Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Preparedness Planning in Cambridge, MA by Susanne Rasmussen Director of Environmental &Transporta9on Planning City of Cambridge at Massachuse@s Sustainable Communi9es Conference Worcester, MA April 24, 2013
§ Popula9on: 105,162 (2010) § Area: 6.26 square miles § Employment: 111,447 (2008) § Mixed-‐use, high-‐density About Cambridge, MA § Signiﬁcant buildings and infrastructure near Charles River and Alewife Brook § Neighborhoods on ﬁlled land
How Cambridge Got Started 1990 Recycling Ordinance, curbside recycling begins; Environment Program established 1992 Vehicle Trip Reduc9on Ordinance directs city toward emphasis on non-‐automobile transport 1995 Parking & Transporta9on Demand Management Ordinance 1999 Cambridge joins ICLEI-‐Local Governments for Sustainability & conducts GHG emissions inventory
§ Climate Ac9on Plan adopted by City Council late 2002 § Focus on mi9ga9on § Climate Protec9on Advisory Commi@ee , represen9ng residents, business and universi9es, recommends adding adap9on focus in 2010 Mi=ga=on vs Adap=on?
Key Recommenda=ons • Some degree of climate change is unavoidable • Cambridge is vulnerable to sea level rise and storm surge ﬂooding • Climate change can cause a wide range of public health impacts • Impacts to water supply, food supply, energy system reliability, surface water quality, and transporta9on are expected • Physical impacts can lead to social and economic impacts • It is important to start planning now
Star=ng the Process • Funding included in FY13 budget for vulnerability assessment and adapta9on plan • RFP process to ﬁnd consultant team with exper9se in climate change modeling and impact analysis • Kleinfelder, Cambridge-‐based engineering ﬁrm with addi9onal experts in scenario development, risk modeling, public health, economic impacts and stakeholder engagement
1. Vulnerability Assessment (2012-‐2013) • Provide technical and scien9ﬁc informa9on for assessing risk and vulnerability • Iden9fy priority planning areas • Establish stakeholder engagement processes 2. Preparedness Planning (2014-‐2015) • Iden9fy measures to prepare for changes likely to occur from climate change • Adopt implementa9on measures Two stage process
Vulnerability Assessment Process 1. Climate Scenarios 2. Impact analyses • Infrastructure and buildings • Public health • Economic • Urban forest 3. Vulnerability analysis 4. Risk assessment 5. Priority preparedness planning areas
Sensi=vity • Sensi9vity = Degree to which a built, natural, or human system is directly or indirectly aﬀected by changes in climate condi9ons or speciﬁc climate change impacts. • Example: A building without air condi9oning and housing elderly residents is highly sensi9ve to increased temperatures.
Adap=ve Capacity • Adap9ve Capacity = The degree of built, natural, or human systems to accommodate changes in climate with minimal poten9al damage or cost, or to take advantage of opportuni9es presented by climate change. • Example: Electrical systems ﬁ@ed with equipment that is salt resistance have higher adap9ve capacity in terms of responding to ﬂooding from the ocean.
6 members, climate experts from Harvard, MIT and BU • Small, highly technical mee9ngs • Key responsibili9es • Review technical approach by project team and give guidance/input on scenario development, modeling • Lend credibility to study, basis for preparedness plan • LOTS of feedback already on: • Uncertainty of climate models and the challenges in downscaling an9cipated impacts • Value of building on lessons from elsewhere, for example Hurricane Sandy, and use of “war gaming” Expert Advisory Panel
• 16 members represen9ng key stakeholder groups (agencies, ins9tu9ons, businesses, residents, etc.) • These mee9ngs will be somewhat technical • Key responsibili9es • To learn about the project • To share informa9on with technical team • To act as liaisons to their organiza9ons and agencies • Also engaging with the City of Boston, e.g. Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s 25-‐year asset management plan Technical Advisory CommiRee
• 3 Public Workshops (evenings or weekends) • Intent is to get 50-‐100 people to a@end, seeking wide par9cipa9on through many outreach strategies • Designed so people can talk to each other • Key expecta9ons: • Provide input, local knowledge • Share perspec9ves on early work • Act as liaisons into the community about the project • Hurricane Sandy greatly increased the public’s interest in preparedness planning Public Workshops
• A@ending mee9ngs of neighborhood, business and interest groups • Project website, listserv • Focus groups as needed • Surveys • CHALLENGES: • High degree of uncertainty • Poten9al impact are scary • But, not happening right now • Need to learn how to engage public as we go along Other Engagement Strategies
Q & A • For more informa9on: h@p://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/Projects/Climate/climatechangeresilianceandadapta9on.aspx 20