About GCC's Adaptation Programs

The Adaptation Program at the Georgetown Climate Center (GCC) is one of the nation’s leading sources of practical strategies for preparing and responding to the impacts of climate change. Our team helps states and communities by providing legal and policy support to inform the development of adaptation strategies, while also sharing resources, lessons, and best practices widely to inform the broader field of adaptation planning and practice. 

Climate change is one of the defining challenges of our time: it is a “threat multiplier” that makes other problems harder to tackle, and affects nearly every sector, community, and aspect of society. Policymakers at all levels of government, as well as their partners and stakeholders, need access to resources, assistance, and best practices to help them prepare for a challenge of such scope and to prioritize their most affected communities.

Since 2009, the GCC Adaptation Team has provided direct support to states and communities and informed development of best practices among federal, state, and local policymakers in five key areas. 

Place-based work 

We work directly with states and communities – including with policymakers, interdisciplinary agency staff, and local community-based organizations – to provide legal and policy analysis as they develop and implement their adaptation plans and strategies. Those experiences in turn help us tailor the content of our toolkits and other online tools and resources, and also inform our engagement with federal, state, and local governments, and other experts and stakeholders.

Online tools and resources

To make practical tools available to states and communities on the front lines, GCC prepares and publishes toolkits on adaptation planning and implementation, and provides information on adaptation efforts at all levels of government through our State Adaptation Progress Tracker and our Adaptation Clearinghouse database. Together these tools give policymakers and advocates instant access to thousands of laws, reports, case studies, policy examples, and other resources relating to climate change impacts and adaptation. 

Convening and peer-learning

GCC convenes practitioners from across the country both in-person and virtually to share their experiences and learn from each other. These opportunities help states and communities learn from their peers working on similar issues, and help practitioners at all levels of government build new partnerships and collaborate more effectively. 

Informing federal policy 

We provide analysis and recommendations on ways that the federal government can improve upon existing programs to build capacity of states and communities, bringing lessons from partners on the ground.

Preparing future adaptation leaders

We also provide opportunities for students across Georgetown campuses to get real-world experience learning about and informing the development of climate adaptation policy through legal and policy research and writing, and engagement with “client” jurisdictions. 

If you have questions about our work or partnering with us, please email climate@georgetown.edu

Memo: Opportunities for Climate-Related State Investments
December 20, 2021

This memorandum provides an overview of funding available to states in the Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act, and potentially available in the Build Back Better Act, for climate-related investments along with key considerations for states that wish to take full advantage of this historic opportunity.

 

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.

 

COP27: GCC to host side event on subnational leadership with The Climate Registry and US Green Building Council
November 9, 2022

Event: Achieving measurable climate benefits through innovative infrastructure investments in North America Date:  10 November, 2022 Time: 11:30 AM to 1 PM Local Time (4:30 - 6 AM Eastern U.S. Time) Location:...

 

Driving Resilience: How the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can support widespread climate resilience
August 11, 2022

Resilience is integrated throughout sections of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (H.R. 3684, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law) and includes programs that can help alleviate the...

 

GCC and Capital Region Planning Commission share Greauxing Resilience at Home: A Regional Vision
June 16, 2022

New locally-informed legal, planning, and policy resources for housing and flood resilience Louisiana is one of the hardest-hit areas in the United States as extreme weather events and regular flooding become more...

 

GCC welcomes Mark Rupp as new Adaptation Program Director
January 19, 2022

The Georgetown Climate Center is delighted to welcome Mark Rupp as our new Adaptation Program Director. Mark will lead GCC’s adaptation team, and provide strategic direction for its work in support of resilience,...

 

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.