ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability recently launched the Climate Resilient communities (CRC) program, which is designed to support local governments in creating comprehensive climate change adaptation plans. Eight cities and counties including Boston, Massachusetts; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Flagstaff, Arizona; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Lee County, Florida; Miami-Dade County, Florida; the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC); and Tucson, Arizona will be the first participants in the U.S. program. Martin Chávez, ICLEI USA Executive Director said: “Local governments have a responsibility to protect people, property, and natural resources, and these leading communities wisely recognize that climate change is happening now, and that they must begin planning for impacts that will only become more severe in the coming decades.”
ICLEI says each of these diverse communities faces different but “serious climate impacts that cannot be ignored.” For instance, Miami-Dade country, the U.S. urban area perhaps most threatened by climate change, must deal with “more frequent severe storms, more frequent floods from rising sea levels, and saltwater intrusion into drinking water aquifers—all occurring already.” Northeastern cities like Boston are also threatened by sea level rise — a 2009 WWF / Allianz report said the coastal sea level could rise by 26 inches by 2050, destroying some $500 billion in infrastructure in that city alone. Grand Rapids in Michigan is expected to face more extreme weather including lengthier and hotter heatwaves as well as more powerful snow storms that can damage infrastructure.
To support these communities, ICLEI has also set up a new “standardized adaptation planning process” that communities can download and plugin: the advanced Adaptation and Database Planning Tool (ADAPT). According to the organization, “ADAPT walks users through the process of assessing community vulnerabilities, setting resiliency goals, and developing effective strategies that integrate into existing local planning efforts. These wide-ranging strategies may include strengthening infrastructure, diversifying water supplies, and planting more vegetation to counteract the urban heat island effect.”
Learn more about the new adaptation program and see case studies, expected climate impacts by region, and free adaptation resources.
Also, check out the carbonn Cities Climate Registry (cCCR), which was recently launched by ICLEI and UNEP at the World Mayors Council on Climate Change. The new registry allows cities to report their local climate action programs on one central platform.
Image credit: Boston Harbor / Xtrain