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Climate Change a Priority for Region

Climate Change a Priority for Region

Benjamin McFarlane, bmcfarlane@hrpdcva.gov

Physical & Environmental Planner

HRPDC Physical and Environmental Planning staff continues to work on the three-year study of the impacts of climate change on Hampton Roads. The Commission approved the year one report for distribution in April. The report is available on the HRPDC website at http://www.hrpdcva.gov/Documents/Phys%20Planning/2010/Climate_Change_Final_Report_All.pdfPDF File. Print copies are available for viewing in the HRPDC library.

At its retreat in February, the Commission directed HRPDC staff to continue its focus on climate change. Staff is now researching the regional impacts outlined in the report in more detail while focusing on specific sector impacts. Staff is building on the first year’s report by analyzing current and potential vulnerabilities of population, housing, and infrastructure to storm surge and sea level rise. This research will provide a solid basis for the next step, which will be identifying potential options for adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts to built and natural environments. Identifying vulnerabilities where they exist will reveal what kinds of adaptation options are possible.

In addition to research and analysis, HRPDC staff will continue to reach out and engage local governments, non-governmental organizations, and the public concerning climate change. HRPDC staff members, Eric Walberg and Benjamin McFarlane, along with the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s Laura Grape, gave a session on regional planning efforts for climate change at the American Planning Association-Virginia Chapter’s annual conference in May. Presentations have also been given in recent months to city councils and citizen groups.

Over the next few months HRPDC staff will complete much of the research into existing vulnerabilities and begin researching adaptation and mitigation options. Staff will also begin assembling an outside working group to help guide research and help critique policy options and develop policy recommendations. This group will work closely with HRPDC staff over the next two years of the project.