New CCAP Reports Find Local Climate Adaptation and Green Infrastructure Efforts Enhance Resilience and Economic Performance

2.28.11

 

Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP) reports illustrate the benefits of investing in green infrastructure and incorporating climate adaptation best practices into city planning

Washington, D.C. – New reports by the CCAP Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative suggest that incorporating adaptation best practices into city planning strategies can have positive effects on community resilience, human health, air quality, energy demand and economic prosperity. The two reports, The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation and Lessons Learned on Local Climate Adaptation from the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative, document the ways in which pioneering cities and counties have developed and applied proactive approaches to increase community resilience by planning for and adapting to emerging climate change impacts. These reports provide innovative examples of local government action in urban adaptation and the multiple benefits of green infrastructure for increasing urban climate resilience. Comprehensive research and analysis lead to the conclusion that when local governments embrace adaptive solutions and implement green infrastructure practices they can better protect their communities from a multitude of threats and save money in the process.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation presents evidence on how green infrastructure practices can improve community resilience to climate change and yield other economic and environmental benefits. Green infrastructure approaches such as green roofs, urban forestry, and water conservation can help local governments build adaptive capacity. The report concludes that when green infrastructure approaches are used in place of or in conjunction with traditional ‘grey’ infrastructure investments, urban communities can benefit from increased resilience to climate impacts, often at lower costs, while reaping multiple co-benefits through improvements in land-value, quality of life, public health, hazard mitigation, and regulatory compliance.

The Value of Green Infrastructure for Urban Climate Adaptation is intended as a resource for planners and decision makers at all levels of government,” said Steve Winkelman, Director of Adaptation Programs. “The innovative examples we review indicate that green infrastructure investments can provide a cost-effective way to enhance community resilience and prosperity.”

Lessons Learned on Local Climate Adaptation from the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative summarizes the main findings on advancing local climate adaptation discovered over the course of CCAP’s Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative. This partnership with government leaders from ten cities and counties served to empower local communities to develop and implement climate resilient strategies. The project aimed to catalyze climate adaptation at the local level, spread adaptation best practices from partners to other local and professional communities, and influence national and state climate adaptation policies. This report finds that local governments often have the necessary expertise and experience to increase resilience to climate impacts through their current functions, but need new information and technical assistance to develop and implement adaptation strategies. The report proposes and defines federal and state ‘climate extension’ services as a compelling way to provide technical assistance to bolster local adaptation efforts. The report concludes that comprehensive planning, utilizing ‘no-regrets’ strategies, and ‘mainstreaming’ adaptation efforts into existing policies are proving to be effective approaches at the local level. Further, consideration of multiple economic and social benefits is especially useful for garnering public support. The promising findings in this report will help guide local decision makers as they chart their course on climate adaptation planning and strive to identify effective strategies with multiple benefits.

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The study was made possible by generous support from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Surdna Foundation. CCAP is solely responsible for the content of the report.