The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview

Adaptation & Resilience 101

Climate adaptation is the collective set of activities that are undertaken to reduce the vulnerability of people, places, and resources to the negative effects of climate change. This report assesses the state of current climate adaptation efforts with a keen eye toward identifying where existing efforts may be strengthened and where new approaches may be needed to address lingering gaps in the adaptation process.

Most of the climate adaptation effort has been focused on achieving an increased understanding the problems associated with climate change. This increase in understanding has been derived from research on the causes and large and small scale manifestations of climate change - data which help pinpoint society's vulnerabilities to such changes. Inconsistencies in the later stages of climate adaptation such as planning, capacity, implementation, resources, and monitoring and evaluation, however, mean that ample opportunities exist for local officials, guided by a set of desired outcomes for their respective communities, to get involved.

This report begins with an overview of the climate adaptation action opportunities based upon identified gaps in existing efforts. The report then includes a discussion of policy implications for the promotion of climate adaptation at the national, state, and local levels, followed by detail sectorial analysis of climate adaptation as seen through the lenses of agriculture, human communities and the built environment, and natural resource management.

This report was prepared by EcoAdapt in 2013 and authored by Lara Hansen, Rachel M. Gregg, Susan Ellsworth, Louise Jackson, and Amy Snover.

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