76th Annual  Meeting
The U.S. Conference of Mayors
76th Annual Meeting
June 20-24, 2008
Miami

2008 ADOPTED RESOLUTIONS

CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENTS

WHEREAS, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)reports that the warming of the climate is occurring, now evident from increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level; and

WHEREAS, due to increases in greenhouse gases, temperatures are expected to rise substantially during the next few decades with an average temperature rise of 1 to 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-century; and

WHEREAS, in recent years, the United States has experienced very significant droughts, reduced snow packs, altered precipitation patterns, severe forest fires, warmer temperatures and forest diseases; and

WHEREAS, global warming will have significant consequences for the United States, causing sea-level rise that will gradually inundate coastal areas and increase both beach erosion and flooding from coastal storms, changes in precipitation patterns, increased risk of droughts and floods, stronger hurricanes, threats to bio-diversity, rapidly declining snow packs, and a number of potential challenges for public health; and

WHEREAS, many climate change strategies have initially prioritize mitigation and adaptation, where mitigation refers to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation refers to the adjustment to the impacts of global warming through reducing vulnerability to extreme weather patterns; and

WHEREAS, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)defines adaptation as the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities; and

WHEREAS, specific climate impacts are not fully predictable, climate variability and weather extremes already pose significant risks to our economy, our cities and the environment and could have severe economic and environmental impacts on the

U. S. economy, including effects on agriculture and tourism, infrastructure (including dams, roads, water and sewer), loss of coastal areas, changed fisheries and wildlife, water shortages, storm impacts, and soil erosion; and WHEREAS, the nation’s mayors recognize the need to be able to proactively respond to short-term climate change and variability such as drought, forest fires, significant precipitation events, and extreme heat events; and

WHEREAS, adaptation planning at the state and local level can begin to limit the damage caused by climate change, as well as the long-term costs of responding to climate-related impacts that are expected to grow in number and intensity; and

WHEREAS, state and local governments have immediate responsibilities for managing many of the resources and communities that are likely to be impacted by climate change;and

WHEREAS, state and local governments must have the necessary tools to manage the unavoidable impacts of climate change and to make adjustments to existing activities and practices so that vulnerability to potential impacts associated with climate change can be reduced,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to pass climate change adaptation legislation that provides incentives to state and local governments to begin exploring the growing risks from climate change, conduct climate vulnerability assessments that identify the most important climate risks for a particular area or population, identify the response options, and ways to implement them; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U.S. Conference of Mayors urges Congress to pass climate change adaptation legislation that provides assistance to state and local governments to develop climate change adaptation plans and to provide financial and technical assistance and training to state and local governments to implement those plans; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U. S. Conference of Mayor surges the Federal Government to develop a national climate change adaptation strategy to combat adverse impacts of climate change to the economy and the environment and reduce the vulnerability of the nation’s cities to the impacts of climate change and also urges the Federal Government to conduct annually national climate change vulnerability assessments; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the U. S. Conference of Mayor surges the Federal Government to develop methods and tools for studying climate change impacts on communities and integrating this information into state, regional, and local adaptation planning efforts.