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Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

June 3, 2010

An Adobe Acrobat .pdf file with a brief summary from a panel of scientists reviewing climate change effects and responses.  This is just one report of three on the website .  You will need an .pdf reader program to access the following link.

From The National Academies


Much of the nation’s experience to date in managing and protecting its people, resources, and infrastructure is based on the historic record of climate variability during a period of relatively stable climate. Adaptation to climate change calls for a new paradigm—one that considers a range of possible future climate conditions and associated impacts, some well outside the realm of past experience. Adaptation is a process that requires actions from many decision-makers in federal, state, tribal, and local governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and community groups. However, current efforts are hampered by a lack of solid information about the benefits, costs, and effectiveness of various adaptation options, by uncertainty about future climate impacts at a scale necessary for decision-making, and by a lack of coordination. Therefore, a national adaptation strategy is needed to support and coordinate decentralized efforts. As part of this strategy, the federal government should provide technical and scientific resources that are currently lacking at the local or regional scale, incentives for local and state authorities to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, shared lessons learned, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation. 


This report, part of the America’s Climate  Choices suite of studies requested by Congress, discusses the impacts of climate change and how we as a nation can begin adapting to them in beneficial ways, exploring activities underway at state and local levels, adaptation options, and how the nation can become better prepared to make adaptation choices. 


Box 2. Alaska: Retreat from the Coast 
Alaskan coastal and river communities are experiencing greater erosion and flooding because of increased storm activity and windiness; reduced sea-ice extent, which increases the intensity of storm surges; and thawing of permafrost, which increases susceptibility to erosion. Traditionally, many of these communities were semi-nomadic, moving inland during periods of severe storms, and had little permanent infrastructure. During the past 100 years, however, their mobility has been reduced by the building of houses, schools, airports, and other permanent facilities—changes that have increased vulnerability to climate change. Six Alaskan communities are now planning some type of relocation. However, no funds have been appropriated to begin the relocation process. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has identified 160 additional villages in rural Alaska that are threatened by climaterelated erosion, with relocation costs are estimated at $30-50 million per village. 

From The National Academies

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