Preparing for Climate Impacts: Lessons Learned from the Front Lines

July 9, 2014

In this synthesis report to the Kresge Foundation, the Georgetown Climate Center shares some of the lessons learned from its adaptation work in recent years and includes a number of short case studies highlighting successful efforts and barriers to change.


Take-home lessons discussed in the report include the following:

  • Any viable response to climate change adaptation must recognize the primacy of local governments but also work within multiple jurisdictional divisions (states, counties, municipalities, regional planning organizations) and recognize their legal limitations.
  • Strong leadership is an essential factor in communities that pursue adaptive action. Implementing adaptive measures requires a significant investment of time, staff, and resources.┬áTo devise workable solutions, we must provide support to those actors who show the political will to be bold and experimental, to commit resources, and to build the capacity to implement measures on the ground.
  • Effective adaptation planning must connect to action and align with existing priorities in a community if it is to be successful.
  • Although adapting to climate change should be a pro-active endeavor, the reality is often the opposite as communities consider changes in the wake of catastrophic events or near misses. Communities with well-developed plan and laws on the books in advance of a disaster, however, tend to be more effective in seizing the opportunity to rebuild resiliently.

To read more lessons and case studies from the Center's work, click on the pdf below:

GCC- Preparing for Climate Impacts - July 2014.pdf