Good Morning, America! The Explosive U.S. Awakening to the Need for Adaptation

This paper provides an historical overview of the public, political, and scientific concern with adaptation in the United States. It presents the treatment of adaptation to climate change in a variety of contexts, ranging from the news media to the drafting of bills in Congress, to state and local government activities with considerable engagement of NGOs, scientists and consultants. It finds that adaptation has finally, and explosively, emerged on the political agenda as a legitimate and needed subject for debate. This study also finds that the current (as of 2009) policy rush is not supported by widespread public engagement and mobilization, or built upon sufficient research.

Emerging adaptation measures across the U.S are included, with a review of federal policy developments and planning, state planning for climate change impacts, and local adaptation efforts. The paper concludes that funding for vulnerability and adaptation research, establishing adequate decision support institutions, as well as the building of the necessary capacity in science, the consulting world, and in government agencies, is in order, yet is not keeping pace with the current need.

Publication Date: May 2009

Author or Affiliated User:

  • Susanne C. Moser

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