Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Climate change adaptation

Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia has opened the country's first academic institution focusing on climate change adaptation. The hope is that by locating in a city that's very exposed to climate change risks, the institute will have opportunities to work with government and economic stakeholders free of political strife.

A core mantra of climate change adaptation is competition between places: if certain regions or cities are struggling with costs associated with climate change, labor and capital will naturally flow away to find safer harbor (so to speak). Norfolk is betting that investing now in resilience strategies will pay off in the future by reducing the costs of adaptation. Preemptively measuring the effectiveness of various interventions may be possible by comparing things like insurance premiums along coastal cities, although the massive Navy base (and the implicit government guarantee it represents) could pose a methodological problem.

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