Review

Transformative climate adaptation in the United States: Trends and prospects

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Science  29 Apr 2021:
eabc8054
DOI: 10.1126/science.abc8054

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Abstract

As climate change intensifies, civil society is increasingly calling for transformative adaptation that redresses drivers of climate vulnerability. We review trends in how U.S. federal government, private industry and civil society are planning for climate adaptation. We find growing divergence in their approaches and impacts. This incoherence increases maladaptive investment in climate-blind infrastructure, justice-blind reforms in financial and professional sectors, and greater societal vulnerability to climate impacts. If these actors were to proactively and deliberatively engage in transformative adaptation, they would need to address the material, relational and normative factors that hold current systems in place. Drawing on a review of transformation and collective impact literatures, we conclude with directions for research and policy engagement to support more transformative adaptation moving forward.

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