Climate Preparedness

Taking practical, common sense steps to address climate change today is in the best interest of future generations. In metropolitan Washington, average annual temperature and sea level in the Potomac River have been and will continue to rise but most people are more likely to notice the increase in extreme events such as severe storms and heat waves. Changes in the number of hot and cold days may affect energy usage patterns, health (e.g., asthma), plant and animal habitats, and infrastructure (e.g., buckling of concrete roads). These changes are also affecting stormwater, drinking water, and wastewater.

Communities in the region are working together to identify and prepare for the risks ahead. A key focus of COG’s climate preparedness initiatives is to build the capacity of regional leaders to understand and address the unavoidable impacts of climate change. COG has engaged and provided training to hundreds of leaders across the region via partnerships with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC), U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), U.S. Global Change Research Program (GCRP), Smithsonian Institution, Water Environment Research Foundation, Water Research Foundation, and the Institute of Sustainable Communities. Additional information is available on the Climate Resilience Working Collaborative documents page.

Using Smart Growth Strategies to Create More Resilient Communities in the Washington, D.C., Region

EPA published this guidebook that provides an overview of general climate adaptation approaches for land use, transportation, water, and buildings that pulls most of its case studies from the region.                                         

Summary of Potential Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation Strategies in the Metropolitan Washington Region

In addition to EPA’s guidebook, COG wrote a report that is a synopsis of lessons learned during the project.

Building a Climate Resilient National Capital Region Report

NASA, NCPC, COG, GSA, GCRP, and the Smithsonian Institution brought federal, regional and local agencies in the region together to learn about climate impacts, conduct and share agency-level vulnerabilities assessments, and identify common solutions.                                                                                                     

NASA Washington Metro Area Climate Information Handout

NASA developed localized climate information and provided the initiative with crucial expertise in Earth science, institutional stewardship, and learning processes.

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