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.
The State of Adaptation in the United States surveys activities underway to help communities prepare for climate change and identifies needs, challenges, and potential actions that communities can now pursue. The report was commissioned by the MacArthur Foundation and was undertaken by the Georgetown Climate Center, EcoAdapt, the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, and the University of California-Davis.
Zoning for Sea-Level Rise
December 13, 2012
To help local communities address the increased flooding expected from sea-level rise and more frequent extreme weather events, the Georgetown Climate Center designed a model sea-level rise ordinance to provide local governments with a template for tailoring regulations to meet the needs of their community and its particularized vulnerabilities.
Adaptation Tool Kit: Urban Heat
August 17, 2012
"Adapting to Urban Heat: A Tool Kit for Local Governments" is designed to help local governments reduce the effects of increased heat on their communities and citizens. It provides an analytic tool for policy makers to consider a combination of four built-environment changes (cool roofs, green roofs, cool pavements, and urban forestry), providing clear criteria for selecting among these approaches. It also examines the roles government can play in pursuing these changes: shaping government’s own operations, mandating or providing incentives for private choices, and engaging in public education.
This article examines two adaptation approaches that could be applied in Connecticut: a local-?level approach using zoning and floodplain regulations, and state-?level approach modeled after cutting-?edge sea level rise regulations adopted by neighboring Rhode Island. For each method, the authors examine what measures can be implemented now given existing legal authorities delegated to state agencies and municipalities; what measures will require additional delegations or amendments to existing statutes or regulations; and what level of government is best suited to implement different measures (state or local).
The Georgetown Climate Center's Jessica Grannis recently released a summary and analysis of Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which includes several reforms that could assist state and local governments looking to implement policies to adapt to sea-level rise and other flood impacts from climate changes.
This brief reviews three approaches that communities are pursuing to adapt to climate change.
Adaptation Tool Kit: Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Land Use
November 1, 2011
The Adaptation Tool Kit explores 18 different land-use tools that can be used to preemptively respond to the threats posed by sea-level rise to both public and private coastal development and infrastructure, and strives to assist governments in determining which tools to employ to meet their unique socio-economic and political contexts.
Adaptation Case Studies in the Western United States
October 31, 2011
This report contains two case studies from the Western United States that explore water shortages in the West, water rights along the Colorado River, and the protection of an endangered ground-dwelling bird: the greater sage grouse. In doing so, the report also examines the role of states in adaptation planning and the intersection between state and federal authority.
This case study analyzes the authority of Virginia local governments to use existing land use regulations to adapt to sea level rise impacts. Specifically, this study looks at local authority to implement policy options identified in the Virginia’s Climate Action Plan.
This document provides a side-by-side comparison of all adaptation provisions in Kerry Boxer (S.1733) and Waxman-Markey (H.R.2454).
Recognizing the city’s vulnerability to climate change, Baltimore officials have incorporated planning for sea-level rise, urban heat, and extreme storms into its new hazard mitigation plan. The new approach...
On Sept. 12, 2013, Governor Jack Markell signed Executive Order 41, “Preparing Delaware for Emerging Climate Impacts and Seizing Economic Opportunities from Reducing Emissions.” The order creates a...
Hurricane Sandy Task Force Releases Rebuilding Strategy
August 10, 2013
On August 9, 2013, the Hurricane Sandy Task Force released its Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Strategy. The report includes 69 recommendations for rebuilding communities affected by Hurricane Sandy in ways that...
At the Maryland Climate Summit, Gov. Martin O'Malley laid out Maryland's aggressive new plan to reduce carbon pollution. The plan calls for an economy-wide reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020,...
The New York City Building Resiliency Task Force recently released its recommendations to improve the resiliency of the City’s commercial buildings, hospitals, multifamily residences, and smaller homes. The...
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently introduced a comprehensive plan, A Stronger, More Resilient New York, to protect the city from coastal storms like Hurricane Sandy that are expected to increase in...
Several bills have been introduced in the 113th Congress to roll back the insurance subsidy reforms that were included in the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.1 Biggert Waters reformed the...
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...
A new study calls on the State of Virginia and coastal localities to launch a comprehensive and coordinated planning effort to avoid catastrophic flooding related to sea-level rise. The report predicts that...
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently released updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps for parts of New York City that double the number of structures located in flood zones. The maps include...