The American Society of Adaptation Professional is thrilled to announce the appointment of two new directors to our Board of Directors. These two new directors, Emily Wasley and Julia Kim, will join seven seated Board Members for an initial three year term of 2019 through 2022. Emily and Julia join the ASAP Board at an exciting time for our organization. As we continue to seek out new and meaningful ways to fulfill our mission of supporting and connecting climate adaptation professionals to advance excellence and innovation in the field of adaptation. We welcome these highly respected and dynamic adaptation thought leaders and look forward to continuing to learn with them and from them in the years to come.
The Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) launched the Tribal Climate Resilience Partnership and Technical Assistance Program in 2014 to help tribes prepare for climate change.Direct funding supports federally-recognized Tribes and Alaska Native communities in climate resilience planning through competitive awards for climate training, adaptation planning, vulnerability assessments, supplemental monitoring, capacity building, and ocean and coastal management planning. On April 10, 2019 the BIA announced new funding availability and grant proposal requirements for 2019. Proposals are due by June 10, 2019.
This analysis from the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) evaluates existing practices of calculating the value of resilience in Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) installed within an energy distribution system. The report examines how the value of resilience was calculated and was applied in both regulatory decision-making and non-regulatory cost-benefit analyses, and provides state regulators with guidance for taking resilience into account when evaluating investments in DERs in the face of high-impact, low-probability extreme weather events.
Reflections on Climate Leadership in 2019
By Beth Gibbons
Next month, the North American adaptation community will meet in the Midwest US. Comprised of vanguards and newcomers, we will converge in Madison to share strategies, lessons learned, successes, failures, friendships, beer and cheese – it is Wisconsin, after all!
This past week, a different climate community convened on the seawall of the Inner Harbor of Baltimore at the Climate Leadership Conference. Convened by C2ES and The Climate Registry, it is the descendent of an event once hosted by the EPA by the same name. However, unlike past years, resilience and climate adaptation were on the agenda–both literally and figuratively–for the conference attendees.
At ASAP, we have seen a marked increase in the private sector engagement in the climate resilience and adaptation conversation. We are observing shifts in the climate resilience marketplace (both demand for and support of services) and in the shifting demographics of the ASAP Membership.
Attending events like the Climate Leadership Conference and our stalwart National Adaptation Forum, we can translate lessons between events and achieve more robust discussions with our members. In that spirit, here are the top 5 observations from the ASAP Booth at the Climate Leadership Conference 2019:
- Companies want climate resilience (and sustainability) integrated throughout their entire operations. Kevin Rabinovitch, VP for Global Sustainability at Mars Inc., noted that it’s not enough for climate resilience to the job of his 20 person team. Rather he wants to see principles of resilience (and sustainability) integrated throughout Mars Incorporated’s 113,000 employees.
- Mitigation vs. Adaptation is still being talked about. While there was robust discussion on the role of corporations advocating for climate action, there was also an expressed concern that ‘if we can only advance one policy goal – it has to be mitigation’.
- The lack of US federal leadership is felt across the world. When asked about whether the US is losing its reputation as a leader, Cathy Woollums of Berkshire Hathaway Energy quipped,“Sometimes, when you want to be leader, you have to lead.”
- New legal challenges are coming fast and furious.
- TCFD – the Bloomberg driven, international framework for corporate risk disclosure is creating a pathway into this work. However, the path through climate financial disclosure remains fertile ground for innovation and exploration.
I also noticed a few things were missing from this conference:
- The financial markets were missing. I don’t think there were any speakers from S&P, Moody’s or Fitch – the three domestic rating agencies. Despite support from Bloomberg, their team kept a low profile throughout the event.
- The conversations were sorely missing the federal perspective. At a conference once hosted by Environmental Protection Agency and hosted less than 40 miles from the D.C. border, the lack of federal agency staff was striking.
- The crowd was – well – not young. While Greta Thunberg and the youth movement is dominating the global climate conversation, this conference was still about top down leadership from well-seasoned professionals.
- The attendees, and especially the speakers, were conspicuously white. This was definitely a crowd where the word equity was more likely to be in a sentence with ‘balance sheet’ and ‘profit’ than ‘justice’ and ‘race’.
I do not point out these missing groups to criticize or diminish the value of the conversations and interactions that were taking place. However, throughout the adaptation and resilience field, we have learned that when we change who is the room, we change the conversation. When we change the conversation, we change the actions. We also know that diversity equals profitability, and that is an equity outcome we all like to achieve.
The public sector was never going to solve this challenge on its own. There was an appetite for action and a different kind of know-how on display in Baltimore last week. Now, more than ever, I am grateful for ASAP being an inclusive community that can bridge these events, connect conversations, and drive the innovation and excellence that we need across this critical and diverse field of practice.
Massachusetts’ Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness grant program (MVP) provides support for cities and towns across the state to begin the process of planning and implementing climate change resiliency projects. The state awards communities with funding to complete vulnerability assessments and develop resiliency plans. Applications are due by May 3rd, 2019 – or when all allocated funds have been awarded.
Minnesota’s 2019 State All-Hazard Mitigation Plan (HMP) includes recommended actions for climate adaptation for the first time in the state’s hazard mitigation planning process. Developed in collaboration with the Interagency Climate Adaptation Team (ICAT), the HMP includes priority adaptation needs for state government from the ICAT 2017 Report – Adapting to Climate Change in Minnesota. The HMP provides assessments of hazard risk, reviews current state and local hazard mitigation and climate adaptation capacity and programs, and includes climate adaptation strategies for Minnesota’s state agencies and programs.
The Texas General Land Office (GLO) updated Coastal Resiliency Master Plan provides a framework for the protection and adaptation of coastal infrastructure and natural resources across the most vulnerable regions of the Texas Gulf coast. The Resiliency Plan adopts the most current storm surge and sea level rise models to determine the implication of projected climate impacts, coastal hazards, and prioritization of these projects. The priority issues of concern identified for resilience planning on the Texas coast focus on degraded or lost habitat, beach and dune erosion, storm surge, coastal flooding, impacts on water quality and quantity, loss of marine and coastal resources, and shoreline debris.
The Adaptation Capability Advancement (Adapt-CA) Toolkit was developed to support local government climate change adaptation initiatives through an agency self-assessment process on institutional capacity. Adapt-CA helps to identify opportunities to build capacity for adaptation integration into local government agency’s operations, leadership, technical capacity and engagement. The tool was designed for California communities, but is relevant and can be useful to local governments throughout country.
The Urban Land Institute (and Heitman – a global real estate investment firm) have investigated how climate change impacts are affecting real estate assets and investments in the market today and the future due to increased exposure. The report describes the risks posed by climate change on real estate, how real estate investors are factoring climate risk into their investment decision-making, and offers best practices for managing and mitigating these risks.
Adaptation strategies and approaches for forested watersheds, a new “menu” of adaptation strategies, for wetlands, from the Climate Change Response Framework provides a menu of tiered adaptation strategies, which were developed with a focus on forests of the Midwest and Northeastern U.S., as part of a flexible framework to support the integration of climate change considerations into forested watershed management and conservation activities.