America's Climate Choices - Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Prepared by the National Research Council's Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, this report is one in a series of five studies requested by Congress, known as America’s Climate Choices. This report discusses the impacts of climate change, makes recommendations to prepare the nation for adaptation choices, and highlights adaptation activities occurring at state and local levels.

Chapter 2 provides an overview of projected impacts and vulnerabilities at national and regional levels, as well as by sectors within the U.S.  Chapter 3 provides a high-level discussion of priority considerations for adaptation planning in climate-sensitive sectors of the U.S., including ecosystems, agriculture and forestry, water, coastal, health, transportation, and energy. Look to the tables at the end of the chapter for specific recommendations for federal, state and local actors by sector. Chapter 4 uses the New York City adaptation planning process as a case study to illustrate the steps a state or locality should consider when developing and implementing a comprehensive adaptation strategy. A planning framework is presented; costs, timing, mal-adaptations and co-benefits are discussed, as are different methods for selecting options (e.g. cost-benefit analysis, risk management, decision analysis, and multi-criteria analysis).

The report calls on federal, state, tribal, local and private entities to identify their vulnerabilities to climate change impacts and options to increase their resilience to these impacts. It recommends development of a national adaptation strategy and program to support and coordinate decentralized efforts for the U.S. The authors identify how the federal government can play a role in providing 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, enable sharing of lessons learned, and creating a robust national adaptation research program. States and localities are urged to begin their own adaptation planning efforts, regardless of federal leadership and actions.

Additional reports in the series include:  Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, and Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change.

Publication Date: May 19, 2010

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