Click for next page ( 2


The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement



Below are the first 10 and last 10 pages of uncorrected machine-read text (when available) of this chapter, followed by the top 30 algorithmically extracted key phrases from the chapter as a whole.
Intended to provide our own search engines and external engines with highly rich, chapter-representative searchable text on the opening pages of each chapter. Because it is UNCORRECTED material, please consider the following text as a useful but insufficient proxy for the authoritative book pages.

Do not use for reproduction, copying, pasting, or reading; exclusively for search engines.

OCR for page 1
Summary T he global climate is changing, and impacts of climate change are being ob- served across the United States. Over the past 50 years, temperatures have risen nearly 2°F (1°C), some extreme weather events such as heavy precipitation and heat waves have increased in frequency and intensity, sea level has risen along most of the coast, and sea ice has been disappearing rapidly. These changes are all expected to continue, which means that in many respects the climate of the future will be different from the climate of the past. In order to address the challenges associated with climate change, Congress directed the National Research Council to “investigate and study the serious and sweeping issues relating to global climate change and make recommendations regarding the steps that must be taken and what strategies must be adopted in response to global climate change.” As part of the response to this request, the America’s Climate Choices (ACC) Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change was charged to “describe, analyze, and assess actions and strategies to reduce vulnerabilities, increase adaptive capacity, improve resilience, and promote successful adaptation to climate change in different regions, sectors, systems, and populations” (see Appendix B for the full state- ment of task). America’s climate change adaptation choices involve deciding how to cope with climate changes that we cannot, or do not, avoid so that possible disruptions and damages to society, economies, and the environment are minimized and—where possible—so that impacts are converted into opportunities for the country and its citi- zens. In some cases, such as in Alaska, the need to adapt has already become a reality. In most cases, however, adapting today is about reducing vulnerabilities to emerging or future impacts that could become seriously disruptive if we do not begin to identify response options now; in other words, adaptation today is essentially a risk manage- ment strategy. Vulnerabilities to climate change impacts exist all across America and differ by re- gion, sector, scale, and segment of our society. Consider, for example, the likelihood of reduced surface water supply in America’s West because of reduced snowfall and snowpack in the western mountains and, at least in the Southwest, prospects for reduced total rainfall. These changes interact with the region’s current vulnerabilities to drought conditions and the many competing demands for limited water resources. 

OCR for page 1
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E Options for adapting to the prospect of more severe water shortage in the West and Southwest include improving efficiencies in water use, reducing the need for water for competing purposes (e.g., power plant cooling), finding ways to reduce evaporation from reservoirs, learning more about potentials and limits of groundwater withdrawal, increasing mechanisms for interbasin water transfers, revisiting approaches to water rights, and developing technology for affordable desalination of sea water. These are examples of options that can be considered by decision makers responsible for water resources in the context of the local or regional socioeconomics, combining relatively low-cost near-term actions with preparations to evaluate more substantial actions in the longer term. While it is difficult to know precisely the impacts that will occur in the future, adaptation offers a way to prepare and minimize the risks to social, economic, and natural systems associated with these impacts. Adaptation to reduce vulnerabilities associated with likely impacts of climate change cannot be accomplished by the federal government or any other single decision maker alone. The challenges are too diverse, the contexts are too different, and too many parties have knowledge and capacities to contribute. Given the diversity of climate impacts, vulnerabilities, and available adaptation options across the United States, the report concludes that adaptation planning and action will be required across all levels of government as well as within the private sector, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and community organizations. Accordingly, this report outlines a framework that engages decision makers across all levels of governance and across public and private entities through the development of a national adaptation strategy. Within this national strategy, the federal government plays a unique and critical role in providing technical and scientific resources that are lacking at the local or regional scale, reexamining policies that may inhibit adaptation, and supporting scientific re- search to expand our knowledge of impacts and adaptation. FuTuRE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANgE THAT CALL FOR ADAPTATION Effective adaptation depends on an understanding of projected climatic changes at geographic and temporal scales appropriate for the needed response. Projected changes include average and extreme temperature; average and extreme precipita- tion; the intensity, frequency, duration, and/or location of extreme weather events; sea level; and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations. Because of the complex interactions between these climate changes and nonclimate factors, such as demo- graphics, economics, land use, and technology, the impacts of climate change will be highly diverse. For example, future climate changes will interact with underlying vulnerabilities in many coastal communities. In areas that have been highly developed, 

OCR for page 1
Summary the ability to cope with flooding has been reduced as wetlands have been drained. With projected sea level rise and increases in storm surge, the impacts of flood dam- age and coastal erosion could be exacerbated. Thus, effective approaches to adapta- tion will be case- and place-specific. Society’s ability to cope with the impacts of climate change and avoid unacceptable levels of social and environmental costs decreases as the severity of climate change increases. At moderate rates and levels of climate change, adaptation can do a great deal. At severe rates and levels of climate change, however, limits of many adaptation options might be reached; resulting adaptations are likely to be much more disruptive and costly. In this very direct and profound sense, adaptation to the impacts of climate change and actions to reduce greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere are partners in America’s response to concerns about climate change, not alternatives. Many scientific challenges remain in assessing vulnerabilities and impacts associated with climate change. The level of scientific confidence in understanding and project- ing climate change increases with increasing spatial scale while the relevance and value of the information to decision makers declines. Therefore, a finer-scale under- standing of climate change risks and vulnerabilities is needed. In addition, multiple stresses will interact with climate change in determining its impacts and, because vulnerability varies greatly from place to place, the same climate condition in different locations may call for different adaptive responses. OPTIONS FOR ADAPTINg TO IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANgE If the United States is to cope effectively with the impacts of climate change, it will need an array of adaptation options from which to choose. Until very recently, adapt- ing to climate change has been a low national priority, and limited research has been completed to identify options for adaptation and evaluate their benefits, costs, po- tential, and limits. In the short term, the nation can draw lessons from past experience with adaptations to climate variability, experience (albeit limited) with climate change adaptation that has been undertaken in some regions of the world, a limited number of careful analyses of adaptation possibilities, and an onrush of creative thinking in connection with emerging efforts to do adaptation planning. But, in many cases, the options that we can identify for adaptation to impacts of climate change lack solid information about benefits, costs, potentials, and limits for three reasons: an inability to attribute explicitly many observed changes at local and regional scales to climate change (and therefore to document effects of adaptation in reducing those impacts), 

OCR for page 1
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E the diversity of impacts and vulnerabilities across the United States, and the relatively small body of research that focuses on climate change adaptation actions. This report provides examples of the range of options currently available for adapting to climate variability and extremes in key climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, energy, and transportation. Although these examples alone may not be sufficient for coping with future climate change, they offer a starting point for devising adaptation strategies. While the report provides a long list of options to be considered for vari- ous sectors, Table S.1 illustrates the range and diversity of options for coastal regions. For example, options to cope with sea level rise near coastal areas include hardening of coastal infrastructure so that it can handle higher water levels and storm impacts, sharing risks among vulnerable locations through insurance, and altering develop- ment and land-use practices to relocate vulnerable infrastructure or activities away from the coasts. Some of the adaptation options can be implemented in the near term at relatively low cost or provide additional benefits. Early actions that can be deployed most easily in such an environment are likely to be low-cost strategies with win-win outcomes, actions that end or reverse maladapted policies and practices, and mea- sures that avoid prematurely narrowing future adaptation options. In addition, the integration of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to climate change impacts in a common sustainability agenda reduces risks of maladaptation. In the long term, adaptation to climate change calls for a new paradigm that takes into account a range of possible future climate conditions and associated changes in human and natural systems instead of managing our resources based on previ- ous experience and the historical range and variability of climate. This does not mean waiting until uncertainties have been reduced to consider adaptation actions. Actions taken now can reduce the risk of major disruptions to human and natural systems; in- action could serve to increase these risks, especially if the rate or magnitude of climate change is particularly large. Mobilizing now to increase the nation’s adaptive capacity can be viewed as an insurance policy against an uncertain future. Because adapta- tion options are much more limited to cope with impacts of relatively severe climate change in the longer run, an important part of a national approach to adaptation is examining the prospects for these more severe impacts and considering possible lim- its to adaptation. Some projected impacts are likely to be beyond the scope of adapta- tion, unless adaptation involves major structural change to government and society. 

OCR for page 1
Summary DEvELOPINg ADAPTATION STRATEgIES Although many ideas are available about ways to adapt to climate variability and change, few of these options have been assessed for their effectiveness under pro- jected future climate conditions and for their potential interactions across sectors and with other stressors. Little attention has been given to the processes that decision makers might use to make appropriate adaptation decisions. This report suggests some approaches to choosing among the many options to manage the risks associ- ated with climate change, using examples from recent adaptation activities initiated primarily at the state and local levels. In brief, the report suggests that the adaptation process is fundamentally a risk-man- agement strategy. Managing risk in the context of adapting to climate change involves using the best available social and physical science to understand the likelihood of climate impacts and their associated consequences, then selecting and implement- ing the response options that seem most effective. Because knowledge about future impacts and the effectiveness of response options will evolve, policy decisions to manage the risk of climate change impacts can be improved if they are done in an iterative fashion by continually monitoring the progress and consequences of actions and modifying management practices based on learning and recognition of changing conditions. The report proposes a sequence of steps for pursuing adaptation. To begin, decision makers across a variety of agencies and institutions (e.g., federal, tribal, state, and local governments; private-sector firms; and community organizations and NGOs) would identify their vulnerabilities and assess risks associated with the impacts of climate change. This information would need to be communicated among stakehold- ers and relevant decision makers to raise their awareness of current and potential problems. Using a risk-management approach, adaptation options for managing the risks associated with climate impacts can then be identified, evaluated, and imple- mented (Figure S.1). The report also identifies some “lessons learned” about important elements to devel- oping a strategy, including establishment of clear objectives, opportunities to incorpo- rate adaptation plans into existing management goals and procedures, the ability to identify co-benefits associated with adaptation measures, and the presence of strong leadership. 

OCR for page 1
 TABLE S.1 Possible options for adapting to climate change that have been identified in the ocean and coastal sector. Climate Change Impact Possible Adaptation Action Federal State Local Government Private Sector NGO/Individuals Accelerated sea Gradual inundation of Site and design all future public works projects to take into level rise and low-lying land; loss of account projections for sea level rise. lake level coastal habitats, Eliminate public subsidies for future development in high hazard changes especially coastal areas along the coast. wetlands; saltwater Develop strong, well-planned, shoreline retreat or relocation intrusion into coastal plans and programs (public infrastructure and private aquifers and rivers; properties), and poststorm redevelopment plans. increased shoreline erosion and loss of Retrofit and protect public infrastructure (stormwater and barrier islands; changes wastewater systems, energy facilities, roads, causeways, ports, in navigational bridges, etc.). conditions Adapt infrastructure and dredging to cope with altered water levels. Use natural shorelines, setbacks, and buffer zones to allow inland migration of shore habitats and barrier islands over time (e.g., dunes and forested buffers mitigate storm damage and erosion). Encourage alternatives to shoreline “armoring” through “living shorelines” (NRC). Develop strategic property acquisition programs to discourage development in hazardous areas, encourage relocation, and/or allow for inland migration of intertidal habitats.

OCR for page 1
Changes in ecosystem Plan and manage ecosystems to encourage adaptation (see Changes in sea structures ecosystem options). ice Exacerbate coastal Facilitate inland migration and relocation of coastal erosion; severe storms communities. reach coast Increased Increased storm surge Strengthen and implement building codes that make existing intensity/ and flooding; increased buildings more resilient to storm damage along the coast. frequency wind damage; sudden Increase building “free board” above base flood elevation coastal storms coastal/shoreline alterations Identify and improve evacuation routes in low-lying areas (e.g., causeways to coastal islands). Improve storm readiness for harbors and marinas. Establish marine debris reduction strategy. Establish and enforce shoreline setback requirements. Ocean Potential changes in Reduce CO2 emissions (Limiting). acidification ocean productivity and food web linkages; Support ocean observation and long-term monitoring programs. degradation of corals, shellfish, and other Evaluate and manage for ecosystem and infrastructure impacts. shelled organisms; potential impacts on coastal infrastructure (i.e., construction materials) 

OCR for page 1
 Establish monitoring and mapping efforts to measure changes in Changes in Changes in salinity; physical, biological, and chemical conditions along the coast. physical and changes in circulation; chemical changes in seawater Utilize approaches that do not endanger species that are characteristics temperature; changes harvested or endangered. of marine in salinity and systems temperature Ensure flexibility in management plans to account for changes in stratification; changes in species distributions and abundance. estuarine structure and processes (e.g., salt Implement early warning and notification systems for shellfish wedge migration); and beach closures, salinity intrusion in coastal rivers (for changes in ecosystem industry impacts and water resource management, i.e. structure (“invasive,” freshwater intakes), and for unusual events such as hypoxia. nonnative species), species distributions, population genetics, and life history strategies (including migratory routes for protected and commercially important species); increased frequency and extent of harmful algal blooms and coastal hypoxia events Changes in Increased runoff and Improve non-point source pollution prevention programs. precipitation non-point source Improve stormwater management systems and infrastructure. pollution or Improve early warning systems for beach and shellfish closures. eutrophication; changes in coastal hydrology and related ecosystem impacts; increased coastal flooding

OCR for page 1
NOTE: Most adaptations are local and need to be tailored to local conditions. The suitability of each adaptation option must therefore be evaluated in the context of local conditions. Where possible, the table refers to assessments and syntheses that consider multiple adaptation options and provide references to specific studies. SOURCE: Reference citations are abbreviated as follows to conserve space: NRC (NRC, 2007c), Limiting (ACC: Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change [NRC, 2010c]). 

OCR for page 1
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E 3. Develop an adaptation strategy using risk-based prioritization schemes 2. Assess the 4. Identify opportunities vulnerabilities and for co-benefits and risk to the system synergies across sectors 1. Identify current and 6. Monitor and 5. Implement future climate changes reevaluate implemented adaptation options relevant to the system adaptation options FIguRE S.1 The planning process is envisioned to incorporate the following steps: (1) identify current and future climate changes relevant to the system, (2) assess the vulnerabilities and risk to the system, (3) develop an adaptation strategy using risk-based prioritization schemes, (4) identify opportunities for co- benefits and synergies across sectors, (5) implement adaptation options, and (6) monitor and reevaluate implemented adaptation options. LINKINg ADAPTATION EFFORTS ACROSS THE NATION Adapting to climate change impacts is and will be an ongoing process. It cannot be thought of simply as a set of actions to be taken right now, although this report does identify some effective short-term actions. Adapting calls for the development of a multiparty, public-private national framework for becoming more adaptable over time, including improving information systems for telling us what is happening, both with climate change impacts and with adaptation experiences; working together across institutional and social boundaries to combine what each party does best; and mak- ing it a part of our national culture to continually review the effectiveness of current risk-management strategies as we learn more about projected climate changes and impact vulnerabilities. In this sense, adaptation poses enormous challenges across sectors, jurisdictions, and levels of governance. Successful adaptation to climate change involves a multitude of interested partners and decision makers: federal, state, and local governments; the private sector, large and small; NGOs and community groups; and others. The issue is how to create a framework in which all of the parties work together effectively, tak- 0

OCR for page 1
Summary ing advantage of the strengths of each and assuring that the activities reinforce each other rather than getting in each other’s way. There are three general kinds of alternative approaches for meeting this need: 1. A strong federal government adaptation program, nested in a body of federal government laws, regulations, and institutions. With this approach, the fed- eral government would take the lead in identifying adaptation actions in the national interest, mandate appropriate responses while providing resources to support them, set goals for improvements in the nation’s adaptive capacities, and ensure coordination with other national programs and parties nationwide. 2. A grassroots-based, bottom-up approach that is very largely self-driven. Adaptation planning and actions would be decentralized. Decisions would be made without significant federal encouragement or coordination, except for programs of the federal agencies themselves. Current adaptation efforts are largely occurring in this manner. 3. An intermediate approach, where planning and actions are decentralized but the federal government plays a significant role as a catalyst and coordinator at the outset, providing information and technical resources and continually evaluating needs for additional risk management at a national level. The panel considered all three approaches, in consultation with social scientists, prac- titioners, and stakeholders, and found that the intermediate approach was the alterna- tive with the strongest scientific support, because adaptation requires place-based approaches in combination with technical and scientific capacity typically developed at the federal level. Based on its review of recent reports and in consultation with stakeholders, the panel also concludes that practitioners and stakeholders favor the intermediate approach. Elaborating on this approach, the panel found that emerg- ing adaptation efforts in the United States are not well coordinated, and as a result adaptation choices could result in unintended consequences and inconsistent, inef- ficient investments and outcomes. A national adaptation program is needed, guided by a strategy that focuses on cooperation and collaboration among different levels of government and between government and other key parties. A national adaptation program itself will need to be adaptive, continually working to increase its own effectiveness. Solutions need to be developed that promote response to changing conditions, informed by ongoing information collection and dissemi- nation, as opposed to a rigid response intended to be permanent. An ongoing as- sessment of progress (in terms of both outcomes and process) is an integral part to the success of this program. Other critical features of adaptive management involve learning from past and emerging experiences, recognizing the complexity and the 

OCR for page 1
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E interrelated nature of sectoral interests such as water, agriculture, and energy, and understanding the relationships between adaptation activities and the need to limit GHG emissions. Over time, there will be a need to adapt to our own adaptations (and maladaptations) as well as to our efforts to limit the magnitude of climate change. THE INTERNATIONAL CONTExT FOR AMERICA’S ADAPTATION EFFORTS Engaging in international dialogues and actions about climate change adaptation could have several benefits for the United States. First, it would help address questions of global equity as developing countries bear the consequences of climate change resulting from developed countries’ emissions. Second, it would open an opportunity for the United States to provide assistance for international humanitarian concerns as part of existing development goals. Third, international engagement could help to ad- dress national security issues that will arise from climate change. Fourth, coordination among countries could improve the effectiveness of adaptation efforts by reducing re- dundant activities or those that act at cross-purposes. Fifth, international engagement offers the United States opportunities to exchange lessons learned from the adapta- tion experiences. And sixth, international engagement would open expanded global market opportunities for U.S. adaptation technologies, systems, and services. For these reasons, it is important to integrate climate change adaptation objectives into a range of foreign policy, development assistance, and capacity-building efforts. Overall, devising solutions and making decisions about adaptation options should be placed within a broad international context. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOgy ADvANCES NEEDED TO SuPPORT ADAPTATION CHOICES America’s climate choices in adapting to impacts of climate change are limited by the nation’s insufficient knowledge of adaptation, tools, and options related specifically to climate change. The report suggests a broad agenda of science and technology needs. Examples range from a better understanding of how adaptation measures may inter- act with one another and contribute to overall goals for sustainability to research and development related to water use efficiency improvement. Significant improvements in capacities for adaptation analysis and assessment, adaptation option identification and development, and adaptation management and implementation are needed to broaden and strengthen our adaptation choices. Finally, to better manage and imple- ment adaptation measures, it is important to improve risk-analysis techniques and 

OCR for page 1
Summary observing systems that measure the magnitude of climate change and the effective- ness of adaptation actions. As a component of a cross-agency climate change research program, the report sug- gests that climate change adaptation research and development should be pursued as a shared partnership among the federal government, other levels of government, the private sector and other NGOs, and the academic research community. Ideally, the program’s scope would include studies of autonomous adaptation as well as planned adaptation; it should explicitly include monitoring and learning from ongoing experi- ences with adaptation in practice to build the knowledge base that can guide future adaptation planning and implementation; and it should expedite advances in ad- aptation science and technology that have promise in reducing critical national and regional vulnerabilities to climate change impacts in the coming decades. CONCLuSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Because impacts of climate change are already being observed in the United States and elsewhere in the world, and because these impacts will increase in severity even if GHG emissions are reduced substantially in the near term, the United States needs to improve its ability to adapt to impacts of climate change. Concerns about these im- pacts are generating increasing interest in adaptation and wide-ranging discussions about potential actions that might be taken by individuals, sectors, cities, and states— in some cases without sufficient information about the options that are available. It is the judgment of this panel that anticipatory climate change adaptation is a highly desirable risk-management strategy for the United States. Such a strategy offers potential to reduce costs of current and future climate change impacts, not only by realizing and supporting adaptation capacities across different levels of government, different sectors of the economy, and different populations and environments, but also by providing resources, coordination, and assistance in ensuring that a wide range of distributed actions are mutually supportive. Placed in a larger context of sustainable development, climate change adaptation can contribute to a coherent and efficient national response to climate change challenges that encourages linkages and part- nerships across boundaries between different sectors and institutions in our society. The report presents a number of findings and recommendations (see Box S.1) regard- ing the need for a national climate change adaptation effort. It emphasizes the term “national” rather than “federal” because adaptation is an inherently diverse and disag- gregated process. Adaptation options themselves are immensely diverse, and choos- ing “how” and “when” to adapt from a long list of possible options requires careful 

OCR for page 1
A D A P T I N G T O T H E I M PA C T S O F C L I M AT E C H A N G E evaluation of the socioeconomic context, the vulnerability of the sector or region, the resources available, and the scale at which the impact is likely to be felt. There is no one-size-fits-all adaptation option for a particular climate impact across the nation; instead, decision makers within each level of government, within each economic sec- tor, and within civil society need to weigh the many tradeoffs between the available adaptation choices. Most decisions about how and when to implement adaptation options will require local input, and in many (if not most) cases, adaptation projects will occur at the local level. In addition, there is a very limited knowledge base evalu- ating adaptation measures. For all of these reasons, this report does not recommend specific adaptation measures to be implemented, aside from recommendations for several federal agencies. Rather, examples of adaptation measures that can be consid- ered are discussed and a process for decision makers to develop and evaluate options for adapting is detailed. The recommendations begin with a call for all decision makers—within national, state, tribal, and local agencies and institutions, in the private sector, and NGOs—to identify their vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and the short- and longer-term adapta- tion options that could increase their resilience to current and projected impacts. They call for the development of a collaborative national adaptation strategy and program, including a significant climate change research effort as part of an integrated climate change research initiative. They suggest adaptation planning and implementation by U.S. states and tribes, local governments, and the private sector, nongovernmental institutions, and society at large, in a spirit of national partnership; and they suggest U.S. support for international adaptation programs. Finally, they suggest incorporating adaptation objectives into a number of existing federal government programs. In conclusion, the process of adapting to likely climate change impacts poses a daunting challenge and the stakes are high. Nevertheless, there are a large number of adaptation options that can be identified and initiated now. In many cases, these options would be relatively inexpensive, would be low-risk, would be consistent with sustainability principles, and would have multiple ancillary benefits. The recommenda- tions listed in Box S.1 provide a solid framework within which the nation can initiate a national effort to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate. Along with initiating near-term adaptation measures, it is important to consider adaptation to climate change impacts as a process that will require sustained commitment and a durable yet flexible strategy for several decades to come. 

OCR for page 1
Summary bOx S.1 Recommendations Recommendation 1: All decision makers—within national, state, tribal, and local agencies and institutions, in the private sector, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)—should identify their vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and the short- and longer-term adaptation options that could increase their resilience to current and projected impacts. Recommendation 2: The executive branch of the federal government should initiate devel- opment of a collaborative national adaptation strategy, which might take the form of a national adaptation plan. The strategy (or plan) should be developed in partnership with congressional leaders, selected high-level representatives of relevant federal agencies, states, tribes, business and environmental organizations, and local governments and community leaders. Recommendation 3: Federal, state, and local governments, together with nongovernmental partners, should work together to implement a national climate change adaptation program pursuant to the national climate adaptation strategy. Recommendation 4: As part of an integrated climate change research initiative, the federal government should undertake a significant climate change adaptation research effort designed to provide a reliable foundation for adapting to the impacts of climate change in a larger context of sustainability. Recommendation 5: Adaptation planning and implementation at the state and tribal level should be initiated regardless of whether the federal government provides the necessary leader- ship. States and tribes will need to take a significant leadership and coordination role, especially in areas where cities and other local interests have not yet established adaptation efforts. State and tribal governments should develop and implement climate change adaptation plans to guide policy and coordinate with federal, regional, local, and private-sector efforts pursuant to the national climate adaptation strategy. Recommendation 6: Local governments should develop and implement climate change adaptation plans pursuant to the national climate adaptation strategy, in consultation with the broad range of stakeholders in their communities. Recommendation 7: The private sector, NGOs, and society at large should assess their own vulnerabilities and risks due to climate change and actively engage and partner with the respec- tive governmental adaptation planning efforts to help build the nation’s adaptive capacity. Recommendation 8: The United States should engage as a major player in adaptation ac- tivities at the global scale. The United States should support the establishment of a collaborative, sufficiently funded, international adaptation program that can be sustained over time. Recommendation 9: Adaptation objectives should be incorporated into existing U.S. government programs and policies that have international components such as (1) agriculture, trade policy, and food security; (2) energy policy; (3) transportation policy; (4) international aid and disaster relief; (5) national security; and (6) intellectual property agreements for technology transfer to other countries. Recommendation 10: Federal, state, and local entities and the private sector should take actions now to address current, known climate change impacts and risks and/or to provide ef- fective risk management at a relatively low cost. 

OCR for page 1