Climate change has already produced a range of risks that confront Americans cities; even under optimistic projections for carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions mitigation, these risks will continue to increase. Climate-related challenges will put stress on existing infrastructure, requiring urban areas in particular to adapt. Public officials must now make key choices in infrastructure investments to help build climate change resilience.
This paper proposes three complementary policies for enhancing urban resilience to new climate risk. The first focuses on improving key infrastructure resilience. The second addresses the urban poor, who are the most vulnerable to 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.