ND-GAIN connects on climate adaptation at regional conferences

Author: Joyce Coffee

              Members of the ND-GAIN team recently attended the European Climate Change Adaptation (ECCA) Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark as well as the North American National Adaptation Forum (NAF) in St. Louis, Missouri. The team members took an active role with both speaking roles as well as advising for each conference. The European Climate Change Adaptation Conference discussed a broad range of issues related to climate change and international adaptation. This conference featured ND-GAIN’s Data Scientist Dr. Martin Murillo as he presented a paper discussing adaptation in cities, specifically a quantitative evaluation of climate change vulnerability of urban and other smaller political/administrative entities. This paper allowed ND-GAIN to connect with others working in this same area, and created a variety of connections to assist in this area of work. The team also took a substantial role in the North American National Adaptation Forum as Joyce Coffee, Dr. Jessica Hellmann, and Dr. Chen Chen spoke on a variety of topics at the conference. ND-GAIN also hosted the Kresge-ND-GAIN Urban Adaptation Advisors session.  The urban adaptation assessment hopes to advance consensus around standards for adaptation measurement for cities across the U.S. The project also helped to elevate critical needs on climate actions and thereby inform decisions about infrastructure, land use, water resources management, transportation and other policy and funding issues. The ultimate goal is to inform communities so that government, corporations and people are motivated to build social, physical, and natural systems that are resilient to the impacts of climate change. At the North American National Adaptation Forum ND-GAIN’s Joyce Coffee presented on the panel “The Adaptation Blind Spot: Distant Climate Change Risks that Matter Locally” about societal teleconnections. Joyce also facilitated a session on “International Development and Climate Adaptation,” which highlighted the difference between domestic and international adaptation, and focused on ecosystem and human system vulnerability. Dr. Hellmann talked on “Public Private Partnership” to address the issues involving the partnership of the public and private sectors in the light of climate change adaptation. She also discussed “Urban Resilience Indicators in Action,” which showed the particular measurements ND-GAIN utilizes as well as how they differ from others in this field. Dr. Chen, a data analyst with ND-GAIN, discussed “Data-Driven Assessment Tool of Vulnerability and Preparedness to Climate Change Adaptation” in the Tools Café session. This showcased ND-GAIN’s Country Index as a valuable asset in this kind of research, Two key themes emerged from the conference: the first a heartening emphasis on very local community adaptation. Almost a dozen St. Louis-based community groups were at the forum to learn and celebrate their adaptation progress. The second a sobering reminder that the magnitude and time scale of climate change suggests stakeholders may not be radical enough in our actions.