Preparing Natural and Human Communities for Climate Change
Geos Institute staff
The Need for Climate Change Adaptation
Climate change is well underway. Global temperatures have increased 1.5° F. Sea level has risen 8 inches. Forest and rangeland res have increased. Fish, wildlife, and plants are on the move. Climate change is expected to progress more quickly throughout the next century. Many changes will occur regardless of how well we curtail future greenhouse gas emissions, so we need to prepare for those impacts in order to protect people, our water and lands, and wildlife. Preparing for and responding to a changing climate is called climate change "adaptation." Unfortunately, we can no longer simply use past conditions to plan for the future.
About the Process
At the Geos Institute, we developed a process that walks a community, watershed, county, federal planning unit, or region through a process that helps them begin to plan for climate change. An important component of the process is that it works across both socioeconomic and natural systems. The ClimateWise process begins by compiling information about local impacts of climate change, based on output from climate models and studies of ecological effects.