Climate Adaptation Planning

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 East Cliff Dr Tidal Surge  1955 Santa Cruz Flood  Boardwalk Tidal Surge

Mitigation vs. Adaptation

Climate mitigation is any action taken to permanently eliminate or reduce the long-term risk and hazards of climate change to human life and property such as reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.

Climate adaptation is defined by the IPCC* as the, “...adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment. Adaptation to climate change refers to adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities." Climate Changing

*International Panel on Climate Change

Motivated by community values, the City of Santa Cruz has built a reputation as a leader in sustainability efforts. The City recognized the potential threat of climate change over five years ago and specifically identified impacts of global warming as a threat to the community in the 2007 LHMP (Action Item #C7 GLOBAL WARMING POLICES) and is taking steps to mitigate this threat through development of a Climate Adaptation Plan as well as a Climate Action Plan. Using the best available climate science this plan will assist in building resilience into programs, policies and infrastructure; protecting and preserving the City’s economic prosperity, social and cultural diversity, scenic beauty and natural resources for today’s and tomorrow’s community members.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding for pre-disaster mitigation is dependent on the adoption of a FEMA approved Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP). The City’s LHMP 2007 identified one of the actions as preparing for the threats from climate change. This Climate Adaptation plan is an update to the LHMP and is consistent with the City General Plan 2030.

The first step in developing a climate adaptation plan is identifying potential risks. The Climate Adaptation Team collaborated with University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) scientists, Gary Griggs and Brent Haddad, on a Vulnerability Study to provide a basic understanding of the community’s vulnerabilities to the impacts of climate change. This Vulnerability Study was the basis for development of a range of potential goals, objectives and actions that will build adaptive capacity into policies, programs and infrastructure. The Plan will provide a framework to continually expand our understanding of climate science, community vulnerabilities and new adaptation technologies to inform current and future decisions. This is not a static plan but provides the opportunity to view all decisions through a climate lens insuring a more sustainable and resilient community.

Submit Comments or Questions

Robert Solick, Emergency Operations Center Manager  Phone: 831-420-5167 email



Links and Resources

 Final Draft Climate Adaptation Plan  Final Draft Climate Adaptation Plan
 Author Biographies  Vulnerability Study Authors
Climate Adaptation Planning Presentation  Introduction to Climate Change Planning Presentation

Santa Cruz Map of Predicted Sea Level Rise

 Large 3.4 MB [PDF]
City of Santa Cruz General Plan Update  City General Plan 2030
City of Santa Cruz 2007 LHMP  Local Hazard Mitigation Plan
CAL-ADAPT  Cal-Adapt Climate Change Visualization Tools
FEMA  Federal Emergency Management Agency
CAL-EMA  California Emergency Management Agency
NOAA  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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