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Don't Let Congress Undermine Effective Climate Adaptation Planning

by Missy Stults, Climate Programs Director, ICLEI USA Jun 20, 2011

Capital in Washington, D.C.

Climate adaptation planning efforts just took a hit at the federal level, and the move may put local communities at risk. We’re letting our local government members know so that you’re aware of how this could affect federal leadership to support local action. Luckily, there is still time to take action, if you’re moved to speak out.

On June 3, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a rider on the fiscal 2012 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spending bill that would prohibit DHS (and by extension, FEMA) from participating in the administration’s Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force. The Task Force is working to ensure that federal agencies factor climate adaptation into their planning, that their efforts are aligned to respond to climate impacts, and that they build partnerships and strategies with local, state, and tribal decision makers.

In essence, this action, if it moves forward legislatively, could hamper DHS's ability to effectively plan for climate impacts. One of the rationales presented was that DHS should be focusing its spending on issues of national security and not climate change. However, Congress should understand that DHS, as the parent agency to FEMA, acts as one of the front lines for disaster prevention, relief and recovery and thus preparing for the inevitable (and current) impacts of climate change is a crucial aspect of its mandate.

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Four Emerging Themes From Resilient Cities 2011

by Missy Stults, ICLEI USA Climate Director Jun 19, 2011

resilient cities 2011 photo

ICLEI Global President David Cadman addresses the audience at Resilient Cities 2011.

The field of climate adaptation is evolving fast. That much is clear after ICLEI's Resilient Cities 2011 congress, held earlier this month in Bonn, Germany. Local leaders from around the world gathered to share solutions and challenges on how to prepare for climate impacts, and from fruitful discussions came four key themes that ICLEI and local governments must navigate:

  • Financing adaptation
  • Adaptation-conducive governance models
  • From adaptation to resilience
  • Stakeholder engagement


Financing Adaptation

A major theme of this year’s Congress was financing climate adaptation. How will cities of the world get the funding they need to build local resilience toward climate change? The crux of this discussion centered around the fact that roughly $100 billion dollars has been pledged toward adaptation work in the next few decades. However, $100 trillion dollars is projected to be invested in cities by development agencies, private sector businesses, and others.

This disparity in funding (roughly 1/1,000) indicates a clear need to devise innovative models to get at the investment dollars going in to cities, as opposed to just the adaptation dollars. A fascinating report, Financing the Resilient City, authored by ICLEI’s founder Jeb Brugmanm, further explores this point.

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Franklin, TN, and South Miami, FL, to Hit ENERGY STAR Boot Camp

by Cyrus Bhedwar, ICLEI USA Southeast Regional Director Jun 19, 2011


On Monday, two ICLEI members, Franklin, TN and South Miami FL were selected to participate in ICLEI’s ENERGY STAR Boot Camp, a training designed to enable small and medium sized communities to track their energy and water usage using ENERGY STAR’S Portfolio Manager. The four month program will provide both group-based training and individual, customized support to enable each of these communities to enter their facility and energy use data into Portfolio Manager.

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Review Our Commercial Building Policy Materials and Win a Kindle

by Ryan Foshee, ICLEI Senior Program Officer Jun 19, 2011


Kindle e-reader from Amazon

ICLEI USA and project partner, the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT), are developing a toolkit to assist local governments in achieving energy efficiency and conservation in the commercial sector. The cornerstone of the toolkit is 11 fact sheets on different local strategies to reduce emissions in the commercial sector. Help us review these documents and we’ll enter your name to win a Kindle e-reader!

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Martin Chavez on What Makes a City Smart and Sustainable

by Don Knapp Jun 16, 2011

marty planet forward june 2011

ICLEI USA Executive Director Martin Chavez sat down with Planet Forward host Frank Sesno and talked about smart cities and sustainability. Watch the video (click the image to go to Planet Forward) to hear Marty's thoughts on what makes a city smart, why sustainability initiatives are becoming so common in communities across the country -- and his four specific suggestions for how cities can become more sustainable.

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Mayor Hays Explains Climate Impacts in Arkansas

by Don Knapp Jun 16, 2011

mayor hays interview at resilient cities 2011

Climate change is bringing dangerous impacts to Arkansas, says ICLEI USA President and Board Chair Mayor Patrick Henry Hays of North Little Rock. Mayor Hays was interviewed at ICLEI's Resilient Cities 2011 conference in Bonn, Germany, where he explained how climate change had brought more severe and destructive weather in the region. He outlines how Arkansas communities are preparing and must do more to prepare. Click the photo to watch the video.

Is your community preparing for climate impacts? Learn more about how ICLEI's Climate Resilient Communities Program can help.

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Weathering Change: Water, Climate Resilience, and Federal Policy

by American Rivers Jun 15, 2011

Weathering Change Report Cover













From American Rivers:

Climate change is fundamentally altering where and when water is available, and federal policy must adapt to this new reality. A new report from American Rivers, Weathering Change: 
Policy Reforms that Cost Less and Make Communities Safer, analyzes ten areas of federal policy and examines how existing laws and regulations promote or fail to promote resilience to a more volatile and uncertain climate. The report provides a policy roadmap for reforming existing policies and practices that make people and wildlife more vulnerable to floods, droughts, and other effects of climate change. These reforms will improve the reliability of water supplies, save money, benefit the environment, and provide communities with more flexibility to respond to climate change in the future. To view the report, please visit:

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Materials Management and Climate Change Toolkit

by Ashley Zanolli, EPA Region 10 Jun 15, 2011

Product Lifecycle Chart

You already know that reducing, reusing, and recycling are important actions to reduce your community’s environmental footprint.  But did you know the material sector is responsible for approximately 42% of domestic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?  Extracting resources, processing materials, manufacturing, and transporting goods and food contribute significantly to climate change.  Luckily reducing this impact is within your control.  The new Materials Management and Climate Change Toolkit, from the West Coast Climate and Materials Management Forum, provides resources to integrate material conservation into your community GHG inventory and climate action planning.  You can make significant climate actions in this little known field.

>> View the Toolkit

Many local and state governments have taken climate mitigation into their own hands by setting impressive goals for reducing emissions from transportation, industry, and the built environment.  While this is an inspiring development in climate action, these inventories and strategies do not account for the enormous upstream emissions attributable to goods and food.  We are excited to share this comprehensive resource with you as you map out how to incorporate material conservation into your climate strategies.

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New ICLEI Report: Financing the Resilient City

by Don Knapp Jun 07, 2011

resilient city financing diagram

The elements of a `Resilience Upgrade` project. 

financing the resilient city report cover thumbICLEI's Resilient Cities 2011 Congress raised key questions: How can local governments sustainably finance resilience to climate change? Where does the money come from? How can the money be spent effectively?

The beginning answers to these questions are found in a new ICLEI Global report, Financing the Resilient City, released during the Congress and authored by Jeb Brugmann, ICLEI's founding Secretary General and Managing Partner of The Next Practice Ltd.

The report argues that we need a bottom-up approach to funding resilience and adaptation to climate change. It also supports the idea of resilience as a coherent approach to future urban planning.

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ICLEI and C40 Partner to Set Global Standard on Measuring GHGs

by Don Knapp Jun 06, 2011

bloomberg cadman iclei c40 announcement

ICLEI Global President David Cadman and C40 Chair and New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg announce a new partnership to benefit local governments.

By late fall 2011, ICLEI and the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group aim to release a single international standard for how to measure greenhouse gas emissions at the community level. Last week the two organizations announced their landmark partnership at the C40 Cities Mayors Summit in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and it should be welcome news for ICLEI’s U.S. local government members that have worked with us to help pioneer greenhouse gas protocols.

A uniform measuring stick will only strengthen the work of local governments worldwide to mitigate climate change. It will allow all local governments to more accurately and consistently monitor their emissions reduction progress, and will provide standard guidance as local governments pursue environmental review, inventory verification, and other relevant policy making processes in their day-to-day operations. Right now local governments in different parts of the world are using inconsistent, competing methodologies to calculate their emissions from various sources (power generation, transportation, etc.), which makes it difficult for local governments to benchmark their progress.

“Establishing a single global standard for reporting greenhouse gas emissions will empower local governments to accelerate their actions and access funding for mitigation and adaptation projects,” said C40 Chair, New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “This will enable new efficiencies and create a level playing field for comparing emissions across cities around the world.”


U.S. Local Governments Pave the Way

What will the new international protocol mean for U.S. local governments? It shouldn’t affect ICLEI USA’s Local Government Operations Protocol, but will bring modest changes to ICLEI’s International Emissions Analysis Protocol (IEAP), the umbrella protocol for the forthcoming U.S. Community-Scale GHG Emissions Accounting and Reporting Protocol. The Community Protocol will become the U.S. supplement to the new international standard, and will contain more specific detail than its parent protocol on things like calculation methodologies, data sources, and emissions factors.

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