Ever wonder how state adaptation plans adopted across the country are actually being implemented on the ground? There’s now a website that tells you, and the results are mixed.
The Georgetown Climate Center is launching an expansive online database analyzing progress on the plans, which provide guidance on adapting to floods, fires and other climate-related problems. The tool reveals whether a state has an adaptation plan at all, and if so, which programs, laws or regulations may have resulted from goals or guidelines within it.
The center found that 14 states have finalized plans, meaning they have gone through an official state process with a task force or subset of officials and have sent the plans back to the governor or legislature. Additionally, eight more states and Washington, D.C., are moving toward a finalized climate plan via their internal planning process. However, less than half of the states have completed plans, even if their localities sometimes are taking action.
In total, the 14 states that have finished plans are mainly coastal: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington. In those states, the rate of completion of the adaptation plans — meaning goals outlined in them have resulted in some sort of tangible outcome, like a regulation or program — ranges from a single digit to about 14 percent. When “progress” on the goals is included, the percentage rises to as high as 86 percent, said Aaron Ray, institute associate at the center.
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Claire B. Rubin has 40 years of experience as a researcher, consultant, and educator in the fields of emergency management and homeland security.
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