Featured Content: Our Work
Housing insecurity and the impacts of climate change are interrelated issues increasingly affecting cities across the United States. Community land trusts (CLTs) can present useful partnerships to simultaneously tackle these challenges by promoting community ownership and decision-making, and providing permanently affordable and resilient housing. To help state and community leaders support community land trusts and work to enhance climate resilience, the Georgetown Climate Center has released Community Land = Community Resilience: How Community Land Trusts Can Support Urban Affordable Housing and Climate Initiatives.
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.
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.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, the Obama administration, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, launched the innovative Rebuild by Design (RBD) competition, which sought to inspire affected communities to rebuild differently in ways that would enhance their physical, economic, social, and environmental resilience. This report aims to capture and share lessons learned from the innovative process for developing the RBD proposals and the novel projects that were generated through this competition.
Reimagining New Orleans Post-Katrina
August 26, 2015
A decade after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, the Georgetown Climate Center examines some of the lessons learned from state and local efforts to use disaster relief funding to rebuild New Orleans’ public schools and stormwater systems to be more resilient and sustainable.
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.
New Report Highlights Adaptation Efforts in U.S. Communities
November 16, 2016
Communities across the nation are implementing innovative approaches to protect residents from the impacts of climate change, providing models and lessons that can be applied across the country according to a report released today by Abt Associates and The Kresge Foundation, which commissioned the report. The Georgetown Climate Center’s Vicki Arroyo and Jessica Grannis contributed to this report.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the Obama administration, in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, launched the innovative Rebuild by Design (RBD) competition, which sought to inspire affected communities to rebuild differently in ways that would enhance their physical, economic, social, and environmental resilience. This report, Rebuilding with Resilience, aims to capture and share lessons learned from the innovative process for developing the RBD proposals and the novel projects that were generated through this competition.
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.