Are U.S. Cities Prepared for the Effects of Climate Change?
How prepared are our cities?
Why focus on cities?
Why focus on adaptation?
What hinders cities’ ability to implement adaptation measures?
What do adaptation measures entail?
Who was interviewed and why?
How were interviewees selected?
Why were cities ranked in this particular order?
How do social factors influence adaptation planning and implementation in the cities identified here?
- Political culture: In general, politically conservative areas are less likely than their liberal counterparts to support adaptation measures.
- Extreme weather events: For some cities, like Los Angeles, wildfires, droughts and even earthquakes have inspired adaptive measures. For others, like Tampa, similar threats of extreme events like hurricanes have become a normalized aspect of life rather than an impetus for change.
- Scientific uncertainty about climate change: Decision-makers who don’t have access to scientific assessments outlining the impacts of climate change specific to their city are less inclined to prioritize adaptive measures.
- Politicization of climate change: Decision-makers who are uninformed about climate change – or deny its existence – are less likely to support adaptation.
- Advocacy and political engagement: Communities that have a high level of interest and involvement in climate change issues can influence decision-makers in a way that encourages adaptive action and mitigation.
- Academic resources: Stronger connections between decision-makers and academic resources — local experts on climate change, universities and researcher centers — motivate the development of adaptive measures.