Climate Change Impacts & Adaptation

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Climate change is increasingly recognized as a threat to the U.S. national security and international stability and there is a growing understanding of the importance to build resilience to climate-sensitive hazards while simultaneously minimizing the population impacts of climate change. The frequency, duration or likelihood of some disasters such as heat waves, droughts and hurricanes, as well as the likelihood for mega disasters may increase under a changing climate. Thus, NCDP is incorporating assessments of climate-specific impacts and vulnerabilities in its work on planning for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. NCDP has a special focus on climate adaptation research with direct relevance to policy and practice.

NCDP’s pioneering work in the area of disaster and mega disaster preparedness with focus on children and other vulnerable populations, as well as the center’s highly developed training and education capabilities serve as an excellent foundation for expanding the center’s work into the climate change adaptation field.

We approach this work from a disaster research paradigm, utilizing environmental epidemiology methods as well as climate information and projections to characterize health impacts and applying the preparedness, response and recovery principles to various case studies and scenarios.  We focus on research that has solid practical and policy applications, particularly for improving community risk communication and awareness, as well as disaster resilience at local, national and international level. Our work includes research on characterizing the health impacts of climate change-sensitive disasters, climate change risk communication and education, as well as informing policy related to climate adaptation and preparedness.

There has never been a more critical time to work towards improving adaptation to climate-sensitive disasters by applying lessons learned from past events to the way we prepare, respond, and recover from future disasters. With the adoption of the historic global climate deal by 195 countries at the Paris climate conference (COP 21), our work in this areas is of growing importance for generating much needed knowledge and informing policy.

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