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Saturday, December 28, 2013

U.S. EPA Adaptation Planning

While all U.S. federal agencies are now required under an Executive Order to undertake some form of adaptation planning, most efforts are rather cursory and only play lip service to the EO. The U.S. EPA, however, has taken a more deliberate approach. In early November, EPA released 17 separate adaptation implementation plans, with each addressing adaptation from a regional or EPA program perspective. While the thoroughness of EPA sets it apart from the other agencies, one also wonders whether the development of 17 separate reports was, in fact, the most efficient pathway for adaptation implementation.  

East African Agriculture and Climate Change

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently released a new research monograph on the impacts of climate change in East and Central African countries. Declines in yields of 5 to 20% are projected for wheat, soybean, sorghum, and irrigated rice yields by mid-century. Adaptation could significantly offset these losses, and could even contribute to increases in maize yields, despite climate change. The monograph follows similar explorations of climate change impacts in West and Southern Africa, which were published earlier in 2013.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Adaptation Monitoring & Evaluation: A Comparative Study

A study recently published by GIZ and IISD takes a critical look at different structures of adaptation monitoring and evaluation systems in both developed and developing nations. Monitoring and Evaluating Adaptation at Aggregated Levels: A Comparative Analysis of Ten Systems provides an in-depth comparison of these systems by giving insights into different M&E approaches, the experiences with establishment and implementation processes (policy framework, level of aggregation and application, institutional set-up, different steps for M&E, level of required resources, etc.) and context-specific lessons learned.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

China's Adaptation Planning

According to media reports, China has estimated the costs of climate change to the nation since 1990 at $32.0 billion, and has released a report summarizing its various actions to address climate change, including both mitigation and adaptation.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Coastal Planning in Queensland: Back to the Future

Just eight short months after releasing new technical guidelines for managing the risk of climate change and sea-level rise in coastal planning and 3 months after releasing a draft coastal management plan that identifies sea-level rise as a coastal hazard, the government of Queensland, Australia has decided that sea-level rise is now no longer a hazard that needs to be included in coastal planning. The 80 cm provision for sea-level rise has been stripped from state planning policy due to its perceived potential to inhibit economic development, and local governments are now on their own to figure out how to account for this risk. Queensland joins New South Wales in rolling back progressive policies to account for future sea-level rise. In both instances, the policy shifts are a consequence of state elections where the Labor party was ousted by the more conservative Liberal party. There seems little hope of building societal resilience when governments can't maintain consistent policies regarding adaptation and risk management for more than a few years at a time.    

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The State of Adaptation in European Cities

A new study led by Diana Reckien at Columbia University's Center for Research on Environmental Decisions (and discussed at the Weather examines the state of mitigation and adaptation planning in European cities. The bottom line: 35% of European cities have no dedicated mitigation plan and 72% have no adaptation plan. 

Africa's Adaptation Gap

UNEP has sponsored a new assessment of climate impacts and adaptation for the continent of Africa. The report emphasizes Africa as a vulnerability hot spot, the challenge for adaptation if global mean temperature exceeds 4 degrees C, and the importance of international finance to implement adaptation options to address priority needs.

Help Wanted: Adaptation Mentors for Victoria, Australia

The Victorian Minister for Environment and Climate Change has announced applications are now open for Victorian Local Government Adaptation Mentors.

Skilled mentors will be recruited across the state to provide practical targeted support to local government to build their communities’ climate resilience. Recruitment of mentors is the next stage of the Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership and will build on the strong relationship between state and local government.
Funding for the initiative was announced by the Minister for Environment and Climate Change in March 2013, and is one of a suite of measures to support local government action on climate adaptation and the delivery of the Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Plan. For more information visit
For more information about the positions or to view a Position Description visit