By Elisa Jiménez Alonso
A report recently published by the White House’s Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience (Resilience Council) outlines opportunities for the United States of America to build climate resilience.
The negative effects of climate change are already affecting most US American communities and economic sectors. From increasing temperatures and sea level rise, to an increasing intensity in extreme weather events and droughts, the impacts are felt across the country. In the last ten years alone, extreme weather, wildfires, and the financial risks of climate change have led to over US$ 357 billion in direct costs.
To keep building and improving the US’ climate resilience, the Resilience Council has identified a set of key opportunities to guide climate resilience action. The work was informed by working together with a wide array of stakeholders ranging from state, local, and tribal leaders to community organizations, academic institutions, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector.
The identified opportunities are grouped into three themes:
- Advancing and applying science-based information, technology, and tools to address climate risk
- Integrating climate resilience into Federal agency missions, operations, and culture.
- Supporting community efforts to enhance climate resilience.
One of the opportunities identified in the report is working with stakeholders to enhance the usability of climate information. Shortly after the report’s release, the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy announced the launch of a public-private partnership designed to address this need. The Resilience Dialogues collaboration facilitates discussion and interaction between community leaders and climate scientists and practitioners.
Another opportunity of the report emphasises the need to encourage comprehensive preparedness, which should include increasing climate-resilient design and construction (which was also recently emphasised by Lord Stern as he revisited the 2006 Stern Review).
With the recent presidential election, it is unclear if and how this report, completed by the Obama administration, will be picked up by President-elect’s administration, but it does identify many opportunities for climate action and building climate resilience which can be taken on board on many different levels, from local to federal.