstrates, many response options will require cooperation or coordi- nation across jurisdictional boundaries or between agencies with potentially conflict- ing goals. Consequently, efforts to reduce climate risks are more likely to be efficient and effective if such adaptation activities are well coordinated. This means that capac- ity building includes developing institutional frameworks for coordinating adaptation planning and actions across geographic scales, sectors, and categories of decision making. The challenge of coordinating across scales illustrates this point. Processes and actions that shape both climate change impacts and adaptive responses interact constantly at scales from global to local, and these interactions can undermine effective adaptation. An overemphasis on top-down adaptive strategies may result in solutions that are insensitive to local contexts, a backlash from local stakeholders, and a lack of empow- erment of local creativity. An overemphasis on bottom-up strategies may result in lim- ited sensitivity to larger-scale driving forces, a limited understanding of spatial context across jurisdictional boundaries, and a lack of access to resources to support effective actions (Wilbanks and Sathaye, 2007). ROLES OF gOvERNMENTAL AND OTHER INSTITuTIONS Because the impacts of climate change affect a wide range of public and private interests and will likely require significant resources, governments will play a number of key roles in coordinating, supporting, and implementing adaptation measures in the United States. However, the complexities of climate change and the interactions among various impacts, affected stakeholders, and governing entities present a major challenge in creating effective institutional frameworks for adaptation. An important rationale for government engagement in the design of adaptation strategies and plans is that responses to climate change often need to take place within a comprehensive process that deals with multiple stresses threatening vulner- able populations, resources, and systems, many of which involve government roles. For example, natural resources managed primarily by government and under jurisdiction of local, state, and federal governments require comprehensive planning efforts to ad- dress the impacts of climate change and other pressures (West et al., 2009). In addition, as discussed in Chapter 2, populations at risk from climate impacts are often already at risk due to age, poverty, lack of access to services, or other stresses. Increased exposure to climate impacts over time (heat waves, sea level rise, hurricanes, extreme droughts, wildfires, extreme precipitation events, etc.) will exacerbate these risks. Indeed, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007c) makes it clear that (1) the
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation poor, the sick, the elderly, and the young (especially those living in megacities near the coast) are most vulnerable to climate change and (2) communities facing compound- ing risks from multiple stresses can be found everywhereâeven in the wealthiest countries on Earth. It follows that much of the underlying vulnerability to climate change will not be ameliorated by climate-specific adaptation programs that are constructed without acknowledging multiple stresses, and that the interjurisdictional nature of these problems requires the engagement of government at multiple levels. Therefore, it will be important that comprehensive planning occurs not only within affected sectors and populations but also across and between those parties at local, state, regional, and national scales. Roles of Local governments Many adaptation decisions and actions are being and will be made by governments at a local scale. Under the powers granted to the states by the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, states often delegate broad authorities to local governments for comprehensive planning and land use controls to protect the health, welfare, and general safety of their citizens (Porter, 1997). Local governments also fund and make key decisions regarding public infrastructures including water, solid-waste, wastewa- ter, and stormwater systems; transportation; natural resources; and public facilities such as schools, hospitals, and public housing. Local governments are also responsible for emergency preparedness, response, and other aspects of public health and safety. However, local emergency preparedness plans rarely directly address the impacts of climate change. Likewise, local land use regulations usually do not address anticipated sea level rise, increased storm surges, or changes in 100-year flood cycles, and many other local systems are currently failing to consider climate change vulnerabilities. Local governments are increasingly recognizing and addressing climate change adap- tation through various planning efforts (examples in Chapters 3 and 4 in this report; Feldman and Kahan, 2007; a recent inventory is provided by Moser, 2009a). For exam- ple, the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI, recently re- named Local Governments for Sustainability), with funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), launched an initiative in 2005 to assist local governments in conducting vulnerability assessments and improving âresiliencyâ to climate change impacts. Initial partners in this initiative included Keene, New Hamp- shire (see Box 5.1); Fort Collins, Colorado; Anchorage, Alaska; and Miami-Dade County, Florida. ICLEI has since worked with King County, Washington, in the development of a guidebook for local governments in preparing climate adaptation plans (Snover, 2007). King County was one of the earliest leaders among local governments in comprehen-
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E bOx 5.1 The Case of Keene, New Hampshire Keene, New Hampshire, a city of 23,000 that is one of five pilot communities in ICLEIâs new Climate Resilient Communities program, signed on to a climate change effort in 2000 to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 10 percent below 1995 levels by 2015. Keene had already begun to experience more intense rainfalls, a major 500-year flood in 2005, decreases in snow days, infestations of nonnative plant and animal species, and more days with high heat and poor air quality. All of these contributed to willingness to undertake the pilot effort to become a climate resilient community. This resulted in the formation of a committee to identify climate change impacts, community vulnerabilities, and opportunities for adaptation and mitigation, and to establish goals and targets to achieve resilience. Much of the success of the committee reflected active participation by the mayor, city manager, department heads, City Council members, the local Climate Protection Committee, college faculty, regional planners, and public health responders. Another contributing factor to the successful launch of this effort was the assistance Keene received from NGOs, boundary organizations (see Box 5.5 for definition), and the federal govern- ment. ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), an international NGO, provided Keene with a sense of affiliation with a larger movement, staffing for the pilot study, a tested template of five key milestones used previously in limiting GHG emissions, and techniques for identifying vulnerabilities, choosing targets and priorities for adaptation, and sharing the experience nation- ally. NOAA supported the work through its Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessment (RISA) staff, using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data and a major study of the Northeast by the Union of Concerned Scientists that provided details of New Hampshire climate impacts, as well as studies by faculty at Antioch University and the University of New Hampshire. Overall, the ICLEI approach and template provide a significant strategy for designing an effective, action-oriented adaptation plan based on local government, but one that needs improved regional climate impact dataâwhich demonstrates that local efforts depend on national and regional support. As the Keene committee identified vulnerable sectors, they grappled with their inability at times to identify actions for addressing these problems because the ICLEI âpriority templateâ was too general to make meaningful choices. They also found it difficult to understand how to distinguish adaptation actions from GHG-reduction measures, and climate-related actions from general sustainability and green-economy issues. To the Keene participants, GHG-reduction measures represented an effective form of adaptation, and climate change responses were part of a larger need for sustainability. In the year and a half since publishing its plan, Keene officials have undertaken a number of actions to increase resilience, including investigating improved building design standards to withstand expected climate change impacts and the use of wetlands for flood storage.Their major effort, however, is to make the goals and targets of the adaptation plan part of the everyday process of local development, permitting, and code enforcement by including climate change adaptation, mitigation, and sustainability in the Community Master Plan to be approved in 2010.
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation sively addressing climate adaptation. In 2006, the county formed an interdepartmental climate change adaptation team and has already begun implementing a number of adaptation efforts (Cruce, 2009). The New York City case study in Chapter 4 provides another example of leadership by a local government (albeit a very large one) resulting in a comprehensive planning effort. It also illustrates the unique challenges facing large urban centers. The United States currently has 29 cities with more than 500,000 residents, and all are likely to face significant challenges from climate change that involve infrastructure investments, protection of natural resources, vulnerable populations, and emergency preparedness. Under existing circumstances, adaptation to climate change could negatively affect the financial viability of some U.S. cities (with special concern for coastal cities; see Box 5.2) by increasing infrastructure maintenance and capital improvement project bud- gets, while at the same time potentially decreasing operating revenues through real estate devaluation. For example, climate change may require cities to write off invest- ments in inundated or damaged infrastructure (while in many cases continuing to pay debt service on those lost assets), invest in new replacement infrastructure despite stressed financial resources, increase operating budgets to maintain service levels, and absorb potential drops in their property tax base. Inadequate planning and adaptation choices could result in a significant downgrade of a cityâs bond rating by rating agencies, which would limit future borrowing poten- tial and increase debt costs. In short, cities might need federal assistance or increased taxing authority to be able to finance new infrastructure or pay the operating costs associated with adjustments to climate change. Despite strong leadership in initiating planning efforts in many cities, local govern- ments agree that more support is needed for a nationwide response (U.S. Confer- ence of Mayors, 2008). An important factor in adaptive capacity is the availability of technical and human resources to identify vulnerabilities, and the knowledge to make effective adaptation decisions (NRC, 2009b). Because of the current deficit in the knowledge needed to guide adaptation decisions at all levels of governance, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution concerning âClimate Change Adaptation and Vulnerability Assessmentsâ (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2008), which called for Con- gress and the federal government to Pass climate change adaptation legislation that provides: â¢ ncentives to state and local governments to begin exploring the growing risks i from climate change, conduct climate vulnerability assessments that identify
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E bOx 5.2 Roles of Federal, State, and Local governments: Honolulu Case Study As sea level rises, many coastal cities face a daunting adaptation challenge. Honolulu is one of the nationâs larger coastal cities, and its adaptation needs are illustrative of the problems that these cities face. Moderate increases in sea level have the potential to inundate the Honolulu International Airport; the cityâs central Sand Island sewage treatment plant; thousands of coastal residential units; water, wastewater, and transportation infrastructure; as well as the Waikiki pen- insula, the economic engine for tourism in the State of Hawaii. For Honolulu to effectively adapt to these challenges, it will require the coordinated efforts of federal, state, and city governments. For example, since the state owns the airport and the harbors, state government will need to work with city leaders on relocating or protecting these facilities in place and to support the redevelopment of city infrastructure that services them. The city might decide to alter its land use plans to relocate displaced coastal populations. If so, it will also need to reroute transportation corridors and redesign and rebuild water and wastewater transmission systems, pump stations, and treatment plants that are projected to be inundated. The city government, by itself, does not have the technical expertise to determine how, when, and to what degree sea level is likely to rise in their geographic area. This limits their ability to determine the amount, timing, or type of investments needed to prepare for sea level rise. Inadequate or misdirected infrastructure investments would leave the city exposed to coastal inundation. On the other hand, excessive investment in unneeded infrastructure improvements would also have negative financial consequences. To limit these uncertainties, the federal government needs to provide the necessary guidelinesâfor example, by updating Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood mapsâto reflect future projected sea level rise in local jurisdictions. These updated maps can serve as guidance for city decision making on land use issues and infrastructure investment and also provide the city with the basis for the regulatory framework needed to direct future growth away from projected inundation areas. The federal government can also provide support to cities like Honolulu by establishing a uniform methodology to assess their vulnerabilities to climate change and to develop an adaptation plan. By utilizing a uniform methodology, the relative priorities of investments can be evaluated and the approximate capital and operating costs for various response options can be estimated. With such tools, cities like Honolulu can then make their own decisions about such things as abandoning or attempting to âarmorâ coastal areas. A uniform assessment methodology would also enable the federal government to make fair and reasoned decisions about how it allocates financial resources to affected cities.
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation the most important climate risks for a particular area or population, identify the response options, and ways to implement them; and â¢ ssistance to state and local governments to develop climate change adaptation a plans and to provide financial and technical assistance and training to state and local governments to implement those plans; and â¢ national climate change adaptation strategy to combat adverse impacts of cli- a mate change to the economy and the environment and reduce the vulnerability of the nationâs cities to the impacts of climate change and also urges the Federal Government to conduct annually national climate change vulnerability assess- ments; and â¢ ethods and tools for studying climate change impacts on communities and m integrating this information into state, regional, and local adaptation planning efforts. Roles of States, Territories, and Commonwealths Statesâ responsibilities include natural resources, public health, emergency plan- ning and response, public infrastructure, insurance markets, taxes, and managing state lands. The division of responsibilities between cities and states differs between regions; for example, some states exert direct authority over land use planning and regulation at the local scale, so the roles mentioned for cities above will be applicable to some states (Salsich and Tryniecki, 1998; So et al., 1986). States also provide techni- cal assistance and funding for local projects and often coordinate emergency man- agement activities and federal programs in support of local governments. States have often become laboratories for new, innovative policies, and some have been described as taking the lead in climate adaptation planning in the United States (Feldman and Kahan, 2007; Moser, 2009b). While several states have cited sea level rise in the establishment of long-standing policies related to coastal erosion and inunda- tion (for example, in the development of beachfront rules in South Carolina and Maine as early as 1987; see Moser, 2009b), a number of states have more recently (in the past 3 to 4 years) engaged in comprehensive climate adaptation planning. According to a recent survey by the Pew Commission on Global Climate Change, 8 states (Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, and Vermont) cur- rently recommend creating plans for adaptation in their climate action plans, and 10 states have begun comprehensive adaptation planning efforts that parallel ongoing planning activities for GHG emissions reductions (Alaska, California, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington; Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2009; see also the California case study in Box 5.3, and the Alaska case study in Box 3.1). Many of these initial efforts have placed their
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E strongest emphasis on additional research and monitoring needs rather than signifi- cant changes to state policies (Feldman and Kahan, 2007; Moser, 2009a). U.S. island territories and commonwealths are particularly vulnerable to coastal impacts and water shortages associated with climate change (USGCRP, 2009); however, adaptation planning efforts in the islands have only recently begun (see Tompkins et al., 2005). The calls for research and monitoring in state plans confirm the conclusion of several previous National Research Council reports (NRC, 2007d, 2009a,b) that research and assessments undertaken as mandated by the U.S. Global Change Research Act (P.L. 101-606, 104 Stat. 3096-3104) have not yet produced the necessary information and decision-support tools to allow policy makers at the state level to initiate action on adaptation. Although the governor of California has recognized the need to develop a policy in response to climate change, the decision-relevant information on sea level rise and its socioeconomic implications for the state is lacking. The need for decision-relevant information is also reflected in a recent resolution passed by the National Governors Association (NGA) calling for increased federal sup- port of adaptation in relation to the coastal impacts of climate change. While focused on coastal issues, this resolution has broader implications for intergovernmental coor- dination of climate adaptation activities: Federal agencies are currently collecting useful data and administering programs for climate change adaptation, in addition to providing a range of federal funding sources to assist adaptation-related activities. Adequate intergovernmental coordination is needed to ensure the most effective implementation and efficient use of funds; pro- vide opportunities for complementary efforts among local, state, regional, or national programs; and improve awareness and understanding of the resources available to states and local governments. Congress and the Administration should develop a national strategy to ensure intergovernmental coordination on coastal adaptation, clearly define the roles of various agencies, and identify the mechanisms by which fed- eral programs will coordinate with state partners on coastal adaptation issues. (NGA, 2009) In addition, governors urge Congress and the Administration to recognize the critical role of states in climate change adaptation policy by: â¢ ensuring consultation with states in any new legislation, programs, or research; â¢ eveloping a strategy to identify the information needs of states to effectively d respond to natural hazards and ecosystem changes;
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation â¢ oordinating any federal agency activities, research, and data collection efforts c related to coastal impacts with states; and â¢ larifying the roles and responsibilities of states and federal agencies in adapta- c tion activities.â bOx 5.3 California Adaptation Plan: Case Study In 2008, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued Executive Order S-13-08, calling for a detailed, statewide study of sea level rise implications, and for the California Natural Resources Agency to âcoordinate with local, regional, state, and federal public and private entities to develop a state Climate Adaptation Strategy.â In August 2009, the draft adaptation strategy was released for public comment. It covered seven major topic areas, and each topic area was assigned a lead state agency or agencies: public health, biodiversity and habitat, ocean and coastal resources, water management, agriculture, forestry, and transportation and energy infrastructure. The strategy followed the general principles to use the best available science, to design a flexible strategy recognizing that knowledge about climate change is still evolving, and to involve all relevant stakeholders throughout the process to establish and retain strong partnerships. Participating agencies are directed to seek adaptation strategies that contribute to social and environmental resilience and sustainability and build on existing policies rather than requiring new policies. Some of the resulting recommendations of the strategy included the following: â¢ State agencies should implement strategies to achieve a statewide 20 percent reduction in per capita water use by 2020. â¢ New development should be prevented in areas that cannot be adequately protected from flooding due to climate change. â¢ State agencies responsible for public health,infrastructure,or habitat subject to significant climate change impacts should prepare agency-specific adaptation plans, guidance, or criteria by September 2010. â¢ State agencies should identify key land and aquatic habitats at risk and develop a plan for expanding protected areas or altering land and water management practices. â¢ Communities with local coastal plans or general plans should amend them to assess climate change impacts and vulnerabilities and develop risk-reduction strategies. â¢ State firefighting agencies should begin immediately to use climate change impact information to inform future fire program planning efforts. â¢ Existing and planned climate change research should be used for state planning and public outreach purposes; new climate change impact research should be broadened and funded.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E Roles of the Federal government The federal government has overarching responsibilities for natural resources, pub- lic health, emergency planning and response, taxes, and the management of federal lands, and also protects the national interest, national security, and homeland security. ( The federal governmentâs role in international relations, development assistance, treaty negotiations, and transboundary issues is discussed in Chapter 6.) For climate adaptation, the federal government has several roles to play, including â¢ Addressing transboundary and interjurisdictional conflicts, resources, vulner- abilities, and adaptations; â¢ Benefiting from economies of scale and established federal capacities in scien- tific and technical research and training on adaptation; â¢ Protecting assets necessary for functions historically assigned to the federal government, including securing interstate commerce and providing for na- tional security; â¢ Protecting existing federal infrastructure investments, including highways, sewage and water treatment plants, ports, dams, and other infrastructure threatened by climate change; â¢ Protecting federal lands; and â¢ Ensuring adaptive risk management in other federal agency facilities and programs. The federal government can also play a key role in supporting adaptation at regional, state, and local scales by providing coordination, guidance, and financial and technical assistance in response to user needs. Due in large part to the U.S. Global Climate Research Act of 1990, the federal govern- ment is currently more heavily invested in climate modeling, monitoring, and map- ping activities than are state and local governments. The U.S. Global Change Research Program supports federally coordinated research on global climate change and periodic assessment of the impacts of these changes on the natural environment, bio- logical diversity, various sectors, human health and welfare, and social systems. While this research program has advanced understanding of the drivers of climate change and climate change impacts, it has not been designed to provide the information needed at regional, state, and local scales to address the impacts of climate change (NRC, 2009a,b). Therefore, organizations like the Conference of Mayors and the NGA, as well as several previous studies, have drawn attention to the need for the federal climate change research effort to increase its emphasis on providing more effective 0
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation decision support in order to enhance the nationâs capacity to adapt to climate change (Feldman et al., 2008; NRC, 2007a, 2009a,b). Adaptation to climate change is beginning to occur at all scales, as this report demon- strates. The federal government could greatly facilitate the ongoing process of adapta- tion by supporting innovation, providing incentives for adaptation, and providing a network or clearinghouse through which successful examples of adaptation can be shared (GAO, 2009; NRC, 2009c). Congress has taken up the issue of climate adapta- tion in recent years, but it has yet to pass broad adaptation legislation (Feldman and Jensen, 2008; Moser, 2009b). A number of federal agencies have begun to indepen- dently address climate change adaptation options, most notably those involved in managing natural resources, federal lands, and transportation (see, e.g., CCSP, 2008a,b, 2009b; DOI, 2009; EPA, 2009; Fagre et al., 2009). However, beyond efforts recently initi- ated within the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environ- mental Quality, there is currently no comprehensive adaptation strategy, guidance, or coordination effort at the national level (GAO, 2009b). Consequently, stakeholders not represented by these federal agencies engaged in adaptation planning may not have equal access to federal support in capacity building (NRC, 2009c). As with initial state efforts, most of the federal activities related to adaptation have fo- cused on research and information needs or the identification of policy options rather than the establishment of significant new adaptation policies within federal programs (Feldman and Kahan, 2007; Moser, 2009b). In many cases, federal agencies have faced significant hurdles or other obstacles in modifying policies or regulations to address climate change. There is currently a shortage of federal leadership, funding, awareness, and coordination in considering both major constraints and competing priorities, lack of mandates, and legal obstaclesâparticularly rules and regulations that are based on historical patterns and fail to recognize that such patterns do not reflect emerging changes in climate and their impacts (GAO, 2009b; Moser, 2009b). For example, the Fderal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) cannot require the use of future sea level rise projections for floodplain management or insurance ratings unless statu- tory and regulatory changes are made to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP; CCSP, 2009b; ASFPM, 2007). Other issues surrounding the NFIP are described in Box 4.8 in Chapter 4. Because of the complexity of the task and the importance of consistency across sec- tors and federal agencies, federal leadership will sometimes be required to provide the necessary framework and strategy to assist decision makers (GAO, 2009b). Through interviews with governmental officials at local, state, and federal levels, the U.S. Gov- ernment Accountability Office (GAO) report finds that some federal policies, programs,
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E and practices can hinder adaptation efforts. In addition to citing issues with FEMAâs floodplain maps, as mentioned above, respondents to the GAO questionnaire also crit- icized the U.S. Department of Agriculture Federal Crop Insurance Corporation for fail- ing to take into account potential changes in the frequency and severity of weather- related impacts. Conflicts or limitations related to other federal mandates, such as the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Clean Air Act, were also cited as potentially constraining options for resource management measures targeted for adaptation. Often, existing mandates were crafted with the intent of maintaining the status quo or returning environmental systems to some prior condition; these goals may be unworkable under a changing climate. These statements echo previous and more general GAO findings (GAO, 2005a,b) re- garding conflict among federal mandates and agencies: Agency missions may not be mutually reinforcing or may even conflict with each other, making consensus on strategies and priorities difficult. Incompatible proce- dures, processes, data, and computer systems also hinder collaboration. The result- ing patchwork of programs and actions can waste scarce funds and limit the overall effectiveness of the federal effort. In addition, many federal programs were designed decades ago to address earlier challenges, informed by the conditions, technologies, management models, and organizational structures of past eras. (GAO, 2005a) Based on our prior work, key practices that can help agencies enhance and sustain their collaborative efforts include (GAO, 2005b) â¢ defining and articulating a common outcome; â¢ agreeing on roles and responsibilities; â¢ stablishing compatible policies, procedures, and other means to operate across e agency boundaries; â¢ identifying and addressing needs by leveraging resources; and â¢ developing mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results. The importance of governance and institution building at a national scale to capac- ity building and successful adaptation has been recognized by many foreign na- tions, most notably Australia (see Box 5.4), the United Kingdom (see Box 5.5), and Bangladesh (Box 6.2). In Australia, climate change is ranked as the greatest threat to Australiaâs national interest by 84 percent of people surveyed, and tackling climate change is overwhelmingly seen as important (90 percent; Howden, 2009). This general perception is reflected in the institutional change that occurred to respond to climate change (Figure 5.1). In Australia, it is recognized that adaptation is fundamentally a social process, which requires the integration of science and policy in a fundamental
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation bOx 5.4 Adaptation of Water Rights in Australia to Facilitate Markets and Protect Environmental Flows Chronic concerns about the deterioration of river flows resulted in a turning point in Australiaâs water policy in 1994, when the Council of Australian Governments agreed to a water reform framework that formally recognized environmental water uses as a legitimate water right. Another key feature of the 1994 reforms included the introduction of a cap on diverting water from the Murray Darling Basin,1 the area with the largest agricultural water use in Australia. The cap became permanent for the states of New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia in 1997, limiting extractive use to the rate in 1993-1994. The cap on diversions and the provision of water for the environment have been accompa- nied by the separation of water access entitlements from land titles and the establishment of a market for water trades. The capâs main purpose is to keep water use and development within an agreed limit and maintain a degree of supply reliability at the individual level. To access more water than is currently allocated to a water right, someone else must agree to take less water. In rural areas, this is achieved primarily by letting people trade water on a temporary or permanent basis (Young and McColl, 2009). Another step change in precipitation in Australia occurred around 1997, when average water inflows had fallen by roughly 50 percent in reservoirs that serve major coastal cities. Southeastern Australia, in particular, has been facing substantial water supply shortages requiring dramatic changes in water-use patterns. Water use for agriculture is now roughly one-third of what it was prior to 1997. In response to worsening conditions, additional water rights reforms were initiated through the National Water Initiative of 2004. Water rights are now divided into two components, a right to a proportional share of water (which includes a proportion for the environment), and an annual allocation. The annual allocation is the specific volume of water allocated to righthold- ers in a given season. Like a share in a public company, the return on a water entitlement has an average yield and is associated with a level of reliability. For example, a 100 ML entitlement may have an average yield of 90 percent (i.e., 90 ML). This approach to quantifying water rights allows the annual water rights volumes to fluctuate based on water supply availability. 1The Murray Darling Basin is located in southeastern Australia and extends across the jurisdictional boundaries of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and the Australian Capital Territory. and structural way. A national fund was established to incentivize adaptive behavior and innovation within states. In addition, the Australian version of the National Science Foundation was reorganized as an interdisciplinary program to support research on system solutions and applied research. This is a deliberate attempt to âmainstreamâ climate change issues into policies and programs in general.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E bOx 5.5 united Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme The United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) is defined by stakeholder needs. The motivation from the beginning has been engagement: the users help to pay for the impact research and are partners in the projects. UKCIP is aâboundary organization âthat is intended to bridge the gap between climate science and society. It is funded through a contract between the government and the School of Geography at Oxford University. UKCIP defines the conditions under which they are willing to engage; it is a strong advocate of practical approaches, and learning by doing. Participants include flood, water supply, energy and environment agencies, water companies, sewage disposal companies, and a marine national park that uses climate information. These are examples of customers for which the UKCIP builds prototype products with hope for broader impact. For example, it produced an âadaptation wizardâ tool with versions 1, 2, and 3 that takes into account probabilistic information and helped local authorities to use the tool. After UKCIP educates an early adopter, it encourages the transfer of the practice from one local authority to another, which is a good method of dis- semination and builds on the lessons learned by the initial adopter. A large investment has gone into downscaling regional climate change impacts and helping people understand the probabilities of different outcomes.âUKCP09â1 provides the latest informa- tion on how continued emissions of GHGs may change the United Kingdomâs climate over the 21st century. UKCP09 uses probabilistic projections at a resolution of 25-km (approximately 15.5- mile) grid squares for seven overlapping 30-year time slices to 2099. It also includes information for administrative and river basin areas. The higher spatial and temporal resolutions make these scenarios particularly useful for planning at the local level (UKCIP, 2009). UKCIP has found that stakeholders need help defining what the right questions are at the regional level and that a way is needed to connect those questions to the national and international science network. Identifying stakeholder science needs, translating these science needs to the science community, and helping to translate science into relevant decision-support information is an iterative process, which is facilitated by the UKCIP. Its long-term funding and stability as a boundary organization has been critical to its success and has allowed the organization to develop trust with its stakeholders for more than a decade. The institutionâs mission is to start adapting despite the gap in scientific information and to reduce the existing adaptation deficit. SOURCE: Chris West, UKCIP. 1See http://ukclimateprojections.defra.gov.uk/ (UKCIP, 2009).
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation FIguRE 5.1 Diagram illustrating the new institutional landscape in Australia to facilitate collaboration on climate change adaptation. NCCARF, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility; CSIRO, Com- monwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. SOURCE: CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship, Australia, 2010. In addition to its Climate Adaptation Flagship, Australiaâs federal government assumed central leadership in addressing climate change challenges by creating the Depart- ment of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency to coordinate the nationâs climate change response based on three integral pillars: mitigation (i.e., limiting the magni- tude of future climate change), adaptation, and international engagement (Common- wealth of Australia, 2009). The department develops the nationâs climate strategy and has the overall mission to reshape the nationâs economy and social system to align with the departmentâs goal of reducing GHG emissions and adapting to the impacts of climate change. The commitments at the national level by the United Kingdom and Australia have increased adaptive capacity by providing vulnerability and impact assessments, tools, and technologies required to implement adaptation. These efforts have led to some successful adaptation actions by the agricultural and water sectors in Australia (see Box 5.4 for additional details). Roles of Regional Institutions and boundary Organizations Many climate impacts and responses do not conform to existing political or jurisdic- tional boundaries. Lessons available from long-standing natural resource manage-
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E ment programs indicate that the most effective management programs are focused on the geographic boundaries of the resource itself, such as a watershed (for example, see Federal Agencies, 2000). Both rivers and aquifers cross state lines, and there are many cases of interstate stream commissions and special authorities to manage inter- state and international watersheds. Likewise, resource issues such as wildfire, drought, invasive species, and flooding are interconnected and driven by large-scale climate processes, requiring coordinated and integrated preparedness plans. Addressing wa- ter, ecosystems, and other regional resource issues requires management responses across sectors and levels of government. Illustrations of the importance of cross- boundary issues are found in the case of managing endangered species in the Lower Colorado River watershed (see Chapter 6) and in the recent changes in water property rights in Australia. The Australian example illustrates both the need for drastic changes from business as usual and the need for national leadership to address some of these draconian measures (see Box 5.4). Some states are also addressing sea level rise and related impacts through regional partnerships. For example, according to the West Coast Governors Association agree- ment, â[t]he West Coast states will focus initial efforts, in collaboration with the federal government, on a West Coast-wide assessment of shoreline changes and anticipated impacts to coastal areas and communities due to climate change over the next several decades, and work together to develop actions to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and related coastal hazardsâ (WCGA, 2008). On the East Coast, the Action Plan for the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC) is also seeking to âRen- der New England a Coastal Hazards Ready Regionâ by coordinating interstate plan- ning and data acquisition strategies (NROC, 2009). To the degree that such regional approaches define solutions at the scale of the problem, they are likely to be more effective than fragmented approaches across political boundaries. Adaptation efforts can also benefit from âboundary organizationsâ that link climate sci- ence and technology with local decision makers to strengthen adaptive capacity. For example, NOAAâs Regional Integrated Science and Assessment (RISA) program consists of nine teams operating within and serving different regions of the United States. These teams have developed innovative place-based, stakeholder-driven research, partnership, and services programs with a primary objective of improving adaptive capacity. RISA teams are comprised of researchers from the physical, natural, and social sciences as well as the fields of economics, geography, engineering, and law who work together and partner with stakeholders in a region to determine how climate impacts key resources and how climate information and tools could aid in decision making and planning for those stakeholders. RISAs are viewed as exemplars of place-based research that focuses on addressing specialized needs for climate information within
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation regions and sectors, in part because they support long-term relationships between research teams and stakeholders that allow for collaborative learning (NOAA, 2009). Another effective model of a climate adaptation boundary organization is found in the United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (see Box 5.5). Roles of the Private Sector and Nongovernmental Organizations Effective, proactive adaptation will require participation of every category of decision maker, including business and industry, professional organizations, environmental groups, NGOs, social service and health organizations, and the research community. Adaptations implemented by government alone will fail to meet needs of many parts of U.S. society, will fail to take advantage of knowledge and capacities of institutions and parties outside of government (as illustrated in Box 5.1), and will miss the impor- tant fact that most adaptations to impacts of climate change will be made voluntarily by parties across the country, responding to information and experience, without government policies or programs. In some sectors, such as agriculture, the collective decisions of multiple individuals are already strongly influenced by their understanding of current climate, and strong adaptive capacity has been demonstrated in the past (Easterling, 1996). Many as- sessments show that, as long as the impacts from climate change are not severe, the overall impact of climate change could be positive on agriculture, given the ability to change cropping patterns; to develop new varieties of crops and technologies for sowing, irrigating, cultivating, and harvesting; to use new sources of information; and the potentials for carbon fertilization of crops from higher concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere (Reilly et al., 2001). Nevertheless, some adaptation op- tions in agriculture might be more difficult to implement due to the complex structure of the agricultural economy and international markets and increases in the rate of change. There are many other private-sector opportunities to engage in adaptive behavior, in- cluding private consulting firms who specialize in assisting decision makers within var- ious sectors in using climate information. Some consultants have already developed both the knowledge and the tools to perform detailed numerical analysis in support of adaptation planning for local, state, or tribal governmentsâfor instance, in evaluat- ing responses of water resources, energy, transportation, and agriculture to climate change. Citizens are already engaging through individual participation in conserva- tion programs, by serving on public advisory committees, neighborhood groups and other volunteer activities, and getting involved in planning processes for adaptation.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E The private sector brings significant capacity to assess risks, make decisions, and integrate new sources of information, including through the global marketplace (e.g., the United States Climate Action Partnership,1 which has played a major role in inte- grating climate change concerns into the decision processes of major corporations; USCAP, 2007). Insurance companies, particularly those with global perspectives, are very focused on using the latest climate change information in assessing risks and developing their cost and benefit structures (e.g., Lloydâs of London, 2008), and finan- cial and investment institutions also have reasons to include climate change risks in their investment strategies. Energy companies are focused on increasing the cost-ef- fectiveness of renewable energy alternatives, on building an energy delivery system that is compatible with these sources, on optimizing their future economic strength in the context of emerging climate policies (ACC: Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change; NRC, 2010c), and on assessing their options for ensuring that their delivery ca- pacity is resilient in the face of impacts from extreme events and sea level rise (Chap- ter 3). All of these activities (which include emissions reduction as well as adaptation efforts) require adaptive capacity of multiple kinds, including the capacity to incorpo- rate new information into complex decision processes. Where financial incentives exist for the private sector to promote adaptation, there may be very little need for govern- ment intervention. Nonprofit organizations have played an important role in advancing adaptation planning at regional and local scales in the United States and abroad, and in many cases they have been leading by example. For example, the ICLEI U.S. Climate Resilient Communities Program, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Global Cities Institute: Global Climate Change Adaptation Program, and the World Bank have each sponsored efforts supporting local urban planning for climate change impacts (Pew Center on Global Climate Change, 2009). The Nature Conservancy has developed a major role in adaptation activities for habitat and species conservation in partnership with oth- ers. For example, they have partnered with NOAAâs Coastal Services Center, Columbia Universityâs Center for Climate Systems Research/Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Pace Universityâs Land Use Law Center, and the Association of State Floodplain Manag- ers in sponsoring coastal adaptation planning efforts in Long Island, New York (TNC, 2009). The Florida Coastal and Ocean Coalition, made up of numerous NGO members, developed a report for Florida officials outlining actions that can be taken to address climate impacts (FCOC, 2009). The Rockefeller Foundation has been focusing on ad- aptation efforts in developing countries, and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has committed funds to conservation groups to protect biodiversity in 1 http://www.usÂcap.org/, accessed October 11, 2010.
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation ecologically rich âhot spotsâ around the world from climate-related impacts (as re- ported by Stutz, 2009). Clearly, these are only a few examples, and NGOs will continue to play an important role in advocacy and coordination of adaptation activities, along with encouraging broad societal support for climate change adaptation. THE NEED FOR A COORDINATED NATIONAL APPROACH TO CLIMATE CHANgE ADAPTATION As indicated in previous sections of this report, several local, state, and regional institu- tions in the United States have begun to engage in planning and implementing re- sponses to climate change impacts, both governmental and nongovernmental. These examples are small in number relative to the overall number of jurisdictions, programs, sectors, and vulnerabilities; and there are even fewer examples of âcomprehensiveâ adaptation plans that have attempted to take into account interactions across sec- tors and to prioritize resource allocations based on cross-sector vulnerability analyses. Comprehensive adaptation planning calls for the involvement of a large number of entities across all scales and types of decision makers. For example, several decision- making processes for which cities and counties are responsible (e.g., land use plan- ning) are currently not represented at the national level and, unless they are addressed by a comprehensive national initiative, will be underserved in developing adaptive capacity (NRC, 2009a). There is currently no strategy, however, for a coordinated ap- proach across scales. A âpatchworkâ of adaptation plans, actions, and capacities could result in inconsistent, conflicting, inefficient, or inequitable investments and responses and would be difficult to evaluate and monitor over time. In addition, climate impacts will often cross jurisdictional boundaries. No mechanism or policy approach currently exists to provide such coordination across boundaries between scales and different contexts for decision making. While many decisions regarding adaptation will fall on local and state institutions, the federal government can uniquely assist, support, and coordinate Americaâs choices related to adaptive risk management. Specifically, federal agencies can provide finan- cial and technical resources, including information about climate change and climate change impacts. As demonstrated by the examples of Keene, New Hampshire, and Ho- nolulu, Hawaii, and the statements of groups such as the Western Governors Associa- tion and U.S. Conference of Mayors, local and state organizations often lack sufficient resources when identifying, evaluating, and monitoring adaptation options. In addi- tion, the federal government can coordinate efforts across its agencies, in conjunction with state and local entities. Of particular concern is to identify areas where competing or conflicting federal regulations inhibit adaptation. As shown by some of the interna-
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E tional examples in this chapter, coordinated planning can create and improve oppor- tunities for individuals, private entities, and boundary organizations to participate in and benefit from adaptive responses. All of these roles for the federal government have recently been recommended by GAO (2009b), arising from its assessment of adaptation to climate change. The GAO report offers clear recommendations for the establishment of a ânational adaptation plan,â which would provide a framework for coordinating efforts among local, state, and federal entities, in addition to organizing and allocating financial and technical resources. Two examples of coordination across levels of governance are offered in the next section. These demonstrate how an âintermediateâ approach might be structured and implemented, combining elements of bottom-up decision making and financial, tech- nical, and strategic support from higher levels of governance. Box 4.8 also discusses potential changes to the NFIP, which serves as an additional example. Existing Models for Multijurisdictional Coordination State and Local Hazard Mitigation Plans There are several examples of existing legislation and programs that have provided assistance to state and local governments and other parties in adapting to and miti- gating natural and manmade hazards. The first is FEMAâs hazard mitigation program. This program provides assistance to states, territories, tribal governments, and local governments for long-term hazard reduction. The Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act of 1988 requires the states to develop hazard mitigation plans. These plans are developed in coordination with various state and federal agen- cies and with local governments. These plans provide the basis for grants made to the states under the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program and the postdisaster program, the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Program, FEMA as the lead federal agency provides guidance to the states and the states are responsible for coordinating and developing the plan. The second example is the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA). Title III of SARA is the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) coordinates the requirements of SARA Title III with federal, state, and local governments and private industry. SARA Title III requires states to establish a State Emergency Response Commission (SERC) to oversee the emergency planning requirements specified in the act. The SERC in turn requires the 0
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation local governments to establish Local Emergency Planning Committees to coordinate compliance with the SARA Title III. Federal Coastal zone Management Act Another model for intergovernmental coordination on a complex suite of planning and policy issues is found in the federal Coastal Zone Management Program, which has been administered by NOAA for more than 30 years. The Coastal Zone Manage- ment Act of 1972 (CZMA) established a unique partnership between the federal government and state and local programs to achieve both national and state priorities related to ocean and coastal issues. The act establishes national standards and pro- gram areas, with voluntary participation of the states. States were given a high degree of flexibility in developing their original plans and programs to meet the requirements of the act, to foster experimentation with unique approaches, and to account for diverse state and regional conditions. In return for participation in the program, states are awarded matching federal funds and the policy of âfederal consistencyâ with ap- proved state programs (i.e., federal activities must be consistent with approved state programs). All 35 of the coastal states and territories of the United States are currently participating in the program. The CZMA, in fact, already authorizes limited funding for state and local programs for sea level rise planning activities. It also provides an interesting framework to consider with respect to adaptation planningânational policies and standards with strong fo- cus on state-level planning and with provisions for federal consistency with approved state plans. For example, a state could plan (in consultation with local governments and stakeholders) for the future âarmoringâ of some coastlines to protect critical infra- structure and determine which shorelines should be allowed to transgress naturally over time. Once the state plan or policy was approved by NOAA, a federal project or facility could not be authorized if it was found to be inconsistent with that state plan. CONCLuSIONS Adaptations to impacts of climate change combine efforts by a wide range of U.S. institutions at different scales, from different sectors, and from different parts of the nationâs institutional family: government, industry, and other nongovernmental institu- tions. Capacities for climate change adaptation are currently limited in most govern- mental and nongovernmental institutions in the United States at all scales and in all sectors.
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E A number of adaptation planning and implementation activities have been initiated by cities, regions, and states, providing opportunities to transfer lessons learned. At present, these emerging adaptation efforts in the United States are not well coor- dinated and could result in unintended consequences and inconsistent, inefficient investments and responses. Currently, there is no clear federal coordination or national strategy for climate adaptation. For a problem that crosses so many sectors and levels of government, that is so intricately woven into unique regional conditions and chal- lenges, and that requires such significant public and private investments, integrated national coordination and clear strategies will be essential to (1) leverage limited resources; (2) avoid redundant or conflicting projects, mandates, guidelines, and as- sistance; (3) ensure responsible resource allocations over time and across scales and geographies; (4) improve understanding of changing conditions; and (5) encourage sharing of information, ideas, and lessons learned. As a result, there is a clear need for increased federal engagement in climate adapta- tion efforts. The federal government has key responsibilities in addressing transbound- ary and interjurisdictional issues, providing scientific and technical support, advancing interstate commerce and national security, and protecting public infrastructure and lands. Conclusion: In keeping with recommendations of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Governors Association, and the findings of this chapter, the panel concludes that there is a need for the federal government to provide leadership by developing and pursuing a collaborative and inclusive national climate adaptation strategy. Conclusion: The impacts of climate variability and climate change are or will be felt within regions, communities, and sectors and are fundamentally place- based. It is not possible for the federal government to implement appropriate and cost-effective adaptation strategies without significant engagement of regional institutions, states, cities, tribes, and sectors. There is a need to significantly increase regional, state, and local capacities for adaptation planning and to make careful decisions regarding investments across sectors, impacts, and scales (see, e.g., Alaska case study in Chapter 3). Currently, capacities are limited in many areas, and significant funding and technical assistance will be required to build adaptive capacities at appropriate scales in the United States. Conclusion: A national adaptation strategy is needed to facilitate interstate and international cooperation with regards to adaptation planning, along with collaboration across lines between government and other key parties, and should
Linking Adapation Efforts Across the Nation clearly articulate national interests and goals in climate change adaptation. Such a strategy should include effective institutional arrangements that consider the potential value of federal incentives (funding, technical assistance, intergovernmental consistency), standards, and requirements. Conclusion: The national strategy would benefit from a âbottom-upâ approach that builds on and supports existing efforts and experiences at the state and local levels and efforts of partners in the private sector and other NGOs. The strategy should be action- and results-oriented and should measure progress in terms of improving the nationâs adaptive capacity, improving quality of life, and building economic advantages by finding solutions to high-priority climate change impacts and reducing risks and vulnerabilities. Conclusion: The magnitude and complexity of the adaptation problem require forging new relationships among the public and private sectors, academia, interest groups, government agencies at all levels, and private citizens. In some cases, it may be most appropriate to develop adaptation plans that are sector-based, such as within the energy industry. In other cases, regional plans or programs may be more effective. The roles and responsibilities of decision makers at multiple scales will need to be defined and then refined over time. Conclusion: A national strategy, implemented through a national adaptation program, is also needed to coordinate among federal programs, decision making, planning, and regulations and to âmainstreamâ considerations of climate change adaptation. Examples of programs where climate adaptation components, including financial and technical assistance, could be incorporated include the âFarm Billâ (and agricultural policies more generally), the NFIP, agency and program authorization bills, the National Environmental Policy Act, the CZMA, and the Endangered Species Act. In some cases, successful adaptation cannot be accomplished solely by âmainstreamingâ climate change into existing programs; conflicts and constraints arising from federal mandates will require a reexamination of goals and requirements. A number of federal tax incentives or subsidies should also be reexamined in light of climate impact projections. The federal government should reexamine disaster relief, flood insurance, agricultural subsidies, and other influences to ensure that existing programs and policies do not result in further development of hazard-prone areas or maladaptive practices. Conclusion: There is a need for more support for proactive strategies and planning processes that consider multiple perspectives and competing interests. Adaptation plans need to provide a flexible framework for setting priorities and coordinating implementation, including regional partnerships, and have to
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E ensure strong public participation, as well as nongovernmental and private-sector stakeholder engagement in planning and implementation (see Chapter 4). Conclusion: Public education and extension components are a critical part of a national program because effective adaptation measures will require the participation and support of individual citizens and a variety of sectors (ACC: Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change; NRC, 2010a). Conclusion: Finally, a national adaptation program itself needs to be adaptive and continually strive to increase its own effectiveness. An ongoing assessment of progress (in terms of both outcomes and process) involves promoting change that is informed by ongoing information collection and dissemination, as opposed to a rigid response intended to be permanent. Other critical features of adaptive management include learning from past and emerging experiences, recognizing the complexity and the interrelated nature of sectoral interests such as water, agriculture, and energy and understanding the relationships between adaptation activities and the need to limit GHG emissions. Over time, there will be a need to adapt to our own adaptations (and maladaptations) as well as to our efforts to limit the magnitude of climate change.