finding 26.6 : key-message-26-6

Proactive adaptation in Alaska would reduce both short- and long-term costs associated with climate change, generate social and economic opportunity, and improve livelihood security (likely, high confidence). Direct engagement and partnership with communities is a vital element of adaptation in Alaska (likely, very high confidence).

This finding is from chapter 26 of Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States: The Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II.

Process for developing key messages:

The Alaska regional chapter was developed through public input via workshops and teleconferences and review of relevant literature, primarily post 2012. Formal and informal technical discussions and narrative development were conducted by the chapter lead and contributing authors via email exchanges, teleconferences, webinars, in-person meetings, and public meetings. The authors considered inputs and comments submitted by the public, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and federal agencies. The author team also engaged in targeted consultations during multiple exchanges with contributing authors, who provided additional expertise on subsets of the Traceable Account associated with each Key Message.

Description of evidence base:

Research investigating costs of adapting to projected climate changes in Alaska in the realms of public infrastructure and wildfire suppression indicates cost savings from adaptation.b7e764c8-8912-4d18-8dd3-1555ab8da1c2,df6fcad4-f0ea-4c60-97e1-ae2a40455f51 Rural Alaska communities have high reliance on subsistence food resources. Access to these resources, as well as their habitat and migration patterns, is impacted by several factors, including climate change. Adaptation is thus important for maintaining livelihood security in these communities.0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268,3941d25c-34a9-4e78-9a08-ae234db4ee0d,6d7cc16a-7168-46d1-b22b-75244d6bc079,ae8eaf7f-bb6c-4874-80fb-1e0d287c03f6 Vulnerability analyses of Alaska communities indicate adaptation as a key element to address high vulnerabilities to biophysical impacts of climate change4db14d8e-7eb2-4c27-8d52-daf0ee96f014 and ocean acidification.b18583d1-8c53-4247-a695-7b27205066f0 Rural communities in Alaska share many climatic, cultural, and ecosystem properties with rural communities across the Arctic. Research in Canada has documented the social and economic opportunities from adaptation in Northern communities.238de801-c85b-4338-86b3-21625cd28ca0,35e7f0b0-b3d0-431c-a961-fd155bf704ba

Adaptation actions to the impacts of climate change in Alaska have been transitioning from awareness and concern to education and actions.b8ad073b-11cd-4b02-809d-f992e02566b4,bcb91241-7254-4020-89e0-1a396959c618 There are a number of documents that describe climate change related research needs and actions associated with infrastructure, economics, hazards and safety, and terrestrial ecosystem impacts, as well as other concerns of rural Alaska Native communities.b6164999-c61e-45b2-8d9e-a4a25790efce,b8ad073b-11cd-4b02-809d-f992e02566b4,46337d79-86c4-4e77-bab9-724c5f44c63f,f5825cde-ec1b-41fb-ac3b-909270f96abc Adaptation actions that address these same needs have also been described in Canada and the circumpolar Arctic.b8ad073b-11cd-4b02-809d-f992e02566b4 The importance of direct engagement and partnership with communities in adaptation is emphasized throughout the literature.0a6d16f1-2362-46a1-8bfa-622dc2a43268,1610a3e0-23da-41ec-8e57-60caa0218f0c,75fcd9dc-f6c7-4bb2-afe3-a5ef9f7868d4,46337d79-86c4-4e77-bab9-724c5f44c63f,dae651c2-e81a-43ee-9300-c0a0da6cda1e,d78219a2-57ef-4fd4-813b-60bc403371c9,8e48dc9b-231c-418a-a5b4-738107390940,45440df3-2c34-452b-929d-fb9207e98161,d359d893-5f06-406c-b4ee-2486450c2ec6,93f2d441-7a0c-4b71-be6a-eada663710be,f5825cde-ec1b-41fb-ac3b-909270f96abc,e71a2e9d-2c9e-4b1d-9111-c707394a3024,5da7e146-6240-4a3c-8e8f-f1ad169fe533

Most research reports on case studies and actions that describe transparent, collaborative, and accessible information though data sharing, building of networks, and long-term partnerships with communities.46337d79-86c4-4e77-bab9-724c5f44c63f,dae651c2-e81a-43ee-9300-c0a0da6cda1e,d78219a2-57ef-4fd4-813b-60bc403371c9,d359d893-5f06-406c-b4ee-2486450c2ec6,93f2d441-7a0c-4b71-be6a-eada663710be Climate change has also been described as a risk management problem, with proposed actions that address risk and inform risk management actions being offered.6428624b-15fd-4bdf-80ca-7f3eced45f58

A number of climate adaptation guidebooks focus on Alaska and Canada, which have related adaptation challenges.f3fa0761-8412-46f5-9da4-b9b467bd8521 Universities, governments, and nongovernmental organizations produced these guidebooks for a range of audiences, including rural Alaska Native communities, local governments, and state governments. Key phases in the adaptation planning process that are consistent across the majority of the guidebooks include building partnerships and networks of stakeholders; conducting vulnerability and risk assessments; establishing priorities, options, and an implementation plan and evaluation metrics; implementing the preferred option; and conducting ongoing monitoring and adjustment of activities.f3fa0761-8412-46f5-9da4-b9b467bd8521 Guidebooks specific to Alaska Natives and Canadian Inuit and First Nations peoples emphasize the importance of community support and participation in the adaptation planning process.f3fa0761-8412-46f5-9da4-b9b467bd8521

New information and remaining uncertainties:

Little research has been conducted to track and evaluate the efficacy of implementation of existing adaptation planning in Alaska or to assess the possibilities for maladaptation. Similarly, the feedbacks and synergies are not well documented between adaptation and changes in physical, natural, and social systems. More research is needed to understand cross-sector and cumulative impacts and how they can best be addressed in an all-inclusive manner.b8ad073b-11cd-4b02-809d-f992e02566b4

Assessment of confidence based on evidence:

There is high confidence that proactive adaptation can reduce costs, generate social and economic opportunity, and improve livelihood security. It is likely and there is high confidence that proactive adaptation will be affected by external factors, such as global markets that are beyond the control of the organization or institution implementing the adaptations.

It is likely and there is very high confidence that direct engagement and partnership with communities will be a critical element of adaptation success, as this has strong evidence and high consensus in the literature; however, there are a limited number of publications that document this partnership model in Alaska.

References :

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