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Significance and Use
4.1 The Use of this Standard Guide—This guide addresses issues related solely to adaptation strategies and development of a plan to address extreme weather and related physical changes. This guide does not include specific guidance on risk assessment, however references are provided in . The matrix approach does reflect general risks for certain regions of the country, based upon the frequency of extreme weather and/or conditions such as fires, floods, storms, drought, and extreme temperatures. Adaptation strategies and planning may consist of a wide variety of actions by an individual, community, or organization to prepare for, or respond to, the impacts of extreme weather.
4.1.1 This guide does not address causes of extreme weather.
4.1.2 This guide addresses adjustment strategies and planning that a group of people or ecosystems make to limit negative effects of extreme weather. It also addresses taking advantage of opportunities that long term extreme weather patterns may present.
4.2 Example Users:
4.2.1 Small businesses or enterprises;
4.2.2 Service industries;
4.2.3 Federal, state or municipal facilities and regulators, including departments of health and fire departments;
4.2.4 Financial and insurance institutions;
4.2.5 Public works staff, including water system, stormwater system, wastewater system, solid waste, and other utilities (electrical, telephone, gas, et al) and other waste managers, including liquid and solid waste haulers, treatment, recycling, disposal and transfer;
4.2.6 Consultants, auditors, state, municipal and private inspectors and compliance assistance personnel;
4.2.7 Educational facilities;
4.2.8 Property, buildings and grounds management, including landscaping;
4.2.9 Non-regulatory government agencies, such as the military;
4.2.10 Wildlife management entities including government, tribal and NGOs.
4.3 This guide is a first step in crafting simplified goals for managing and communicating risks. The framework describes a process by which the user may categorize current climate risks and a priority approach to manage those risks. The technique classifies common responses for both mitigation and adaptation. The guide groups responses and examples into regions based on experience in responding to risks. The regional classifications found in this guide reflect the general structures of State, Federal and local response programs. These authorities generally classify groups of similar responses according to the timely availability and cost effectiveness of responses.
4.3.1 Adaptation strategies and planning may include actions by individuals and communities, for example, from reduced tree clearing for an individual lot, to a farmer planting more drought-resistant crops, or to a municipality protecting riparian and floodplain standards and buffers or ensuring that new coastal infrastructure can accommodate future sea level rise. However, building resilience across communities will require action at all levels; individual, business, town, county, state, and federal.
4.3.2 Some municipalities, for example Boston, Miami Beach, and Baltimore, corporate entities, and organizations have already begun taking action toward defining adaptation strategies and planning for extreme weather.
4.3.3 In an increasingly interdependent world, negative effects of extreme weather on one population or economic sector may have repercussions around the world. These effects have repercussions on populations and settlements in neighboring areas, within countries, or across the globe. They include economic disruption to productivity and the supply-chain, impacts to energy production and cascading impacts to users.
4.3.4 Many ecosystems will also be affected by extreme weather challenges and opportunities. Some species may be able to migrate or change their behavior to accommodate changes in the weather. Other species may decline or become extinct. Some species may increase in numbers. Managers of natural resources may anticipate some of the impacts of extreme weather on ecosystems. This offers one avenue in beginning to develop management programs that may help ecosystems adapt.
4.3.5 There are limits to the ability of human systems to adapt. For example, the relocation of cities and various communities or infrastructure may not be feasible in many locations, especially in a short period of time. Implementation timeframes could take 20, 50 and 100 years or longer.
4.3.6 Those communities or sections of communities that are most vulnerable, such as locations where the poor, disengaged, elderly or those in ill health live, are at greatest risk. Extreme weather may exacerbate existing issues. Addressing underlying issues that make communities or systems vulnerable will increase their resilience and support adaptation efforts.
4.3.7 The user should consider the most effective scale of adaptation, for example, site, town, catchment, watershed, City, State, or regional level. The scale will impact the relative direct and indirect costs and benefits of a solution. The guide may help users understand the most effective scale of adaptation and the appropriate level of action.
4.4 This guide defines good commercial and customary practice in the U.S. for conducting baseline assessment and reasonable mitigation/adaptation strategic options on a voluntary basis. The following principles apply to this priority system:
4.4.1 Ability to set specific goals for activities. This includes adopting a contingency plan for protection from weather related events using engineering changes while maintaining current operations. This includes “flood-proofing” “fire-proofing,” back-up energy generation, vegetation management around power lines and other measures to cope with extreme weather.
4.4.2 Marketing environmental awareness and sensitivity;
4.4.3 Assessing risks from future weather related events and extreme conditions. A compendium of applicable risk assessment tools that users may find useful are in .
4.4.4 Risk management, underwriting; loss control and history; premiums and claims;
4.4.5 Liability assessment and qualifications for loans;
4.4.6 Standardization, consistency and certification of facility specific evaluations;
4.4.7 Educating employees, clients and customers;
4.4.8 Generating multi media and cross medium information;
4.4.9 Evaluating vendors;
4.4.10 Reducing costs and preventing pollution.
4.5 Users may consider various benefits of assessment and response.
4.5.1 This guide is a basic primer on climate impacts and may serve to introduce the subject for organizations unfamiliar with the principles.
4.5.2 Some government agencies, fiduciaries and business organizations publish strategies for climate resiliency. The public has systematic ability to access or estimate information on individual businesses. Therefore, businesses need guidance on how to assess the nature and potential risks of climate risks, and a programmatic approach for reducing or eliminating those risks through protection, accommodation, retreat, and other proactive management systems.
4.5.3 Reduced operation, insurance and maintenance costs may be realized through a tiered evaluation of weather related response opportunities.
4.5.4 Responses may be streamlined and simplified so that all levels in an organization may participate.
4.5.5 Some enterprises may be more competitive in the marketplace with improved climate-related response programs.
4.5.6 Setting priorities can allow planning and evaluation of new adaptation and response requirements.
4.5.7 Different stakeholders, such as industries or governments, will have different interests and responsibilities for taking action. For example, retreat and relocation of populations will fall under the government scope rather than industry.
4.6 Institutional Risks—Some of the risks posed by weather related events include damage to residences, businesses, infrastructure and agriculture from fires, floods, drought, extreme temperature, storms, hail, winds, tidal surge and sea level rise. Early, voluntary actions, including the use of this guide, may also help organizations prepare for and reduce the impacts of future government regulations. Some of the possible government programs that may be used to address climate are described below.
4.6.1 Flood Insurance Maps;
4.6.2 Water conservation requirements;
4.6.3 Fire codes;
4.6.4 Emergency response;
4.6.5 Zoning regulations;
4.6.6 Building codes;
4.6.7 Wetlands and stream buffer regulations;
4.6.8 Stormwater standards and regulations for floodplains and floodways, planning, development requirements, and infrastructure design (MS4, flood control systems, floodplains and floodways);
4.6.9 Public Works Projects;
4.6.10 Hazard Mitigation Planning.
4.7 Managing Risk Uncertainty:
4.7.1 It appears that weather extremes will continue to present risks and uncertainty as to the effects they will have in different regions. The ability to predict future weather related risks has improved, but efforts to understand the complete impact of those risks on society and analyze mitigation and adaptation strategies are still relatively immature.
4.7.2 The tiered analysis in this guide will help support decision-making, studying regional impacts, and communicating with wider group of stakeholders in the face of uncertainty.
4.7.3 The insurance industry has always played a role in risk management by insuring weather related risks, promoting stronger building codes, and better land-use decision-making.
1.1 Overview—For the purposes of this guide, ‘resiliency’ refers to efforts by entities, organizations, or individuals to prepare for or adjust to future extreme weather and related physical conditions. The primary purpose is to reduce negative economic impacts associated with extreme weather.
1.1.1 This guide presents a generalized, systematic approach to voluntary assessment and risk management of extreme climate related events and conditions. It helps the user structure their understanding of the climate related vulnerabilities and consequences they seek to manage. It helps the user identify adaptive actions of both an institutional (legal), as well as engineering (physical) nature. Options for analysis provide a priority ranking system to address the “worst first” risks of a municipality, local area or facility, addressing practicality and cost-benefit. Users may approach this analysis having initially undertaken a risk assessment to determine what they are seeking to manage, or use the guide to help determine the likely areas of greatest need.
1.1.2 These climate adaptations or adjustments may be either protective (that is, guarding against negative impacts of extreme weather), or opportunistic (that is, taking advantage of any beneficial effects of extreme weather).
1.1.3 This guide addresses adaptation strategies and planning in response to various impacts that may occur to individuals, organizations, human settlements or ecosystems in a broad variety of ways. For example, extreme weather might increase or decrease rainfall, influence agricultural crop yields, affect human health, cause changes to forests and other ecosystems, or impact energy supply or infrastructure.
1.1.4 Climate-related impacts may occur locally within a region or across a country and may affect many sectors of the economy. In order to meet these challenges, this guide provides an organized, uniform approach to prepare for the impacts of extreme weather through planned “resiliency” strategies.
1.1.5 This guide addresses options to deal with risk factors that may be key drivers for the economy, human health, the environment, or ecosystems. The guide is aimed at helping users understand risks and potential losses, and offers options and a generalized approach to bolster human and ecosystem resiliency to a changing climate. This includes sustainability concepts such as support of economic stability and a good quality of life.
1.1.6 Adaptation can involve responses to extreme weather and long-term preparation for future events. Local conditions will require risk evaluation and analysis of both likely weather events and/or extreme weather trends.
1.1.7 This guide does not address the causes of extreme weather.
1.2 Purpose—The purpose of this guide is to provide a series of options consistent with preparing for extreme weather events. This guide encourages consistent management of climate exposures and risks. The guide presents practices and recommendations for regions, zones, and planning horizons to address institutional and engineering actions for reduction of physical and financial vulnerability attributable to extreme weather. It reviews available technologies, institutional practices, and engineering actions that can be implemented by individuals and organizations seeking to increase their adaptive capacity.
1.2.1 The guide also provides some high-level options for the monitoring and tracking of performance of an individual or organization’s chosen strategy in order to evaluate its effectiveness and ensure that the approach continues to be reasonable.
1.2.2 This guide ties into the ASTM E50 standards series related to environmental risk assessment and management.
1.3 Objectives—The objectives of this guide are to determine the conditions of the community, facility and or/property with regard to risks of extreme weather events and actions to be taken to manage those risks.
1.3.1 The guide presents information on planning and strategies for response to extreme weather events such as: drought, flood, fire, storms, landslides, tidal surge, and extreme temperatures.
1.3.2 The guide encourages users to set priorities, using a matrix based upon regions in the United States. For each region the guide identifies key climate vulnerabilities, requiring preparation for future events. These could be extrapolated to other regions if there are similar conditions.
1.4 Limitations of this Guide—Given the different types of organizations that may wish to use this guide, as well as variations in State and Local regulations, it is not possible to address all the relevant circumstances that might apply to a particular facility. This guide uses generalized language and examples to guide the user. If it is not clear to the user how to apply standards to their specific circumstances, it is recommended that users seek assistance from qualified professionals.
1.4.1 The guide assumes risks are already identified and is not intended to provide assistance with identifying or evaluating risks.
1.4.2 Insurance Industry—The effects of climate extremes on insurers are not clear. The definition of an insurable occurrence and a commencement point for when insurable claims are made, along with when conditions were discovered and the actionable information leading to an insurable loss is not clear. It may be inappropriate to speculate on climate effects that are highly uncertain for purposes of insurance related to specific events. While there are exclusions for “acts of God,” for example, claims associated with increasing extreme weather events may still have serious impacts on the insurance industry.
1.4.3 This guide does not take a position on the causes or science of extreme weather.
1.5 The guide uses references and information on the control, management and reduction of impacts from many cited sources.
1.6 Several national and international agencies served as sources of information on existing and anticipated levels and management of climate risks including: the Australian Ministry of Environment; the Federal Emergency Management Agency; the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; the U.S. Department of Agriculture; the U.S. Department of Energy; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; and, the U.S. Department of Defense.
1.7 This guide relies on current regulatory information about risks from various state agencies, including the California Air Resources Board, the Massachusetts and Connecticut Departments of Environmental Protection, the Western Climate Initiative, and other published high-level strategies and guidance. For example, the National Academy of Sciences guidance and the Climate and Risk section of the Envision rating system published by the Institute of Sustainable Infrastructure.
1.8 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
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ASTM E3032-15, Standard Guide for Climate Resiliency Planning and Strategy, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2015, www.astm.orgBack to Top