In the Toolkit --

Introduction

  • Guide to the Toolkit
  • Leagues in Action
  • I. Choosing a Role for Your League

    II. Grassroots Action Priorities

  • Climate Action
  • Price on Carbon
  • Our Children's Trust
  • Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Renewable Energy
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • III. Basics of Climate Change

    IV. Engaging Individuals

  • Communicating About Climate Change
  • Preparing for a Meeting on Climate Change
  • Engaging Groups in Your Community
  • V. Promoting Public Policy

  • Community Action Models
  • Organizing For Community Action
  • Tips for Building Grassroots Support
  • League Action on Climate Change
  • International Action
  • VI. Resources

    ADAPTATION: PREPARING FOR THE UNAVOIDABLE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

    Climate change is happening, and its impacts are already evident around the world. The latest report from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as the Third National Climate Assessment for the United States add urgency to the call to prepare now for the current and expected damaging impacts of climate change.

    Here in the U.S., heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense, putting children, the elderly, the sick, and the poor in particular at risk. More frequent severe rainstorms are overwhelming storm sewers and causing flooding. Warmer temperatures and changing precipitation patterns are affecting water availability in many parts of the country. Rising sea levels and higher storm surges threaten coastal communities and ecosystems.

    Climate scientists expect such events to intensify and become more frequent in the years ahead. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) can remain in the atmosphere for tens to thousands of years. Thus some amount of additional climate change is unavoidable. The magnitude of the climate change will be determined by the choices we as a society make about future emissions. Through our mitigation efforts — the actions we take to reduce emissions of GHGs and black carbon and increase the removal of CO2 from the atmosphere — we can limit future warming and minimize future impacts.

    But no mitigation efforts, no matter how rigorous, can prevent the climate from continuing to change for the foreseeable future. Adaptation — actions taken to decease vulnerability and limit the impacts of climate change and to take advantage of beneficial opportunities — is critical as well. 

    Climate change is a global phenomenon, but its impacts will be felt most acutely at the local and regional levels. And these impacts will vary from region to region, even from community to community. Much of the adaptation planning and action, therefore, must happen at the local and regional levels where decision-makers can tailor adaptation strategies to their specific circumstances and to the resources at their disposal.

    The following sections include a look at climate adaptation efforts to date, suggestions of what Leagues can do to advance climate preparedness in their communities, and detailed discussions about the impacts of climate change and possible adaptation strategies for specific sectors of the economy and other areas of interest.

    Last updated: 8/6/2016