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Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change


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Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Much of the nation’s experience to date in managing and protecting its people, resources, and infrastructure is based on the historic record of climate variability during a period of relatively stable climate. This report from the America’s Climate Choices suite of studies concludes that adaptation to climate change calls for a new paradigm–one that considers a range of possible future climate conditions and associated impacts, some well outside the realm of past experience. Adaptation is a process that requires actions from many decision-makers in federal, state, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. However, current adaptation efforts are hampered by a lack of solid information about the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of various adaptation options, by uncertainty about future climate impacts at a scale necessary for decision-making, and by a lack of coordination.

The report calls for a national adaptation strategy to support and coordinate decentralized efforts. As part of this strategy, the federal government should provide technical and scientific resources that are currently lacking at the local or regional scale, incentives for local and state authorities to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, shared lessons learned, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation.

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, Report in Brief

Full Statement of Task (pdf)The members of the Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change are:
Ms. Katharine L. Jacobs* (Chair through January 3, 2010), University of Arizona
Dr. Thomas J. Wilbanks (Chair), Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Mr. Bruce Baughman, IEM, Inc.
Dr. Roger N. Beachy*, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
Dr. Georges C. Benjamin, American Public Health Association
Mr. James L. Buizer, Arizona State University
Dr. F. Stuart (Terry) Chapin, III, University of Alaska
Dr. W. Peter Cherry, Science Applications International Corporation
Dr. Braxton Davis, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
Dr. Kristie L. Ebi, IPCC Technical Support Unit WGII
Mayor Jeremy Harris, Retired, Sustainable Cities Institute
Dr. Robert Kates, Independent Scholar
Dr. Howard Kunreuther, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business
Dr. Linda Mearns, National Center for Atmospheric Research
Dr. Philip Mote, University of Washington
Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Conservation International
Dr. Henry G. Schwartz, Jr., Jacobs Civil (retired)
Mr. Joel B. Smith, Stratus Consulting, Inc.
Dr. Gary Yohe, Wesleyan University* Resigned to take policy-making position in the government