New Georgetown Climate Center Reports Highlight Adaptation Efforts Underway and Lessons Learned

July 18, 2014

The Georgetown Climate Center recently released three new reports to help communities better prepare for climate change impacts and extreme weather.  These reports contain good ideas for promoting resilience and some important lessons learned by the Georgetown Climate Center while assisting communities develop adaptation plans and policies.  

Below is a brief summary of each report:

20 Good Ideas for Promoting Resilience

A number of states and local governments are already taking tangible actions to address their growing vulnerability to severe storms, persistent drought, worsening flooding, and devastating wildfires.  Some are also developing plans and policies to lay the foundation for building resilience.
The 20 ideas contained in this report include a collection of planning, funding, regulatory, and investment efforts already taking place in different U.S. states and communities to prepare for and reduce the risks of climate change. These ideas offer insights and lessons for others to learn from and build upon in developing their own responses to a changing climate.
Download this report.

Preparing for Climate Impacts: Lessons Learned from the Front Lines

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.

Take-home lessons discussed in the report include the following:

  • Any viable response to climate change adaptation must recognize the primacy of local governments but also work within multiple jurisdictional levels (states, counties, municipalities, regional planning organizations) and recognize their legal limitations.
  • Strong leadership is an essential factor in communities that pursue adaptive action. Implementing adaptive measures requires a significant investment of time, staff, and resources. To devise workable solutions, we must provide support to those actors who show the political will to be bold and experimental, to commit resources, and to build the capacity to implement measures on the ground.
  • Effective adaptation planning must lead to tangible actions and align with existing priorities in a community if it is to be successful.
  • Although adapting to climate change impacts should be a proactive endeavor, the reality is often the opposite, as communities consider changes in the wake of catastrophic events or near misses. Communities with well-developed plans and laws on the books in advance of a disaster, however, tend to be more effective in rebuilding resiliently.

Download this report.

Insights into Media Coverage of Climate Change and Severe Weather Events in New Jersey

This survey of New Jersey media provides insights into the media's ability to deliver news to the public about severe weather events and access critical information during and immediately following disasters like hurricanes Sandy and Irene. The survey, developed for the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance by Rutgers University and the Georgetown Climate Center, also revealed useful insights into media coverage of climate change adaptation.

The report was one of several supporting documents produced as the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance prepared its policy recommendations, which were released last month.

Download this report.