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Groundwater depletion is exacerbating drought risk in many parts of the United States, particularly in the Southwest and Southern Great Plains. Dependable and safe water supplies for U. Most U. Aging and deteriorating water infrastructure, typically designed for past environmental conditions, compounds the climate risk faced by society.
Water management strategies that account for changing climate conditions can help reduce present and future risks to water security, but implementation of such practices remains limited. Changes in temperature and precipitation are increasing air quality and health risks from wildfire and ground-level ozone pollution. Rising air and water temperatures and more intense extreme events are expected to increase exposure to waterborne and foodborne diseases, affecting food and water safety. With continued warming, cold-related deaths are projected to decrease and heat-related deaths are projected to increase; in most regions, increases in heat-related deaths are expected to outpace reductions in cold-related deaths.
The frequency and severity of allergic illnesses, including asthma and hay fever, are expected to increase as a result of a changing climate. Climate change is also projected to alter the geographic range and distribution of disease-carrying insects and pests, exposing more people to ticks that carry Lyme disease and mosquitoes that transmit viruses such as Zika, West Nile, and dengue, with varying impacts across regions.
Communities in the Southeast, for example, are particularly vulnerable to the combined health impacts from vector-borne disease, heat, and flooding. Extreme weather and climate-related events can have lasting mental health consequences in affected communities, particularly if they result in degradation of livelihoods or community relocation.
Populations including older adults, children, low-income communities, and some communities of color are often disproportionately affected by, and less resilient to, the health impacts of climate change. Adaptation and mitigation policies and programs that help individuals, communities, and states prepare for the risks of a changing climate reduce the number of injuries, illnesses, and deaths from climate-related health outcomes. Many Indigenous peoples are reliant on natural resources for their economic, cultural, and physical well-being and are often uniquely affected by climate change.
Adverse impacts on subsistence activities have already been observed. As climate changes continue, adverse impacts on culturally significant species and resources are expected to result in negative physical and mental health effects. Throughout the United States, climate-related impacts are causing some Indigenous peoples to consider or actively pursue community relocation as an adaptation strategy, presenting challenges associated with maintaining cultural and community continuity. Many Indigenous peoples are taking steps to adapt to climate change impacts structured around self-determination and traditional knowledge, and some tribes are pursuing mitigation actions through development of renewable energy on tribal lands.
Many benefits provided by ecosystems and the environment, such as clean air and water, protection from coastal flooding, wood and fiber, crop pollination, hunting and fishing, tourism, cultural identities, and more will continue to be degraded by the impacts of climate change. Increasing wildfire frequency, changes in insect and disease outbreaks, and other stressors are expected to decrease the ability of U.
Climate change has already had observable impacts on biodiversity, ecosystems, and the benefits they provide to society. These impacts include the migration of native species to new areas and the spread of invasive species. Such changes are projected to continue, and without substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions, extinctions and transformative impacts on some ecosystems cannot be avoided in the long term.
Valued aspects of regional heritage and quality of life tied to ecosystems, wildlife, and outdoor recreation will change with the climate, and as a result, future generations can expect to experience and interact with the natural environment in ways that are different from today. Adaptation strategies, including prescribed burning to reduce fuel for wildfire, creation of safe havens for important species, and control of invasive species, are being implemented to address emerging impacts of climate change.
While some targeted response actions are underway, many impacts, including losses of unique coral reef and sea ice ecosystems, can only be avoided by significantly reducing global emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Climate change presents numerous challenges to sustaining and enhancing crop productivity, livestock health, and the economic vitality of rural communities. While some regions such as the Northern Great Plains may see conditions conducive to expanded or alternative crop productivity over the next few decades, overall, yields from major U.
Increases in temperatures during the growing season in the Midwest are projected to be the largest contributing factor to declines in the productivity of U. Projected increases in extreme heat conditions are expected to lead to further heat stress for livestock, which can result in large economic losses for producers. Climate change is also expected to lead to large-scale shifts in the availability and prices of many agricultural products across the world, with corresponding impacts on U.
These changes threaten future gains in commodity crop production and put rural livelihoods at risk. Numerous adaptation strategies are available to cope with adverse impacts of climate variability and change on agricultural production. These include altering what is produced, modifying the inputs used for production, adopting new technologies, and adjusting management strategies.
However, these strategies have limits under severe climate change impacts and would require sufficient long- and short-term investment in changing practices. Infrastructure currently designed for historical climate conditions is more vulnerable to future weather extremes and climate change. In Alaska, rising temperatures and erosion are causing damage to buildings and coastal infrastructure that will be costly to repair or replace, particularly in rural areas; these impacts are expected to grow without adaptation.
Expected increases in the severity and frequency of heavy precipitation events will affect inland infrastructure in every region, including access to roads, the viability of bridges, and the safety of pipelines. Flooding from heavy rainfall, storm surge, and rising high tides is expected to compound existing issues with aging infrastructure in the Northeast.
Increased drought risk will threaten oil and gas drilling and refining, as well as electricity generation from power plants that rely on surface water for cooling. Forward-looking infrastructure design, planning, and operational measures and standards can reduce exposure and vulnerability to the impacts of climate change and reduce energy use while providing additional near-term benefits, including reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, retreating arctic sea ice, sea level rise, high-tide flooding, coastal erosion, higher storm surge, and heavier precipitation events threaten our oceans and coasts. Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Lasting damage to coastal property and infrastructure driven by sea level rise and storm surge is expected to lead to financial losses for individuals, businesses, and communities, with the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts facing above-average risks.
Impacts on coastal energy and transportation infrastructure driven by sea level rise and storm surge have the potential for cascading costs and disruptions across the country. Even if significant emissions reductions occur, many of the effects from sea level rise over this century—and particularly through mid-century—are already locked in due to historical emissions, and many communities are already dealing with the consequences. Actions to plan for and adapt to more frequent, widespread, and severe coastal flooding, such as shoreline protection and conservation of coastal ecosystems, would decrease direct losses and cascading impacts on other sectors and parts of the country.
More than half of the damages to coastal property are estimated to be avoidable through well-timed adaptation measures. Substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions would also significantly reduce projected risks to fisheries and communities that rely on them.
Climate change poses risks to seasonal and outdoor economies in communities across the United States, including impacts on economies centered around coral reef-based recreation, winter recreation, and inland water-based recreation.
In turn, this affects the well-being of the people who make their living supporting these economies, including rural, coastal, and Indigenous communities. Projected increases in wildfire smoke events are expected to impair outdoor recreational activities and visibility in wilderness areas. Declines in snow and ice cover caused by warmer winter temperatures are expected to negatively impact the winter recreation industry in the Northwest, Northern Great Plains, and the Northeast.
Fourth National Climate Assessment
Some fish, birds, and mammals are expected to shift where they live as a result of climate change, with implications for hunting, fishing, and other wildlife-related activities. Environmental Protection Agency , identifies the following criteria that policy makers should use in assessing responses to global warming: .
Adaptation can either occur in anticipation of change anticipatory adaptation , or be a response to those changes reactive adaptation. Some adaptation measures, however, are anticipating future climate change, such as the construction of the Confederation Bridge in Canada at a higher elevation to take into account the effect of future sea-level rise on ship clearance under the bridge. Much adaptation takes place in relation to short-term climate variability, however this may cause maladaptation to longer-term climatic trends.
For example, the expansion of irrigation in Egypt into the Western Sinai desert due to a period of higher river flows is a maladaptation when viewed in relation to the longer term projections of drying in the region . Adaptations at one scale can also create externalities at another by reducing the adaptive capacity of other actors.
This is often the case when broad assessments of the costs and benefits of adaptation are examined at smaller scales and it is possible to see that whilst the adaptation may benefit some actors, it has a negative effect on others. People have always adapted to climatic changes and some community coping strategies already exist, for example changing sowing times or adopting new water-saving techniques. Strengthening these local techniques and building upon them also makes it more likely that adaptation strategies will be adopted, as it creates more community ownership and involvement in the process.
Cities, states, and provinces often have considerable responsibility in land use planning, public health, and disaster management. Some have begun to take steps to adapt to threats intensified by climate change, such as flooding, bushfires, heatwaves, and rising sea levels.
Projects include: . Dealing with more frequent drenching rains may required increasing the capacity of stormwater systems, and separating stormwater from blackwater , so that overflows in peak periods do not contaminate rivers. Its efforts include not only making buildings less prone to flooding, but taking steps to reduce the future recurrence of specific problems encountered during and after the storm: weeks-long fuel shortages even in unaffected areas due to legal and transportation problems, flooded health care facilities, insurance premium increases, damage to electricity and steam generation in addition to distribution networks, and flooding of subway and roadway tunnels.
Adaptation can be defined as adjustments of a system to reduce vulnerability and to increase the resilience of a system to change,  also known as adaptive capacity. Those societies that can respond to change quickly and successfully have a high adaptive capacity. For example, the adaptive capacity in Western Europe is high, and the risks of warmer winters increasing the range of livestock diseases was well documented, but many parts of Europe were still badly affected by outbreaks of the Bluetongue virus in livestock in Adaptive capacity is the ability of a system human, natural or managed to adjust to climate change including climate variability and extremes to moderate potential damages, to take advantage of opportunities, or to cope with consequences.
It has been found that enhanced adaptive capacity would reduce vulnerability to climate change. These activities include: . Others have suggested that certain forms of gender inequity should be addressed at the same time;  for example women may have participation in decision-making, or be constrained by lower levels of education.
Researchers at the Overseas Development Institute found that development interventions to increase adaptive capacity have tended not to result in increased agency for local people. Asset holdings and the ability to convert these resources through institutional and market processes are central to agency. A significant effect of global climate change is the altering of global rainfall patterns, with certain effects on agriculture.
Many of the million poor people in the world live in parts of Asia and Africa that depend on rainfall to cultivate food crops. Climate change will modify rainfall , evaporation , runoff , and soil moisture storage. Extended drought can cause the failure of small and marginal farms with resultant economic, political and social disruption, more so than this currently occurs. Agriculture of any kind is strongly influenced by the availability of water. Changes in total seasonal precipitation or in its pattern of variability are both important.
The occurrence of moisture stress during flowering , pollination , and grain-filling is harmful to most crops and particularly so to corn , soybeans , and wheat. Increased evaporation from the soil and accelerated transpiration in the plants themselves will cause moisture stress. The demand for water for irrigation is projected to rise in a warmer climate, bringing increased competition between agriculture—already the largest consumer of water resources in semi-arid regions —and urban as well as industrial users.
Falling water tables and the resulting increase in the energy needed to pump water will make the practice of irrigation more expensive, particularly when with drier conditions more water will be required per acre. Other strategies will be needed to make the most efficient use of water resources. For example, the International Water Management Institute has suggested five strategies that could help Asia feed its growing population in light of climate change.
These are:. Russian and American scientists have in the past tried to control the weather, for example by seeding clouds with chemicals to try to produce rain when and where it is needed. A new method being developed involves replicating the urban heat island effect, where cities are slightly hotter than the countryside because they are darker and absorb more heat. The World Meteorological Organization WMO through its Commission for Atmospheric Sciences CAS opined in "Purposeful augmentation of precipitation, reduction of hail damage, dispersion of fog and other types of cloud and storm modifications by cloud seeding are developing technologies which are still striving to achieve a sound scientific foundation and which have to be adapted to enormously varied natural conditions.
Glacial lake outburst floods may become a bigger concern due to the retreat of glaciers, leaving behind numerous lakes that are impounded by often weak terminal moraine dams. In the past, the sudden failure of these dams has resulted in localized property damage, injury and deaths. Glacial lakes in danger of bursting can have their moraines replaced with concrete dams which may also provide hydroelectric power. IPCC concluded that geoengineering options, such as ocean fertilization to remove CO 2 from the atmosphere , remained largely unproven.
The Royal Society published the findings of a study into geoengineering. The authors of the study defined geoengineering as a "deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system, in order to moderate global warming". Scientists such as Ken Caldeira and Paul Crutzen  suggest techniques such as:. Migration frequently requires would-be migrants to have access to social and financial capital, such as support networks in the chosen destination, and the funds or physical resources to be able to move.
It is frequently the last adaptive response households will take when confronted with environmental factors that threaten their livelihoods, and mostly resorted to when other mechanisms to cope have proven unsuccessful. The rhetoric of migration being related to climate change is complex and disputed. However, It is widely accepted that the results of migration events are multi-causal, with the environment being just a factor amongst many.
Outside of policy, human rights organizations, expert demographers and environmental climate scientists dominate this debate. Many discussions are based on projections and less with current migration data. Some choose to label it "climate change", which reflects a more long term onset of change, and the human impact element. It is helpful to provide an intersectional approach to this discussion and understand that focusing on climate change as the issue frames the debate in terms of projections, causing the research to be speculative.
FOURTH NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT
Migration as tool for climate change adaptation is projected to be a more pressing issue in the decade to come. Migration events are often seen as a failure of the governments or policy making bodies that could not contain or effectively manage environmental changes. These adaptation failures that have been the topic of concern for many scholars researching this area. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has been viewed as one of the highest authorities to help those displaced. Insurance spreads the financial impact of flooding and other extreme weather events.
Government-subsidized insurance, such as the U. National Flood Insurance Program, is criticized for providing a perverse incentive to develop properties in hazardous areas, thereby increasing overall risk. Numerous countries, including Australia , have held inquiries into and have planned or started adaptation measures.
The state of California has also issued a document titled " California Climate Adaptation Strategy Discussion Draft" that summarizes the best known science on climate change impacts in seven specific sectors and provides recommendations on how to manage against those threats. New York State is requiring climate change be taken into account in certain infrastructure permitting, zoning, and open space programs; and is mapping sea level rise along its coast.
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In , a The bill should help the victims of extreme weather that was partly fueled by climate change . Priorities are to collaborate with the Federal States of Germany in assessing the risks of climate change, identifying action areas and defining appropriate goals and measures. In , the Federal Cabinet adopted the 'Adaptation Action Plan'  that is accompanied by other items such as research programs, adaptation assessments and systematic observations. The film explores the way in which Bangladeshi farmers are preventing their farms from flooding by building floating gardens made of water hyacinth and bamboo.
Many of the adjustments that have been made are primarily agricultural or related to water supply.
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Some of these adaptive strategies include restoration of degraded lands, rearrangement of land uses across territories, livelihood diversification, changes to sowing dates or water harvest, and even migration. Reforestation is one of the ways to stop desertification fueled by anthropogenic climate change and non sustainable land use.
One of the most important projects is the Great Green Wall that should stop the expansion of Sahara desert to the south. According to Al Gore , writing in in Earth in the Balance ,  adaptation represented a "kind of laziness, an arrogant faith in our ability to react in time to save our skins". But for every day mitigation is delayed, the need for adaptation grows," which is problematic because "adaptation is more expensive and requires bigger government than mitigation.
According to a report  released by Greenpeace USA in September , climate change denial and the campaigns designed to block adaptation measures grew mainly out of the s negotiations slated to develop a global agreement. During these talks, a number of lobby groups were established with an objective of developing doubt within policymakers and the media through the use of publications in the guise of true science. This tactic, similar to those of large tobacco companies, was utilized by the lobby groups in the hopes of delaying action and blurring the lines between the valid scientific efforts to challenge climate change findings and those designed to merely undermine the credibility of the scientific community.
This strategy feeds into the "uncertainty argument" and develops an impression of debate through references to the uncertainty of scientific findings that exist in any research model. Additional tactics that the lobbyist groups have used include releasing non-stories manufactured from stolen emails and communications plans to develop more media coverage of the uncertainty argument. A book by the Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag on 'conflict-sensitive adaptation' sheds light on unintended damaging effects of climate adaptation measures.
- Embedded Systems Circuits and Programming;
The book draws on findings from Africa and outlines how conflict-sensitive adaptation activities should look that are cognizant of the conflict-effects adaptation may have. The authors provide a "Memorandum for Action on Adaptation for Peace and Stability" that outlines principles to support processes for adaptation and peace such as the establishment of peace and conflict assessments for adaptation programmes, mainstreaming climate change adaptation in conflict-prone contexts, applying conflict sensitive approaches or provisions to ensure participatory processes to design and implement adaptation measures.
Several countries have taken a lead in climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning. Their web sites contain reports, strategies, and tools which other countries can customize to their own situation. In addition to government and United Nations reports, an extensive research literature assesses options for response to global warming. Much of this literature addresses the potential economic costs associated with different strategies.
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