Much of the mainstream discussion about climate change to date has focused on mitigation—action we can and should take to reduce overall greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and thus slow climate change. But with no constructive climate change legislation from Congress passed or even on the horizon, and with the effects of climate change becoming increasingly visible, the discussion is beginning to turn to adaptation—measures aimed at allowing humans and the environment to adjust to climate change.
In the absence of aggressive federal action, cities, local governments, and tribes are leading efforts to adapt to climate change by identifying the likely effects and proposing strategies to address them. In 2009, the Climate Impacts Group (CIG), an interdisciplinary research group based at the University of Washington in Seattle, published a report (NB: very large download, 140 MB) surveying the likely effects of climate change across the state and detailing existing state and local authority for adaptation efforts.
With support from the Bullitt Foundation, the Center for Progressive Reform has taken the next step forward, identifying legal and regulatory tools to help policymakers and advocates develop specific policy steps to help the Puget Sound region adapt to climate change.
CPR’s materials on climate change adaptation in the Puget Sound include:
Puget Sound Adaptation Symposium: In January 2011, CPR and the Seattle University School of Law hosted Toward a Well Adapted Future in Puget Sound: A Symposium on Climate Change Adaptation and the Law. The event brought together national, regional, tribal, and local experts on climate change adaptation to discuss the implications of climate change for Puget Sound, as well as policy choices and the legal steps necessary to put them into action. Materials from the symposium include: