Urban Climate Adaptation Hampered by Fiscal Restraints, Survey Finds

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Cities worldwide are increasingly aware of the need to prepare for the effects of climate change — including increased variability in temperatures and extreme weather events — but are often hampered by limited financial resources and political commitment, according to a new survey by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In a survey of 468 cities worldwide, including 298 in the U.S., researchers found that about 68 percent of cities are pursuing adaptation planning in the face of climate changes that include increased stormwater runoff, a jump in electricity demand, and loss of natural ecosystems.

Cities in Latin America and Canada have the highest percentage of planning — 95 and 92 percent respectively— while the U.S. has the lowest, at 59 percent. According to the survey, 95 percent of U.S. cities reported that funding is a challenge, and 36 percent said the federal government does not understand the challenges they are facing.

“Lack of resources and limited appreciation by local officials and national governments makes it difficult for cities to make significant gains in adaptation,” the report says. The survey was conducted in partnership with the ICLEI–Local Governments for Sustainability.

Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.

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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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