EPE Week: Tracy Dyke-Redmond on Evaluating Adaptation Plans

Hello, I’m Tracy Dyke-Redmond, a Senior Associate at IEC, an environmental and economics consulting firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I work on all types of evaluation and performance measurement for EPA and other federal clients.  Recently, we have seen an uptick in interest in evaluating adaptation planning efforts to respond to the effects of climate change. As states and federal agencies ramp up their climate change adaptation efforts, they want to track their progress and understand if their efforts are successful. This is challenging, since many climate change adaptation efforts are in the early planning stages, and relatively few efforts have resulted in projects in the field.

Hot Tip:  Given the state of the science on climate change adaptation and the diversity of projects affected by climate change, agencies interested in measuring progress are more likely to focus on activities and processes, rather than outcomes. Developing ways to measure the extent to which organizations are integrating climate change considerations into existing procedures is a very important step toward understanding the state of response to climate change.

Rad Resource: The U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment is a comprehensive study ofclimate change science and impacts in the United States.  The draft report is available now and includes a chapter on Adaptation that presents an informative overview of climate change adaptation activities at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels in the United States. The report is due to be finalized in 2013.

Rad Resource: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (formerly the Pew Center on Global Climate Change) maintains information on federal and state actions on climate change adaptation, as well as market & business and international adaptation resources.

Rad Resource: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency maintains a website on climate change adaptation that describes climate impacts and adaptation efforts by region of the country and by sector.

Lesson Learned:  Climate change adaptation requires partnership across federal, state, tribal, and local jurisdictional boundaries. Coordination and information sharing is essential for making progress, particularly in these early stages of learning which adaptation strategies are appropriate and effective in difference situations.

Lesson Learned: There is considerable uncertainty about the best approaches to adaptation in any particular location or situation. As the science continues to evolve, many jurisdictions are taking a “no regrets” approach, recognizing that efforts to make communities more resilient to climate change often have other benefits such as improving readiness for all types of natural and manmade disasters and enhancing overall quality of life.

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Environmental Program Evaluation Week with our colleagues in AEA’s Environmental Program Evaluation Topical Interest Group. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from our EPE TIG members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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