Protecting urban places and populations from rising climate risk

iStock Images. View of Miami river and new developments downtown


Climate change has already produced a range of risks that confront Americans cities; even under optimistic projections for carbon dioxide emissions mitigation, these risks will continue to increase. Moreover, key choices must now be made regarding public investments in infrastructure. Ensuring that infrastructure investments help build climate change resilience is therefore an urgent necessity. This paper proposes three complementary policies for enhancing urban resilience to new climate risk. The first focuses on improving key urban infrastructure. The second addresses the urban poor, who are the most vulnerable in the face of climate change risks. The third proposal aims to reduce the cost of adaptation through better-functioning markets, and to allow prices of natural resources, energy, and coastal insurance to reflect true conditions.