Preparing for Possible Consequences

GLOBAL WARMING PREPAREDNESS

Government can reduce future greenhouse gas emissions to perhaps reduce future warming (called “mitigation” efforts), and government can take steps to prepare for possible effects of global warming, the latter being called “adaptation.”

Government agencies and officials at all levels have been developing adaptation plans. Understandably, these preparations are most notable in the coastal communities, where rising sea levels present a more imminent threat to residents.

A survey in March of 2013 explored attitudes toward adaptation with a focus on coastal sea level rise and storms.

THE TIME IS NOW

Survey results indicated that people did not want to take a wait-and-see approach . In 2013, a huge majority of Americans preferred preparing for global warming impacts now (83%) to waiting to deal with those effects when they happen (16%).

FavorPrep


Data collected in March 2013. Question wording can be found here.

DEFENDING THE COASTLINES

More specifically, Americans in 2013 favored adaptive strategies at various levels, some gaining majority support and others not:

  • improving building standards for coastal development (62%)
  • limiting new development in flood and inundation zones (51%)
  • building sand dunes as a means of coastal protection (49%)
  • curtailing rebuilding of damaged structures (47%)

The fewest people supported strategies involving sand replenishment on eroded beaches, building seawalls to protect coastal structures and purchasing beachfront property to induce retreat (favored by 33%, 33%, and 37%, respectively).

The results are summarized in the figure below.

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Data collected in March 2013. Question wording can be found here.

ADAPTATION AND THE ECONOMY

Some critics have voiced concerns about the cost of instituting adaptation plans.  But as shown below, a plurality of people in 2013 said preparing for the consequences of global warming will help the economy (42%), and a majority thought it will cause there to be more jobs (65%).

Slide13


Data collected in March 2013. Question wording can be found here.

WHO PAYS?

When asked whether the U.S. government or affected people and businesses should pay for adaptation policy implementation, 38% of the American public believed that the U.S. government should pay, while 60% thought that the affected individuals and businesses should.

Slide14


Data collected in March 2013. Question wording can be found here.

An overwhelming majority of Americans believed that various adaptation policies for coastal areas under threat from global warming should be financed by increasing taxes on coastal residents rather than on the general population. As shown in the chart below, around 80% of Americans held this belief.

Slide15


Data collected in March 2013. Question wording can be found here.

Related webpages:
See story written by Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute, about the survey findings here.
See story written by Rob Jordan, Stanford Woods Institute, about policy implications here

Related documents:
Climate-Adaptation-Results-TOPLINE
Adaptation-News-Release
Adaptation-National-Press-Club-2013
Climate_Survey_Exec_Summ_CA
Climate_Survey_Exec_Summ_US