By Patrick M. Regan, Professor of Political Science & Associate Director of the Environmental Change Initiative for ND-GAIN

President Trump and his his administration have suggested that a prudent action would be to reverse the United States’ commitment to the Paris Agreement. This is not something that the United States should take lightly, neither should the President.

The floods, droughts, storms and fires ravaging homes and affecting Americans across the country are no longer solely about addressing the reality of climate change, but also about addressing needs at a local level so policy makers can help municipalities in adapting to these changing conditions. The Paris Agreement committed countries to develop coherent adaptation plans; if the US abandons our commitment to the Agreement we also abandon our commitment to helping our own communities adapt to the changing climate.

By Natalie Ambrosio, Research Assistant, ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assesment

Outdoor adventures; fine wine; reading on the couch. The thread that ties these all together is the role they can play in adapting society to climate change. Adaptation goes far beyond preparing for sea level rise or other disasters and that’s what makes it exciting. Every sector has a need for creative thinking that leads to adaptation action.

The historic Cape Lookout Lighthouse in North Carolina, has stood tall through Civil War battles and inclement weather since 1859. Yet now coastal erosion and other climate-related changes threaten this tall brick landmark. Historical buildings and landscapes hold important value both for tourism revenue and cultural impact. A currently little-explored field, researching the preservation of cultural sites is an exciting opportunity to adapt to a changing climate.

By Chen Chen, Research Scientist, Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN)

Funded by a two-year Partnership Development Grant from Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, McGill University-based Adaptation Tracking Collaborative gathers partners from Wageningen University, UCLA, and ND-GAIN to develop conceptual, methodological, and empirical approaches for tracking adaptation across scales. Since September 2016, the collaborative has surveyed private sector stakeholders to understand the private sector adaptation tracking needs and perception. The survey seeks to collect comments on existing metrics and to build a “wish-list” by which private sector stakeholders believe adaptation tracking would be valuable to facilitate their resilience investment. The collaborative carried out the survey covering a spectrum of private sector industries, including (re)insurance, manufacturing, consulting-service, legal-service, and rating company.

By Natalie Ambrosio, Research Assistant, ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Assesment

Words are confusing, often wrought with varying connotations and intangible ideas. But no matter what they’re called, floods and droughts are concrete events, which can be fought with concrete action. The New York Times article, “In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’” by Hiroko Tabuchi depicts a world in which the mention of climate change draws contention, but the undoubtedly changing weather is commonly accepted. Farmers rely on the land, live by the weather and feel their lives changing along with it.

By Hyun Kim, Postdoctoral Researcher, ND-GAIN

Researchers from the Univeresity of Notre Dame, University of Wisconsin, University of Georgia and Ohio State University hope to examine coastal community resilience in the Gulf region. The research, “Enhancing climate adaptation and disaster resilience in coastal communities: Incorporating science-based role play simulations into food and health security” is intended to elaborate on the explicit links between community well-being, vulnerability and resilience to the threat from climate and environmental changes.

This project aims at better understanding how sustainable community development practices can increase resiliency and capacity in the Gulf coastal communities (in particular Baton Rouge and Gulfport-Biloxi areas). By applying community-based participatory research and community-based adaptation practices, the team would provide community members, policymakers or stakeholder groups with insights into processes of creating healthy, sustainable, and equitable and resilient coastal communities.