Developing and Using Vulnerability Assessments

September 20, 2017

Speaker 1: Kirstin Dow, University of South Carolina

"Vulnerability, Consequences, and Adaptation Planning Scenarios"

Planning for climate change poses a significant challenge for coastal managers and communities. They must understand and anticipate how diverse stresses may interact to produce impacts and how vulnerabilities and impacts can be mitigated via short-term adjustments and longer-term adaptations at detailed level of their community. Adaptation and hazard mitigation efforts are enhanced by the generation of realistic scenarios and models that produce knowledge, inform decision-making, and build community acceptance. This paper introduces the “Vulnerability and Consequences Adaptation Planning Scenarios” (VCAPS), a mediated modeling approach applied in over 15 communities.  VCAPS is designed to integrate scientific with local knowledge to help coastal managers and community members understand how climate change stressors may influence their local management challenges and how these impacts and vulnerabilities might be mitigated via public and private actions.  The methodology is based on participatory, analytic, and deliberative processes, and other experiences with social learning – an approach that is widely used in risk-based management.  This presentation will introduce the framework, comment on findings from evaluation at various communities, and challenges for understanding and evaluating social learning.

Speaker 2: Jenna Jorns, University of Michigan

"The Climate-Ready Infrastructure and Strategic Sites Protocol"

The Climate-Ready Infrastructure and Strategic Sites Protocol (CRISSP) is a municipal adaptation tool developed to address two challenges that small and mid-sized municipalities face: 1) the lack of reliable data on anticipated weather changes due to climate change; and 2) limited municipal financial and staff resources to devote to identifying and assessing vulnerability. The CRISSP provides a simplified, expedited method to evaluate and address vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather of critical infrastructure and strategic sites in your municipality, using existing internal and external resources. The CRISSP was jointly developed by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative, AECOM, and the City of Gary (Indiana), with technical and financial support from the Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments (GLISA). While created for the Great Lakes region, the CRISSP methodology and matrix can be applied anywhere. The Cities Initiative and GLISA have shared and promoted CRISSP among their networks and are exploring distributing the tool with like-minded climate and municipal organizations, like the Urban Sustainability Directors Network.

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Americans’ health, security and economic wellbeing are tied to climate and weather. Every day, we see communities grappling with environmental challenges due to unusual or extreme events related to climate and weather. In 2017, the United States experienced a record-tying 16 climate- and weather-related disasters where overall costs reached or exceeded $1 billion. Combined, these events claimed 362 lives, and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted, costing more than $306 billion. Businesses, policy leaders, resource managers and citizens are increasingly asking for information to help them address such challenges.


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