Implementing Climate Change Adaptation: Lessons Learned From Ten Examples

This report presents case studies of ten communities with experiences planning for and implementing climate change adaptation. The objective was to determine how the plans came to fruition, to learn how communities utilized these plans, and to extract pertinent lessons - with the intention of informing and inspiring other communities in their efforts to advance climate adaptation. Each highlights the key lessons learned in the process of moving from planning to implementation on climate adaptation. 

The profiles in this report are based mostly on interviews with people in city and county government who were closely involved in the process of developing and implementing climate adaptation plans. A mix of large and small communities were involved, including Boulder (City and County), Colorado; Chicago, Illinois; Chula Vista, California; Eugene, Oregon; Keene, New Hampshire; Miami-Dade County, Florida; New York, New York; Olympia, Washington;  Portland, Oregon; and Taos, New Mexico.  The questions asked within each interview investigated the community's policy on climate adaptation, the process whereby this policy became institutionalized, who was involved, how the effort to develop adaptation strategies and policies was funded, and what the effects of institutionalizing climate adaptation are as a result.  The “Lessons Learned” are summarized, offering practical advice about how to advance climate change adaptation. Some of the lessons described include to involve elected officials early, to not get trapped by the climate debate, and to make use of regional compacts - for example. 

This report was provided by Headwaters Economics - an independent, nonprofit research group whose mission is to improve community development and land management decisions in the West.

Publication Date: February 2012

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