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The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview
The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview is a synthesis report funded by the MacArthur Foundation and undertaken by EcoAdapt, the Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington, the Georgetown Climate Center at Georgetown University, and the University of California-Davis and provides examples of societal responses to climate change in our planning and management of cities, agriculture and natural resources. These examples include regulatory measures, management strategies and information sharing.
In addition to the activities already underway, which could serve as models for others wishing to address climate change in their own communities, The State of Adaptation in the United States also identifies the gaps that need to be filled to better prepare society for climate change, as well as actions that could fill those gaps.
  1. The Inaugural National Adaptation Forum: Action Today for a Better Tomorrow. The Forum was held in April 2013 in Denver, CO, serving as a capacity-building opportunity and means to increase cross-sectoral linkages among adaptation practitioners. Participants included >500 governmental, NGO, academic, and private sector representatives.
  2. American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP). Launched in 2013, this society aims to organize and support the needs of climate change adaptation professionals – in academia, public, and the private and non-profit sectors – working on adaptation from national to local scales and within or across multiple sectors. This group used the National Adaptation Forum as an opportunity for its first public convening.
  3. Take stock of existing guidance. Direct people to what is already available, assess the efficacy of the tools, and create what is still needed.
  4. Climate change adaptation marketing. Most people don’t know what adaptation is by name and many don’t know what it is even when you explain it. It needs to be made understandable, approachable, and embraceable.
  5. Kick-start adaptation implementation (especially at the state and local level). Provide incentives to implement more challenging or experimental approaches that include mechanisms for assessing efficacy through monitoring and evaluation.
  6. Identify Pathways for Success.This includes an analysis and synthesis of technical mechanisms (including project, process, and monitoring design), legal mechanisms, and metrics of success for effective adaptation. From this, good replicable models of successful adaptation can be developed.
  7. Move the climate change agenda beyond its current perception as being an environmental issue. Make it central to good planning and management for social and economic sustainability and well-being. This includes efforts to broaden the scope of climate change adaptation to show cross-sectoral linkages and the synergies that evolve through multi-sectoral cooperation.
“Climate change is something you can plan on and it's something forward thinkers are starting to plan for,” said Dr. Lara Hansen, Chief Scientist and Executive Director, EcoAdapt. “The State of Adaptation in the United States shows you where to find the emerging new ideas, as well as where the opportunities exist to leap-frog the process ahead more quickly so we can all benefit from this innovative, early learning.”
Download the full report (best viewed with Microsoft Internet Explorer or Google Chrome).
Citation: Hansen, L., R.M. Gregg, V. Arroyo, S. Ellsworth, L. Jackson and A. Snover. 2013. The State of Adaptation in the United States: An Overview. A report for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. EcoAdapt.