City to Prioritize Preparations for Climate Change Impacts by Participating in New National Adaptation Program


11/17/2010

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Cambridge, Nov. 17, 2010—Today the City of Cambridge announced a new commitment to protecting its community from climate change impacts, by being one of the first cities in the nation to take part as an inaugural community in the Climate Resilient Communities (CRC) program, the first comprehensive climate adaptation program for local governments, developed by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA. Cambridge was selected by ICLEI USA to be one of eight “Inaugural Adaptation Communities” that will be the first to receive its cutting-edge online tools, technical support and other resources.

Through this support, Cambridge will accelerate its efforts to prepare for climate change impacts that are already affecting the region and, according to the latest scientific reports, are expected to intensify in coming decades. These include the following:

  • more frequent heat waves that put the elderly, young, and disadvantaged at risk
  • severe storms that damage infrastructure and private property
  • sea level rise that heightens the risk of damage to property and assets from storm surge flooding
  • increased smog and air pollution that exacerbate respiratory illnesses and other medical conditions
  • introduction of new diseases and disease carriers brought by changes in temperature and precipitation.

 “Climate change is not a distant problem, but a threat that is here and now,” said City Manager Roger W. Healy. “We have a responsibility to protect our community’s assets, infrastructure and natural resources, and to keep our community members safe and healthy. While the City remains committed to continuing its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by beginning our planning and preparation now through ICLEI USA’s program, we’re taking smart steps to safeguard our future and minimize the costs of adaptation.”

Using ICLEI USA’s resources, including its online Adaptation and Database Planning Tool (ADAPT) the City will conduct a thorough assessment of its current and projected vulnerabilities to climate change impacts, set climate resiliency goals, and develop a plan with a range of adaptation strategies, which may include strengthening infrastructure, planting more vegetation to counteract the urban heat island effect and helping individual households to protect against flooding and manage heat waves.

The City of Cambridge joins seven other cities and counties selected by ICLEI USA as Inaugural Adaptation Communities for their leadership, innovation, and commitment to climate protection. These include:

  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Grand Rapids, Michigan
  • Lee County, Florida
  • Miami-Dade County, Florida
  • San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC)
  • Tucson, Arizona

Cambridge’s climate leadership among local governments is confirmed by its foresight and wise commitment to preparing now for climate change impacts,” said Martin Chavez, former three-term mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Executive Director of ICLEI USA, the nation’s leading nonprofit membership organization of local governments committed to climate protection, clean energy, and sustainability. “For more than five years, local governments have expressed an urgent need for resources and guidance to help them prepare for the unavoidable impacts of climate change. ICLEI USA is proud to finally release these resources to the City of Cambridge and all our members.”

To learn more about climate change impacts and how communities can respond, visit www.icleiusa.org/adaptation.

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