Climate Adaptation

Human actions are significantly impacting Earth's environment. Scientists have strengthened their ability to attribute certain changes, especially related to sea-level rise and extreme weather events, to global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions. The effects of climate change are more obviously beginning to influence communities around the world, and are expected to generate even more challenging consequences in the future. Even as governments and industry must work rapidly to cut emissions to prevent the worst effects of a warming climate, communities must also take actions now to begin adapting to the new realities that global warming will certainly bring. This is particularly urgent for people living in areas historically subject to extreme heat, semi-arid zones, coastal areas, small island nations, or communities that live in or near the Arctic Circle.

Our faculty and researchers deploy their expertise in natural sciences, engineering, and economics to model how global warming will influence sea level rise, coastal flooding, hurricanes, heat waves, and droughts, and the communities who experience them.

From a policy perspective, our researchers recommend policies and actions to both lessen climate change risks and also prepare for the impact that an already warming climate is having on communities.

Related News

Prosocial Preferences Produce Socially-Optimal Outcomes for Subsistence Farming Communities Amid Rising Climate Risks
Feb. 19, 2024
Written by Cara Clase, Ph.D., Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment

As climate risks continue to rise, smallholder farms are more likely to experience agricultural losses from extreme weather events such as flooding, drought, and heat waves.  These subsistence farmers use most of their crops and livestock to feed their own households and usually have few financial protections against the unforeseen costs…

Flood Risk 10 Times Higher in Many Places Within 30 Years
March 27, 2023
Written by Hannah Reynolds/Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment

Sea-level rise is causing extremely high water levels to occur more frequently, which is associated with increased risk of flooding. As the Earth continues to warm from climate change, it can be difficult to determine exactly when sea levels will rise high enough to warrant upgrades in coastal protection, in part because levels of protection…

Two Rhode Island Coastal Flood Defense Projects Provide Lessons for Making Future Infrastructure Projects More Successful
Dec. 21, 2022
Written by Keely Swan, Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment

More than ten years have passed since Hurricane Sandy exposed New York City to devastating coastal flooding. Several cost-effective flood megaprojects, including levees and storm surge barriers, have been presented to the NY-NJ region to prevent future billion-dollar disasters, but none have moved forward. Researchers studying climate…

Compounding Climate and Social Hazards Result in Different Migration Patterns around the World
Nov. 28, 2022
Written by Hannah Reynolds/Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment

Extreme drought related to climate change holds serious consequences for vulnerable communities, especially those who rely on agriculture for their livelihoods. When droughts become sustained, additional climate disasters hit, and/or existing social vulnerabilities exacerbate the impacts of drought – also known as compound events – a population…

Michael Oppenheimer Writes Chapter in Greta Thunberg’s New Book
Nov. 16, 2022
Written by Molly Seltzer, Office of Communications
Princeton climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer first came to the attention of climate activist Greta Thunberg in 2019, the year of the children’s strike that made the Swedish teenager a household name across the globe.

Thunberg’s team reached out to him after the release of an influential report on the world’s oceans that Oppenheimer…

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