Featured Content: Our Work
The Georgetown Climate Center recently launched the new and improved Adaptation Clearinghouse to help communities find the resources they need to prepare for climate change. The new system features an improved search interface, greater content curation, and new tools for partner organizations and websites.
The Center works with cities, states, and neighborhood leaders to develop policies that help communities prepare for climate change impacts, such as sea-level rise, flooding, drought, and urban heat. The Center also works to ensure that solutions are applied in a fair and equitable manner.
Tools and Data: Tools to Help Communities Prepare for Climate Change
With the planet warming and extreme weather becoming the new normal, states and communities are seeking out resources to help them anticipate climate impacts and protect residents, homes, businesses, and public infrastructure. Now is the time to begin taking steps to build stronger and safer communities and prepare for rising seas, heat, drought, wildfires, extreme weather, and other climate impacts on the way.
See below for tools developed in conjunction with the Georgetown Climate Center to asssist communities in preparing for climate change.
The Adaptation Clearinghouse is an online database and networking site that seeks to assist state policymakers, resource managers, academics, and others who are working to help communities adapt to climate change. The Clearinghouse contains more than 2,000 resources.
The Center regularly partners with organizations, such as the EPA, the Urban Sustainability Directors Netork, the American Society of Adaptation Professionals, and other organizations working on resilience and adaptation issues through the Clearinghouse.
Recognizing that vulnerability to climate change is social as much as it is physical, Georgetown Climate Center supports policy options that address social inequities and climate exposure together. The center is collecting resources that showcase and provide guidance on equitable adaptation in our Adaptation Clearinghouse and is partnering with U.S. cities to explore policy options, such as techniques to encourage more affordable resilient housing, targeting green infrastructure in low-income neighborhoods, and creating local hire programs to ensure resilience investments bring economic benefits.
The Georgetown Climate Center works with state and local governments to develop “heat-smart” communities that are well prepared to cope with rising temperatures — to both help them identify the adaptation choices available and navigate through the legal obstacles they may face in trying to implement different options. Learn more about the Center's law, policy, and on-the-ground work in this area.
Global sea levels could rise three to six feet over the next century. The Center is working with state and local governments to help them become “coast-smart” — that is, better prepared to cope with the threats posed by rising sea levels and higher storm surges. We convene dialogs between states, local governments, and federal agencies to ensure that lessons learned are shared widely to inform future policy actions.
Every year, taxpayers pay hundreds of billions of dollars for transportation and related infrastructure—infrastructure that is becoming increasingly vulnerable to flooding and damage from extreme heat as a result of climate change. The Georgetown Climate Center regularly works with communities, states, and the federal government to address climate change impacts in the transportation sector.
In order to ensure effective adaptation, communities need help identifying and implementing the most appropriate policies. The Georgetown Climate Center is working with a group of local partners to identify the best green infrastructure practices that cities are beginning to experiment with and to translate these lessons into a toolkit in order to share the best practices with communities across the country.
Disaster relief funding presents an opportunity for state and local governments to rebuild in a manner that anticipates and responds to future changes in the climate. In most cases, programs funded through disaster relief appropriations, such as the Sandy Relief Act, provide administering agencies with enough authority to prepare for climate changes during the rebuilding process.
As part of a Georgetown Climate Center analysis of the Sandy Relief Act, the Center has identified the opportunities below to use direct disaster relief funds for adaptive projects that help communities prepare for future climate change impacts.
The State of Adaptation in the United States surveys activities underway to help communities prepare for climate change and identifies needs, challenges, and potential actions that communities can now pursue. The report was commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation and was undertaken by the Georgetown Climate Center, EcoAdapt, the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, and the University of California-Davis.
Zoning for Sea-Level Rise
December 13, 2012
To help local communities address the increased flooding expected from sea-level rise and more frequent extreme weather events, the Georgetown Climate Center designed a model sea-level rise ordinance to provide local governments with a template for tailoring regulations to meet the needs of their community and its particularized vulnerabilities.
Adaptation Tool Kit: Urban Heat
August 17, 2012
"Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments" is designed to help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens. It provides an analytic tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing clear criteria for selecting among these approaches. It also examines the roles government can play in pursuing these changes: shaping government’s own operations, mandating or providing incentives for private choices, and engaging in public education.
This article examines two adaptation approaches that could be applied in Connecticut: a local-?level approach using zoning and floodplain regulations, and state-?level approach modeled after cutting-?edge sea level rise regulations adopted by neighboring Rhode Island. For each method, the authors examine what measures can be implemented now given existing legal authorities delegated to state agencies and municipalities; what measures will require additional delegations or amendments to existing statutes or regulations; and what level of government is best suited to implement different measures (state or local).
The Georgetown Climate Center's Jessica Grannis recently released a summary and analysis of Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which includes several reforms that could assist state and local governments looking to implement policies to adapt to sea-level rise and other flood impacts from climate changes.
This brief reviews three approaches that communities are pursuing to adapt to climate change.
Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use
November 1, 2011
The Adaptation Tool Kit explores 18 different land-use tools that can be used to preemptively respond to the threats posed by sea-level rise to both public and private coastal development and infrastructure, and strives to assist governments in determining which tools to employ to meet their unique socio-economic and political contexts.
Adaptation Case Studies in the Western United States
October 31, 2011
This report contains two case studies from the Western United States that explore water shortages in the West, water rights along the Colorado River, and the protection of an endangered ground-dwelling bird: the greater sage grouse. In doing so, the report also examines the role of states in adaptation planning and the intersection between state and federal authority.
This case study analyzes the authority of Virginia local governments to use existing land use regulations to adapt to sea level rise impacts. Specifically, this study looks at local authority to implement policy options identified in the Virginia’s Climate Action Plan.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently introduced a comprehensive plan, A Stronger, More Resilient New York, to protect the city from coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy that are expected to increase in...
Several bills have been introduced in the 113th Congress to roll back the insurance subsidy reforms that were included in the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.1 Biggert Waters reformed the...
Disaster relief funding presents an opportunity for state and local governments to rebuild in a manner that anticipates and responds to future changes in the climate. In most cases, programs funded through...
A new study calls on the State of Virginia and coastal localities to launch a comprehensive and coordinated planning effort to avoid catastrophic flooding related to sea-level rise. The report predicts that...
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently released updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps for parts of New York City that double the number of structures located in flood zones. The maps include...
Georgetown Climate Center staff and state experts from Maryland and Alabama recently discussed important opportunities states can pursue to expedite the adoption of living shorelines and better prepare their...
In a new report, Preparing for the Rising Tide, the Boston Harbor Association finds that before 2100, nearly six percent of the city will be flooded twice daily at high tide. The report’s figures are based on an...
National Climate Assessment Report Released
January 14, 2013
On January 11, 2013, the National Climate Assessment Draft Advisory Committee (NCADAC) released a draft of the third National Climate Assessment Report. The report reinforces previous assessments that our...
On Dec. 28, 2012, Governor Martin O’Malley signed the "Climate Change and Coast Smart Construction Executive Order" to increase Maryland’s long term resiliency to flooding and sea-level...
The Georgetown Climate Center recently hosted an important webinar about how communities can become more resilient to extreme weather and prepare for climate change through floodplain regulations. The Dec. 6...
The Harrison Institute's clinical program and Professor Vicki Arroyo's experiential law course offer Georgetown Law students opportunities to work with communities on cutting-edge legal and policy questions regarding...
A panel discussion from the 2011 State-Federal Workshop on Climate and Energy Policy, hosted by the Georgetown Climate Center and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Moderator: Vicki Arroyo, Georgetown Climate...