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Justice, Fairness, Inclusion, and Performance.

What can countries and local governments learn from comparing approaches to climate impact?

March 03, 2024

Adaptation to climate impacts (flood, fire, heat, drought) is a global challenge. In contrast to “mitigation” (greenhouse gas reduction), adaptation is a quintessentially local challenge; floods or fires may cause disaster in one neighborhood but leave nearby neighborhoods relatively unscathed. Impacts of extreme events will depend on details of local demography, topography, economy, ecology and more.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has identified “governance” as the core global wide “high level constraint” to adaptation. NAPA is the US co-sponsor of an Australia/China/US project to see what can be learned from comparing governance responses across countries. The project has engaged leading science, law, business and policy scholars and practitioners from all countries.

In September, the project convened a webinar to consider what may be learned from 2023 floods and fire disasters in locale--such as Vermont and Hawaii in the US--where governments had presumably been on notice and taken actions to prepare. The project's initial report, with next steps, shall be released shortly.

In February, Australia project members organized and conducted a “hands on” local (Shepparton Township, Victoria State) workshop, with participation by local officials, and citizen, agriculture and business representatives.

NAPA project members participated in the workshop by zoom. A video of the zoom is now available. Following introductory presentations by project member Michael Spencer, Australia climate scholar/ practitioner and an overview of ongoing local actions, NAPA International Panel co-chair Dan Guttman presented an overview of the comparative project, Intergovernmental Panel Co-chair Marc Pisano co-chair discussed the Panel’s ongoing California pilot project, and project member Deb Knopman shared her learning from years of US and global work, as senior US government environmental policy and science official, Vice President of the Rand Corporation for Environment, and director of the Luce and Asia Foundations.