Key Messages About Adaptation from the National Climate Assessment
Substantial adaptation planning is occurring in the public and private sectors and at all levels of government; however, few measures have been implemented and those that have appear to be incremental changes.
Barriers to implementation of adaptation include limited funding, policy and legal impediments, and difficulty in anticipating climate-related changes at local scales.
There is no “one-size fits all” adaptation, but there are similarities in approaches across regions and sectors. Sharing best practices, learning by doing, and iterative and collaborative processes including stakeholder involvement, can help support progress.
Climate change adaptation actions often fulfill other societal goals, such as sustainable development, disaster risk reduction, or improvements in quality of life, and can therefore be incorporated into existing decision-making processes.
Vulnerability to climate change is exacerbated by other stresses such as pollution and habitat fragmentation. Adaptation to multiple stresses requires assessment of the composite threats as well as tradeoffs amongst costs, benefits, and risks of available options.
The effectiveness of climate change adaptation has seldom been evaluated, because actions have only recently been initiated, and comprehensive evaluation metrics do not yet exist. [A bibliography of resources for evaluating and monitoring adaptation in coastal regions is available from USGCRP.]
To learn more about adaptation, explore the resources in the sidebar.