Ask the Climate Question: Adapting to Climate Change Impacts in Urban Regions
|Title||Ask the Climate Question: Adapting to Climate Change Impacts in Urban Regions|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Authors||Lowe A, Foster J, Winkelman S|
|Publisher||Center for Clean Air Policy|
As the first responders to the impacts of climate change, local governments play a crucial role in implementing the actions and strategies that will reduce their communities’ vulnerability to the dangers of a changing climate. This type of action or intervention is commonly referred to as “adaptation.” Adaptation is any action or strategy that reduces vulnerability to the impacts of climate change. The main goal of these and all adaptation strategies is to improve local resilience, or the ability of a community to bounce back quickly from climate impacts.
In partnership with government leaders from several large counties and cities, the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) launched the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative (“Urban Leaders”) in 2006 to serve as a resource for local governments as they face important infrastructure and land-use decisions that will affect adaptation efforts and to empower local communities as they develop and implement their own climate resiliency strategies. The Urban Leaders partner network includes: Chicago, King County (Washington), Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County (Florida), Milwaukee, Nassau County (New York), New York City, Phoenix, San Francisco and Toronto (Canada).
The Urban Leaders program encourages local leaders to “Ask the Climate Question” toward understanding the implications that local decisions have on community resilience to climate impacts and incorporating a climate dimension into daily urban management and planning. How will planning, policy, funding, infrastructure and land development decisions affect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and local vulnerability or resilience to the impacts of climate change?
CCAP also supports the view that climate mitigation and adaptation strategies are inseparable, “like eating and breathing,” and that this adaptation/mitigation nexus exists in many climate change strategies. Lastly, Urban Leaders also promotes serving the adaptation needs of vulnerable communities (e.g., low income, minority) that are often overlooked when addressing climate change. This document will highlight the progress each partner county or city has made in advancing their local adaptation efforts as well as providing a summary of lessons learned and policy implications gathered by CCAP to date.