Climate Adaptation & Resilience

Climate change has become a "hot button" issue for many city officials and planners around the world as cities continue to experience a greater incidences of increased water temperatures; an increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes or other extreme weather events. Many scientific indicators suggest that today's climatic experience is markedly different from conditions that prevailed as little as one hundred years ago. For example, the average annual temperature, globally, has risen by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the course of the last century. In the United States alone, the year 2012 was characterized by numerous heat waves, historic drought conditions, multiple intense storm events, and registered as the hottest overall year since record keeping began in 1895.

Local governments are increasingly concerned about the impacts of climate change upon their existing transportation, energy, and water infrastructure which, in many instances, is ill-prepared to meet the challenges of these extreme and unanticipated weather and climat conditions. For many cities, climate change and extreme weather has translated into steep economic costs to public safety, public health, food security, and emergency management. While the causes of climate change may be more commonly attributed to human or natural activity depending on the point of view, few deny that cities and local governments must increasingly find ways to plan for and implement sustainable responses to climate change and extreme weather.

Local governments are actively embracing climate adaptation and resilience as strategies to alleviate the long term costs of climate change. While there are some notable examples of cities on the cutting edge, using climate science and technology to implement local policy responses to climate change, other cities are early in the process of understanding climate vulnerabilities and implications on their city services.

Featured Resources

Impacts of Hurricane Sandy and the Climate Change Connection

This fact sheet links the recent impacts of Hurricane Sandy to global changes in climate and extreme weather.

Sea-Level Rise and its Impact on Florida

This fact sheet enumerates some of the scientific evidence related to global sea-level rise and Florida's unique vulnerabilities to this phenomenon.

The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview

This report make a detailed assessment of the state of current climate adaptation and recommends ways to strengthen existing efforts and close gaps in the adaptation process.

Green Cities: Urban Sustainability Driving America's Climate Change Policies

This report represents an effort by Living Cities to highlight the innovative ways in which cities are creating an equitable green economy.