NYSERDA Climate Change Adaptation Research Plan

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) Environmental Research Program includes a focal Research Area of Climate Change Adaptation. This document focuses on the climate change adaptation component of the program’s comprehensive research plan. NYSERDA’s adaptation research aims to provide “a scientific foundation for formulating effective, equitable, energy-related environmental policies and resource management practices that can guide strategies to prepare for a changing climate.”

The adaptation program supports research on the current and projected climate change impacts on New York State, and how to cost-effectively manage and minimize these impacts. NYSERDA also is determining the baseline parameters for each sector that need to be monitored to assess climate impacts. Adaptation research needs and strategies are given for each of the following sectors:

  • Agriculture
  • Coastal zones
  • Ecosystems (in process)
  • Energy
  • Inland water resources
  • Local governance and communities
  • Public health
  • Transportation
  • Buildings

Additionally, adaptation strategies for a number of cross-cutting themes were developed that support all sectors - including considerations for data and tools, resilience planning, social and behavioral research, and policy assessments. Along with adaptation and impact research for each sector, policy recommendations, state agency and community engagement strategies are given for Local Community Capacity Building, Funding, Data Access, Cost Benefit Analysis, and Climate Change Communication.

NYSERDA recognizes that vulnerable communities already experience environmental impacts, and that climate change exacerbates these injustices. Some of the Key Research Ideas related to social equity include: conducting vulnerability assessments to determine which communities are at greater risk to climate change impacts; mapping vulnerable communities for exposures to toxic chemicals/emissions that could occur due to releases from an extreme event; and conducting research on climate risk to low-income populations in rural communities. Research is suggested on displacement risks due to extreme events, and to climate resilience investments causing gentrification. Public Health recommendations include researching adaptation strategies for extreme weather events that could benefit EJ communities, and incentivizing landlords to increase energy efficiency and provide air conditioning in communities with low-rent/low-property-value housing.

Key Research Ideas for
Local Government and Communities include adaptive strategies for Planning, Financing and Investments, Cost Benefit Analysis, and Climate Smart Communities. For example, NYSERDA finds that “Research capacity challenges at the local level that are hampering planning/implementation of resilience efforts.” Some of the recommendations for this are to:

  • Evaluate the costs and benefits of home rule, including the loss of money due to duplicative services and how not changing the current system exacerbates risk in the long term.
  • Analyze policy options to maintain local independence while promoting more sharing of planning resources at the county or regional level.
  • Identify, document, and promote successful adaptation projects that demonstrate the viability and worth of infrastructure investments in resilience and ways to link disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation and economic development, as well as climate mitigation.

Key Research Ideas for climate adaptation are detailed for every focal sector. Related research for each topic is linked - both from New York State agencies, local communities, and successes nationwide.


Publication Date: January 31, 2019

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Resource Types:

  • Adaptation plan
  • Policy analysis/recommendations

States Affected:

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