Helping Communities Prepare for Climate Change

Resilience Partnership in Louisiana's Region 7 Watershed

Resilience Partnership in Louisiana's Region 7 Watershed

Guided by a local project work group, GCC and the Capital Region Planning Commission (CRPC) in Louisiana have launched an innovative partnership to support Louisiana communities in the state’s Region 7 Watershed in protecting people from flooding risks and promoting resilient, affordable housing. GCC and CRPC are engaging state, regional, and local policymakers and other experts and stakeholders in Louisiana to co-develop innovative strategies and practical steps for identifying and mitigating flood risk in Louisiana communities.

 
Legal & Policy Toolkits

Legal & Policy Toolkits

The Georgetown Climate Center has developed several legal and policy toolkits to assist states and communities working to build resilience to the impacts of climate change. Created by GCC staff in collaboration with leading federal, state, and local policymakers, affected community members, Georgetown Law faculty and students, and other experts, each toolkit includes practical legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies from across the U.S.

 
 

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.

 
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Our Adaptation Projects
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Developing and Maintaining the Adaptation Clearinghouse

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.   

Supporting Adaptation that is Equitable and Just

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.

Preparing for Urban Heat Impacts

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.

Preparing for Sea-Level Rise and Flooding Impacts

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.

Preparing for Climate Change Impacts in the Transportation Sector

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.

Working with Citites to Improve Green Infrastructure

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.

 

Community Land = Community Resilience: How Community Land Trusts Can Support Urban Affordable Housing and Climate Initiatives
January 29, 2021

Housing insecurity and the impacts of climate change are two interrelated issues increasingly affecting cities across the United States. This report provides an overview of how community land trusts (CLTs) can present a solution to help cities mitigate both of these challenges by promoting community ownership and decisionmaking and providing permanently affordable and resilient housing.

 

Written Statement of Vicki Arroyo before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, July 2019
July 10, 2019

On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, GCC Executive Director Vicki Arroyo testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the role of transportation in contributing to climate change and the importance of increased investment in low-carbon, more resilient transportation systems to withstand climate change impacts. 

 
Higher Standards: Opportunities for Enhancing Flood Resilience in the Eastern Shore of Maryland

Higher Standards: Opportunities for Enhancing Flood Resilience in the Eastern Shore of Maryland
May 22, 2019

This report was prepared by the Georgetown Climate Center for the Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Partnership (ESCAP) to inform efforts to prepare for impacts of sea-level rise in communities on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as part of the "Mainstreaming Sea Level Rise Preparedness in Local Planning and Policy on Maryland's Eastern Shore" initiative. This report presents opportunities for enhancing flood resilience in Eastern Shore communities through local floodplain regulations, subdivision regulations, and other non-regulatory options including acquisitions, conservation easements, and public education and outreach programs. Case studies highlight how other jurisdictions have used similar approaches to enhance flood resilience and model regulatory language is provided to help jurisdictions implement these approaches. 

 

Convening an Equity Advisory Group on Climate Resilience and Sustainability in the District of Columbia
November 8, 2018

The Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) and the District Department of Environment (DOEE) developed a series of reports related to work facilitating a community-driven planning process in neighborhoods in Ward 7 to inform District climate resilience and sustainability initiatives. An Equity Advisory Group (EAG) of Ward 7 residents and community leaders was convened and the EAG developed a series of recommendations on strategies for addressing climate risks in ways that support community priorities. A Community Engagement Guide was also developed to help other District agencies learn from this process and apply similar approaches to community engagement. Finally, an evaluation was produced to help GCC and DOEE improve and refine on the EAG process.

 
A Guide to Community-Centered Engagement in the District of Columbia

A Guide to Community-Centered Engagement in the District of Columbia
November 8, 2018

This Guide to Community-Centered Engagement in the District of Columbia outlines some best practices for supporting equitable, community-driven planning processes and was developed as part of project that the Georgetown Climate Center led with the District Department of Energy and Environment to convene an Equity Advisory Group in neighborhoods facing disproportionate risks to climate impacts in neighborhoods in Washington DC's Ward 7 . The Guide draws on lessons from the Equity Advisory Group pilot project in which this model of community enagement was used to support neighborhood-scale climate and resilience planning. 

 
Building Gulf Coast Resilience: Opportunities After Deepwater Horizon

Building Gulf Coast Resilience: Opportunities After Deepwater Horizon
August 2, 2018

This Georgetown Climate Center report presents recommendations for enhancing Gulf Coast resilience as state and federal agencies implement projects to restore ecosystems affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The report draws lessons from three case studies of other large-scale infrastructure projects where state and federal agencies have overcome challenges and developed innovative approaches to coordination, permitting and environmental review.

 
CASE STUDY: Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program

CASE STUDY: Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program
August 1, 2018

This case study, Lessons from the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Program, explores the Long-Term Experimental and Management Plan developed to inform operations and management of the Glen Canyon Dam, and is one of a series of case studies accompanying the Center's report on Building Gulf Coast Resilience: Opportunities After Deep Water Horizon.

 

 
CASE STUDY: Hurricane Sandy Recovery Coordinating Teams

CASE STUDY: Hurricane Sandy Recovery Coordinating Teams
August 1, 2018

This case study, Lessons from the Hurricane Sandy Recovery, explores coordinating teams that were established by federal agencies after Hurricane Sandy to improve and expedite disaster-recovery projects, and is one of a series of case studies accompanying the Center's report on Building Gulf Coast Resilience: Opportunities After Deep Water Horizon.

 

 
CASE STUDY: California WaterFix

CASE STUDY: California WaterFix
August 1, 2018

This case study, Lessons from the California WaterFix, explores how early and frequent consultations among state and federal agencies helped the project designers address regulatory challenges and expedite environmental review. It also illustrates how environmental review was used to explore the project’s ability to enhance the region’s resilience to climate impacts, like increasing drought. This case study is one of a series of case studies accompanying the Center's eport, Building Gulf Coast Resilience: Opportunities After Deep Water Horizon.

 
Climate Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector: Lessons from Vermont

Climate Adaptation in the Agricultural Sector: Lessons from Vermont
November 2, 2017

This report from the Georgetown Climate Center describes climate-smart agricultural practices and efforts states can take to help farms prepare for climate change impacts. The report also includes a case study of how the State of Vermont supported adaptation in the agricultural sector after Hurricane Irene in 2011, which may be helpful to states and communities recovering from recent storms. 

 

 

Community-Informed Heat Relief: Policy Options for Addressing Urban Extreme Heat in High-Risk Communities
June 30, 2021

Extreme heat causes more deaths than any other weather-related hazard. This public health threat will only worsen as climate change leads to more frequent and intense heat waves — especially in cities, which often...

 

Level Up Audio Project - Season 2 Now Available!
June 1, 2021

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 9 produced the Level Up Audio Project to share stories, case studies, and best practices to inspire hazard mitigation action and strengthen our community of hazard...

 

Report: Building housing security and climate resilience through community land trusts
January 29, 2021

Housing insecurity and the impacts of climate change are interrelated issues increasingly affecting cities across the United States. The communities most significantly burdened by housing costs and housing instability...

 

America's Zero Carbon Action Plan unveils a roadmap to eliminating GHG emissions in the U.S. by 2050
November 3, 2020

What would it take for the United States to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050? America's Zero Carbon Action Plan (ZCAP), released last week, sets out to answer that question. Building on the U.N.'s Sustainable...

 

Developing GCC's Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit (Now Available)
July 29, 2020

  The Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit is now available. Access the toolkit here. The effects of climate change disproportionately affect overburdened and low-income people and...

 

Developing GCC's Managed Retreat Toolkit (Now Available)
July 15, 2020

Sea-level rise and increasingly frequent and intense extreme weather events are leading many coastal communities to confront difficult questions about how best to protect people, infrastructure, and coastal ecosystems from the impacts of climate change. Communities and states are increasingly considering managed retreat – the voluntary movement and transition of communities and ecosystems away from vulnerable coastal areas – as a strategy for climate adaptation. GCC’s new Managed Retreat Toolkit will combine legal and policy tools, best and emerging practices, and case studies to support peer learning and decisionmaking around managed retreat and climate adaptation.

 

Georgetown Climate Center Joins FEMA Region IX in Announcing Level Up Audio Project
May 27, 2020

Storytelling works better than facts alone when motivating people to act. Stories allow people to form an emotional connection, to learn from other communities’ challenges and solutions, and to wonder, “How could...

 

GCC hosts virtual roundtable to inform upcoming Equitable Adaptation Toolkit
March 19, 2020

GCC’s upcoming Equitable Adaptation Legal & Policy Toolkit (Equitable Adaptation Toolkit) will feature case studies and resources that help communities and states address the cumulative effects of climate change impacts and social inequalities that put the health and well-being of communities at risk.

 

GCC's Vicki Arroyo testifies before U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works
July 10, 2019

On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, GCC Executive Director Vicki Arroyo testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the role of transportation in contributing to climate change and the...

 

Georgetown Climate Center at the 2019 National Adaptation Forum
April 16, 2019

The 4th National Adaptation Forum took place April 23 - 25 in Madison, WI. Georgetown Climate Center staff will be lead several sessions and networking opportunities throughout the conference. This article gives an overview of the events at which GCC staff moderated and presented.

 

Green Infrastructure Toolkit Launch
September 19, 2016

On September 14, the Georgetown Climate Center released an interactive toolkit that helps practitioners quickly find green infrastructure information, along with up-to-date, real-world examples. The Center also hosted...

 

Adaptation Clearinghouse 2.0 Launch Webinar
August 10, 2016

The Adaptation Clearinghouse was re-launched July 14 with a fresh makeover and new tools to assist state policymakers, resource managers, academics, and others who are working to help communities adapt to climate...

 

Sustainable Infrastructure in an Uncertain Climate
June 6, 2016

Vicki Arroyo delivered a TED-style talk at a March 31 event hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to share perspectives on the science, risks, and opportunities for developing sustainable infrastructure as...

 
Threat-Multiplier: Exploring the National Security Law and Policy Implications of Climate Change

Threat-Multiplier: Exploring the National Security Law and Policy Implications of Climate Change
April 7, 2015

Leading national security experts recently engaged in a dialogue about national security threats posed by climate change at Georgetown Law. The March 20 event featured a keynote address by Alice Hill, senior director for...

 
Jessica Grannis Discusses the Center's State Adaptation Progress Tracker

Jessica Grannis Discusses the Center's State Adaptation Progress Tracker
November 7, 2014

Following the launch of the State Adaptation Progress Tracker, Jessica Grannis appeared on E&E TV to discuss the value of the new tool and the opportunity it represents to help states continue to make progress in...

 
Vicki Arroyo Joins DC Breakdown to Discuss Government Actions to Address Climate Change

Vicki Arroyo Joins DC Breakdown to Discuss Government Actions to Address Climate Change
June 5, 2014

In the lead up to the Obama Administration's rollout of its proposed rule to reduce carbon pollution from the power sector, Vicki Arroyo joins Angela Rae to discuss government action to help us prepare for and mitigate...

 
Vicki Arroyo Discusses Climate Change with DC Breakdown

Vicki Arroyo Discusses Climate Change with DC Breakdown
June 5, 2014

Vicki Arroyo joins Angela Rae with Soul of the South's DC Breakdown to discuss escalating climate change impacts in the United States and what we can do to be part of the solution. 

 
Insights into the Making of Climate Policy

Insights into the Making of Climate Policy
May 29, 2014

The Georgetown Climate Center recently hosted a conversation about state and federal climate policymaking with leading state officials and academic experts. This April 7 event was sponsored by the Center and the...

 
PopTech: The Need to Prepare for Climate Changes

PopTech: The Need to Prepare for Climate Changes
November 7, 2012

Vicki Arroyo provides examples of local planning and progress taking place and underscores the urgent need for additional climate change preparations.

 
TED Talk: Let's Prepare for Our New Climate

TED Talk: Let's Prepare for Our New Climate
November 7, 2012

In this recently released talk presented at TEDGlobal, Vicki Arroyo outlines the case for building resilience: providing examples of actions underway and explaining why the time is now to make changes in how we design...