Preparing the Pacific Northwest for Climate Change

This report presents an integrated framework for preparing natural, built, human and economic systems for climate change in the Pacific Northwest. This framework is intended to assist climate preparation efforts by public agencies, non-profits, and private companies throughout the Pacific Northwest. The report contains an integrated approach to climate change adaptation planning between each sector to enhance the benefits of climate adaptation across sectors. Sectors include: natural systems (biodiversity and ecosystems), built systems (transportation, water and energy infrastructure), human systems (public health, emergency management, and social services), and economic systems (forestry, agriculture, high-tech). Each sector chapter  contains information relating to goals, needs, time frames, vulnerabilities, principles, and issues to be resolved.


The plan offers a framework for preparing human systems for climate change, with particular emphasis on the principles of environmental justice and intergenerational equity.

To ensure environmental justice, the plan calls for governments and social service agencies to assess the needs of those with a low capacity to cope with the impacts of climate change.


In particular, the plan identifies the risks for poor and low-income families, the elderly, infant and juvenile populations, and persons residing in hospitals and state and local institutions. Strategies for implementing environmental justice include: a fair allocation of resources for mapping; a priority system to identify the most vulnerable persons in different situations; elimination of language and other cultural barriers; and coordination with tribal entities.

The principle of intergenerational equity recognizes that the the impacts of climate change will affect future generations more than those who have caused the problem in the past. Thus, the plan recommends a policy to fund and implement climate action planning as soon as possible. In addition, the plan argues that the tax burden to pay for planning and preparation measures should fall on current taxpayers. It also recommends the adoption of commercial and industrial buildings codes that provide higher efficiency and structural integrity for the future.


Publication Date: February 2008

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  • Planning guides

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