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.
Louisiana: Addressing Sea-Level Rise
August 19, 2015
This case study examines state and local activities to reduce coastal vulnerability from sea level rise, extreme storms, and land subsidence. It focuses on how the state is prioritizing and designing coastal flood protection and restoration projects in consideration of future sea-level rise through the Louisiana Coastal Master Plan, and discusses local efforts to consider climate change in land-use plans including the Lafourche Parish Comprehensive Resiliency Plan and the City of New Orleans Master Plan.
Shanghai: Targeting Flood Management
August 19, 2015
This case study examines how Shanghai is addressing flooding and storm impacts by building a levee system along the Huangpu River Levee, expanding seawalls along the coast, and upgrading the city’s urban drainage system to include green infrastructure.
Austin, TX: Preparing for Water Scarcity and Drought
August 19, 2015
This case study discusses how Austin city agencies are developing a city adaptation plan, assessing climate change risks across sectors, establishing of a Water Resource Planning Task Force, and developing recommendations to address long-term reductions in the city’s water supply in response to recent city council resolutions.
Beijing: Preparing for Water Scarcity and Drought
August 19, 2015
This case study examines how Beijing is responding to reduced water supply by converting farmland to forest to reduce water needs, expanding water recycling programs, and promoting more efficient irrigation technology. The case study also examines how a large national water diversion project may reduce the city’s vulnerability to long-term water shortages.
Washington, DC: Targeting Urban Heat Islands
August 19, 2015
This case study discusses the District’s efforts to reduce urban heat islands by making grants to pilot the use of cool roofs, implementing the Smart Roof Initiative to retrofit District-owned buildings, and adopting of a new Green Building Code.
This case study examines how Hong Kong is responding to urban heat islands and increased flooding by expanding the urban tree canopy, deploying an extreme heat warning system, building sea walls with sea-level rise in mind, and using vegetation to prevent landslides.
Georgetown Climate Center published this article in the Michigan Journal of Sustainability (Vol. 3, Spring 2015) summarizing what can be learned about the progress states are making in implementing their comprehensive state-wide adaptation plans. In 2014, the Center launched an online tool that helps users track adaptation efforts at the state level and the progress states are making in implementing their adaptation plans. The Center's Aaron Ray and Jessica Grannis published this article to provide an empirical assessment of state progress based upon the Center's research developing this tool.
Understanding Virginia's Vulnerability to Climate Change
February 17, 2015
Communities across Virginia are increasingly vulnerable to severe weather influenced by changes in our climate. Population centers near the coast and tidal rivers are experiencing more flooding, farmers are increasingly contending with drought risks, and health problems are likely to be exacerbated by extreme heat and polluted air. Solutions to manage these risks exist, and implementing them will make our communities more resilient to the new conditions and challenges of our changing climate.
The Great American Adaptation Road Trip
January 26, 2015
After visiting more than 30 communities across the U.S. that are preparing for climate change, two enterprising authors identify 6 big lessons from ongoing adaptation work in this report by the Georgetown Climate Center. The lessons in the “The Great American Adaptation Road Trip,” explain why these communities have had success implementing their projects and what is needed to prompt climate change preparation in more places across the country. Authors Allie Goldstein and Kirsten Howard distilled the lessons learned on their trip after meeting with more than 150 individuals who were driving adaptation projects forward in their communities, from shellfish farmers on the Olympic Peninsula to city planners in Baltimore.
Highlights from Federal Agency Adaptation Plans
December 2, 2014
Federal agencies released updated adaptation and sustainability plans on October 31, 2014. The updated plans build and improve upon the first phase of adaptation plans released in 2013. For the first time, the plans include discussion of how agencies can leverage existing federal programs to better support and remove barriers to state, local, and tribal adaptation efforts.
The Georgetown Climate Center has developed this detailed summary of federal agency adaptation plans. Many of the actions identified by the federal agencies in their adaptation plans also echo recommendations identified by the Climate Center in its recent report, Preparing Our Communities for Climate Impacts: Recommendations for Federal Action.
On October 31, 2016, the U.S. Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience released a report titled “Opportunities to Enhance the Nation’s Resilience to Climate Change,” which outlines opportunities for federal...
On August 2, 2016, the White House Council on Environmental Quality released final guidance on how federal agencies are to incorporate climate change considerations in their review of federal “actions” under the National Environmental Policy Act.
The Adaptation Clearinghouse was re-launched today with new tools to assist state policymakers, resource managers, academics, and others who are working to help communities adapt to climate change.
The Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) is seeking comment on a proposed rule that would, for the first time, ask states and localities to take natural hazards and climate change into account in their long-range plans for affordable housing and community development. Public comments on the proposed rule are due July 18, 2016.
Georgetown Climate Center Executive Director Vicki Arroyo wrote an op-ed published in The Huffington Post about New Orleans' revival after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city 10 years ago. New Orleans' recovery efforts, Arroyo explains, offer lessons for all communities that use federal disaster recovery dollars to rebuild, adapt, and thrive in the aftermath of climate-related disasters--and ideally, to prepare in advance of such events and avoid the most dire consequences.
Case Studies in Building Community Resilience
August 19, 2015
Explore how sub-national jurisdictions (municipalities, states, and special administrative regions) in the United States and China are taking action to build resilience to natural hazards, extreme weather, and climate change with a series of new case studies produced by the Georgetown Climate Center and Georgetown faculty.
Mayors from fourteen cities in the metropolitan Boston region signed a Metro Boston Climate Preparedness Commitment on May 13, 2015, agreeing to collaborate to prepare the region for the impacts of climate change. The fourteen municipalities will work together to coordinate actions necessary for adapting transboundary critical infrastructure systems, to develop best practices for local governments and policy recommendations for state and federal partners, and to identify funding and investment solutions to take regional action.
Governor Jack Markell released a plan to combat climate change this week, calling for a 30 percent cut in carbon pollution by 2030 and outlining a framework to help the state better prepare for the future impacts of climate change.
On February 20, 2015, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) that would establish a process for state departments of transportation (state DOTs) to include consideration of climate change and extreme weather-related risks in the development of asset management plans, which are required under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21).
President Obama signed an executive order today directing federal agencies to adopt new flood elevation standards for the siting, design, and construction of federal projects.
The new Federal Flood Risk Management Standard will ensure that current and future flood risk, anticipated to increase due to climate change and sea-level rise, will be taken into account in the development of federal projects. The standard is expected to save taxpayers money in the long run by reducing federal disaster assistance spending following extreme weather events.
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...