Worldwide scientific consensus has shown that human activities are disrupting the climate system. We are now undergoing a period of rapid change: warming temperatures, rising seas, catastrophic wildfires, and water shortages will increasingly threaten functioning ecosystems as well as human communities over the coming century. These changes are likely to exacerbate existing stresses like habitat fragmentation, putting additional pressure on our nation’s fish, wildlife, and plants.
What is Climate Change Adaptation?
Climate change adaptation is the emerging discipline based on helping people and natural systems prepare for and cope with the effects of a changing climate.
Adaptation is critical because reducing the causes of climate change is not enough: we are committed to a certain amount of warming even with emission reductions. Adaptation planning is intended to reduce the negative effects of climate change on people and natural systems while helping communities, managers, and the public understand and prepare for coming changes.
Here in the United States, climate adaptation planning is well underway at many levels of government, from local projects to restore coastal wetlands and build resilience, to state-level adaptation plans, to federal efforts to coordinate adaptation strategies across agencies and departments.
Visit the links at left to learn more about how climate change is affecting species and natural resources in the United States, explore ongoing adaptation planning efforts at the federal, state, and local level, and to check out additional links, resources, and publications.