10 – Climate Resilience

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Do we have the capability to adapt to the consequences of a warming world? Week 10 defines adaptation and resilience, two terms that speak to a community capability to withstand the adverse impacts of climate change.


Stockholm Environment Institute: Four generations of climate adaptation

Key Definitions & Approaches

“Around 22% of global CO2 emissions stem from the production of goods that are, ultimately, consumed in a different country. However, traditional inventories do not include emissions associated with imported goods…”

Read p. 3-4 (Box SPM1-2)

2012 • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Background on Vulnerability & Adaptation

IPCC Overview

Two Interpretations of Vulnerability in Climate Change Research

The term ‘vulnerability’ is used in many different ways by various scholarly communities. The resulting disagreement about the appropriate definition of vulnerability is a frequent cause for misunderstanding in interdisciplinary research on climate change and a challenge for attempts to develop formal models of vulnerability…

Read p.163 (Figure 4)

May 18, 2006 • Global Environmental Change

Why we need to rethink ‘maladaptation’

“‘Maladaptation’ is a hot topic in the climate change community. With increasing global attention and finance being poured into adaptation, people are understandably concerned that actions taken to respond to climate change may end up increasing people’s vulnerability now or in the future…

June 29, 2015 • Devex

Key Takeaways

“The assessment of impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability in the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) evaluates how patterns of risks and potential benefits are shifting due to climate change since 2007 when the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) was released…”

[Download Ch. 15, Read p.871-872 (Exec Summary) and p.876 (FAQ Box 15.1); Download Ch. 14, Read p.845 (Table 14.1) and  p.850 (Table 14.2); Download Ch. 16, Read p.905-908 (Section 16.2),  p.909 (Table 16.1), and p.920 (Box 16.4)]

2014 • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Vulnerability before adaptation: Toward transformative climate action.

“Scholars have long talked of climate-related risk in terms of vulnerability…”

August 12, 2011 • Global Environmental Change

Disaster Risk Reduction

An Integrated Disaster Risk Approach

Ten Essentials for Sendai Priorities for Action

“This Guide responds to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015- 2030 (Sendai Framework) concern that more dedicated action needs to be focused on tackling underlying disaster risk drivers and strengthening good governance in disaster risk reduction (DRR) strategies, at all levels and across sectors and actors…” 

Read Appendix I, p. 85-90

2018 • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Climate Change Adaptation and DRR

“Actions that range from incremental steps to transformational changes are essential for reducing risk from weather and climate extremes…”

Read p.439-440

2012 • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Local DRR Strategies and Plans in Urban Areas

“For a local DRR strategy to be fully aligned with the Sendai Framework, it should be coherent with all the above-mentioned global frameworks, as well as being integrated into the development agenda for the relevant urban area or local government, subnational or national territory…”

Download Ch.14  and Read p.365-371, p.380-383

2019 • United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction

Critical Perspectives on Resilience

The end of sustainability

It is time to move past the concept of sustainability. The realities of the Anthropocene warrant this conclusion…”

May 2014 • Society & Natural Resources

Challenges for resilience policy and practice

Many scholars have noted the wide range of definitions and interpretations of resilience emerging from multiple disciplines…”

Read p.7, p.9-12, and p.16-19

2017 • Overseas Development Institute

Comparing Resilience and Sustainability

Similarities and differences between resilience and sustainability...”

Read p.127 (Table 2)

October 14, 2014 • Sustainability Science

Resilience: Meaningless jargon or development solution?

‘Resilience’ is probably the sexiest new buzzword in international development. But as its popularity has grown, so has criticism of the use of ill-defined terminology in a sector that claims to be accountable…”

March 5, 2013 • The Guardian

Urban resilience for whom, what, when, where, and why?

“Urbanization processes drive change in the Anthropocene, presenting environmental and social challenges that are unprecedented in scale, scope, and complexity…”

Read p.9 (Table 1)

July 12, 2016 • Urban Geography

UN Habitat: Building the Climate Resilience of the Urban Poor

Pick One Topic to Explore

Built Infrastructure

Adapting Critical Infrastructure

“All around the world, much of the infrastructure172 that wedepend on is crumbling, aging, or simply missing…”

Read p.44-47

September 13, 2019 • Global Commission on Adaptation

Urban Heat Island Toolkit

“Increasing the re ectance of a roof from 0.1-0.2 to 0.6 can cut net annual cooling energy use by 10 to 20 percent on the oor of the building immedi- ately beneath the roof by reducing the need for air conditioning…”

Read p.13-16

January 2012 • Global Cool Cities Alliance

Integrated Urban Flood Risk Management

“An integrated flood risk management approach is a combination of flood risk management measures which, taken as a whole, can successfully reduce urbanflood risk…”

Read p.32-49

2012 • World Bank

Information & Communication Technology

Crowdsourced Mapping

Just a few hours after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010, a group of collaborators from the OpenStreetMap community began collecting all sorts of topographical data about the country – roads, towns, hospitals, government buildings…

October 12, 2016 • Post Carbon Institute

Maps and Local Knowledge

In Kenya, participatory mapping makes it possible for indigenous knowledge to be included in planning and policy where for too long it was excluded, showing technology can bring people’s voices to power...”

January 17, 2020 • International Institute for Environment and Development


U.S. Flood Strategy Shifts to ‘Unavoidable’ Relocation of Entire Neighborhoods

Using tax dollars to move whole communities out of flood zones, an idea long dismissed as radical, is swiftly becoming policy, marking a new and more disruptive phase of climate change…”

August 26, 2020 • New York Times

The case for strategic and managed climate retreat

Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm’s way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat…”

August 23, 2019 • Science Magazine

Making Sense of Drivers and Barriers to Managed Retreat

Miyuki Hino’s study, ‘Managed Retreat as a Response to Natural Hazard Risk,’ published in Nature Climate Change, provides new insights to climigration research. In it, Hino and her coauthors study 27 instances of managed retreat and create a framework for understanding drivers and barriers to climigration in a range of contexts…”

June 28, 2017 • Climigration

Adaptation Through Finance & Institutions

Adaptation Finance

“As we have shown throughout this report, the economic case for resilience is strong (Chapter 1), and there are strongdemands for increased resources to strengthen the resilienceof our economies (Chapters 2–7)…”

Read p.52-57

September, 2019 • Global Commission on Adaptation

Adaptation Planning and Land Use

Urban and community planners use terms such as commercial, residential, industrial, institutional, and park to describe how people use land...”

May 15, 2017 • U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

U.S. climate-adaptation plans long on ideas, short on details, priorities

An analysis of more than 40 climate-adaptation plans from across the U.S. shows that local communities are good at developing strategies to combat the harmful effects of climate change but often fail to prioritize their goals or to provide implementation details...”

May 2, 2016 • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Barriers to Adaptation Decision-Making

“The third and final step in our diagnostic framework provides a simple matrix to help locate possible points of intervention to overcome a given barrier…”

Read Tables 1-3 and p.22030

November 5, 2010 • PNAS

Indigenous Technologies

Traditional Ecological Knowledge

Indigenous groups offer alternative knowledge and perspectives based on their own locally developed practices of resource use...”

Read the first and last sections (p.1251-1253 and 1259-1260)

October 2000 • Ecological Applications

Glacial Grafting

“Astupa—the word comes from the Sanskrit, meaning ‘to heap’ or ‘to pile up’—is a Buddhist monument that often houses a relic...”

May 13, 2019 • The New Yorker

Native Solutions to Big Fires

Cultural burning practices are working to reduce wildfires in northern Australia. Can they work in California, too…”

January 24, 2020 • New York Times

How Native Tribes Are Taking the Lead on Planning for Climate Change

With their deep ties to the land and reliance on fishing, hunting, and gathering, indigenous tribes are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change…”

February 11, 2020 • Yale e360

Ecosystem-based Adaptation

EBA Guiding Questions

“Despite the strong theoretical appeal of ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and its potential practical application for meeting objectives under all three Rio Conventions and the Sustainable Development Goals, the approach is neither being widely or consistently used nor becoming integrated into national and international policy processes…”

Read p.2-3,10-18

May 2017 • International Institute for Environment and Development

EBA Case Studies

“Using ecosystem-based approaches to protect communities from disasters and impacts of climate change…”

Pick one of the five case studies on the left-hand panel to review

Accessed September 2020 • International Union for Conservation of Nature

Community-based Adaptation

CBA: Adding conceptual clarity to the approach

“Community-based adaptation (CBA) is an approach to strengthening the adaptive capacity of local communities vulnerable to climate change…”

Read all, including at least 5 of the 10 challenges in Section 4

April 11, 2017 • Climate & Development

CBA Case Studies

Community-Based Adaptation (CBA) is an important component of the larger picture of management and avoidance of Climate Change impacts and pressures by local people…”

Pick a community-based adaptation project to review

Accessed September 2020 • United Nations Development Programme

Gender-Sensitive Adaptation

The Paradox of Gender Mainstreaming

“Walby (1997) notes three stages of gender equality policy —the first being equal treatment for women through, for example, legal statutes that deliver rights to women; the second being positive actions for women such as leadership training; and the third being gender mainstreaming — a commitment to a comprehensive assessment of organizational structures, policies and practices for gender bias…”

Read p.289 (after “Gender Mainstreaming”) – 293

March 21, 2013 • Women’s Studies International Forum

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Optional Resources

Leverage Points

As the 21st century unfolds, an increasing majority of the world’s population will live in cities. Human wellbeing in cities relies on a complex web of interconnected institutions, infrastructure and information…

1999 • Sustainability Institute

Global Resilience Partnership Projects

Making space for proactive adaptation of rapidly changing coasts: a windows of opportunity approach

“Coastlines are very often places where the impacts of global change are felt most keenly, and they are also often sites of high values and intense use for industry, human habitation, nature conservation and recreation…”

August 2017 • Sustainability

Louisiana Breaks Ground on Isle de Jean Charles Resettlement Project Amid Pandemic Making Cities Resilient Handbook

The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t changed life much for Chris Burnet, a lifelong resident of Isle de Jean Charles, a quickly eroding strip of land among south Louisiana’s wetlands

May 22, 2020 • DeSmog

100RC Framework

As the 21st century unfolds, an increasing majority of the world’s population will live in cities. Human wellbeing in cities relies on a complex web of interconnected institutions, infrastructure and information...”

Updated December 2015 • Rockefeller Foundation

Adapting Cities to Extreme Flood Events

Addressing the risk of maladaptation to climate change

“This paper reviews the current theoretical scholarship on maladaptation and pro- vides some specific case studies—in the Maldives, Ethiopia, South Africa, and Bangladesh—to advance the field by offering an improved conceptual under- standing and more practice-oriented insights…”

May 2016 • Wiley Periodicals


Welcome to the world’s largest and most used source of climate adaptation case studies and resources. Share lessons, ideas, and opportunities with others in the field...”

Accessed September 2020 • CAKE

Unlocking the Potential for Urban Climate Adaptation

“Cities are increasingly integrating climate adaptation priorities into development policies and plans. However, there remains a gap in understanding how incremental urban adaptation solutions can lead to more transformative change over the long term…”

2019 • World Resources Institute


Explore Preventionweb knowledge base and filter your search results by year, content type, location, theme and hazard…”

Accessed September 2020 • PreventionWeb

TEDx: Cities & Climate Change

Flood Resilience Portal

“The Flood Resilience Portal provides practitioners who live and work in flood-affected communities with easy access to the resources they need to build resilience to floods…”

Accessed August 2020 • Zurich Flood Resilience Program

TED: How city mayors are taking action on climate change

Some CA Adaptation Plans

View examples of local climate action plans from California cities and counties that participate in the Beacon Program…”

Accessed September 2020 • Institute for Local Government

Trapped populations

The effects of global environmental change, including coastal flooding, reduced rainfall in drylands and water scarcity, will almost certainly alter patterns of human migration…”

October 20, 2011 • Nature Magazine

Resilience Alliance

The Resilience Alliance is a research organization that focuses on resilience in social-ecological systems as a basis for sustainability...”

Accessed September 2020 • Resilience Alliance


weADAPT is a collaborative platform on climate change adaptation issues. It allows practitioners, researchers and policy-makers to access credible, high-quality information and connect with one another...”

Accessed September 2020 • weADAPT