Featured Content: Our Work
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.
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.
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.
The Georgetown Climate Center released 100 recommendations today to improve federal programs that could be used to prepare for climate change. The new report will inform the White House State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience.
The report draws from a series of workshops with leading federal, state and local officials and builds upon lessons learned post-disaster in New Orleans (following Hurricane Katrina), New York (following Hurricane Sandy) and Vermont (after Hurricane Irene). The report identifies more than 30 federal programs, initiatives and laws that can be used to prepare for extreme events such as storms, floods and heat waves as well as rising seas.
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.
20 Good Ideas for Promoting Climate Resilience
June 20, 2014
The 20 ideas contained in this document represent a collection of planning, funding, regulatory, and investment efforts already taking place in different U.S. states and localities to prepare for and reduce the risks of climate change. These ideas offer insights and lessons for all communities to learn from and build upon in developing their own responses to a changing climate.
Understanding New Jersey's Vulnerability to Climate Change
February 5, 2014
New Jersey residents are no strangers to the escalating impacts of climate change. Rising sea levels mean future hurricanes will produce more severe damage, such as the damage produced by Hurricane Sandy. More frequent extreme weather events, heat waves, and inland flooding from heavier rains also present a growing challenge to the region's economy, environment, and everyday way of life.
This case study examines the challenges encountered by Vermont localities in trying to use federal disaster relief funds to rebuild their transportation system to be more resilient to future impacts in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene.
Federal Funding Compendium for Urban Heat Adaptation
December 20, 2013
This compendium collects and analyzes federal programs with potential to pay for state and local government adaptation to urban heat islands.
Case Studies in Floodplain Regulation
May 30, 2013
This Georgetown Law student report highlights the efforts of two communities to strengthen regulations after catastrophic flood events: Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Waveland, Mississippi. These case studies discuss the regulatory reforms the communities implemented and the lessons that can be learned from their experience.
Disaster relief funding presents an opportunity for state and local governments to rebuild in a manner that anticipates and responds to future changes in the climate. In most cases, programs funded through disaster relief appropriations, such as the Sandy Relief Act, provide administering agencies with enough authority to prepare for climate changes during the rebuilding process.
As part of a Georgetown Climate Center analysis of the Sandy Relief Act, the Center has identified the opportunities below to use direct disaster relief funds for adaptive projects that help communities prepare for future climate change impacts.
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.
Lessons Learned from 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 young authors identify six big lessons from ongoing adaptation work in a new report recently released by the Georgetown Climate Center.
The Obama Administration released a report today that details how federal agencies can use existing programs to support, state, local, and tribal adaptation efforts.
The report includes recommendations from the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience. Many of the recommendations in the report to help communities prepare for climate change also draw from the 100 recommendations for federal action that the Georgetown Climate Center released in September.