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Climate Resilience and Hazard Mitigation

An effective response to climate change requires urgent action at the local, national, and international levels. In 2018, 14 major disasters in the United States, including hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires, resulted in over $91 billion dollars in damages and cost 247 lives. The 2018 U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on Global Warming of 1.5°C warns of increasing risk of such impacts due to climate change - drought, floods, extreme heat; inundated coastlines; significant impacts on agriculture-dependent communities; and total loss of critical habitats like coral reefs – over the short-term.

Because of where and how we have developed, and where we continue to build in many communities, these events put many people in harm’s way and result in increasing damage and costs for communities at risk of flooding, wildfires, and other disasters. According to a recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists, in the U.S. as many as 311,000 coastal homes with a collective market value of about $117.5 billion will be at risk of chronic flooding over the next 30 years. That number jumps to 2.4 million homes and $912 billion by the end of the century. Similarly, increasing development in the urban-wildland interface has left many neighborhoods at risk to increasingly common wildfires. Water scarcity, which already stresses arid regions around the world, is expected to negatively affect agricultural production and drinking water availability as droughts intensify.

ELI is working with partners around the world to develop legal, policy, and institutional solutions to address the impacts of climate change and create more resilient communities and ecosystems. We are working in four main areas: