Greenhouse gas emissions produced by fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, agriculture, and other activities have accumulated in the atmosphere for decades and will continue to change the climate for years to come. Bearing this mind, we must adapt and become resilient as well as take action to avoid creating additional emissions in the future.
Vulnerability Assessments and Reports
In 2013, City Council passed a resolution to identify the potential environmental, economic, and social impacts to City operations and assets resulting from climate change. As part of this effort, ATMOS Research, led by Dr. Katherine Hayhoe from Texas Tech University, developed climate change projections through 2100 for Austin. The final report to Council, Toward A Climate Resilient Austin, provides details from this analysis, as well as recommendations for future planning efforts to increase resilience.
The Office of Sustainability also worked closely with CAMPO and other state, regional, and local entities to produce The Central Texas Extreme Weather and Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of Regional Transportation Infrastructure. The infrastructure that was evaluated included roadways, bridges, and rail. The climate-related stressors that were considered as part of the assessment were flooding, drought, extreme heat, wildfire, and extreme cold.
Climate Resilience Action Plan for City of Austin Assets and Operations
Using the climate projections developed by Dr. Katharine Hayhoe as the basis for identifying risks and vulnerabilities, the Office of Sustainability worked with staff from multiple departments to develop a Climate Resilience Action Plan for City Assets and Operations. The plan comprises four key strategies to increase resilience:
- Strengthen emergency response
- Expand staff safety plans
- Evaluate and upgrade existing facilities and infrastructure
- Future-proof new facilities and infrastructure
Planning for Resilience and Adaptation
The City of Austin has plans in place or underway to increase climate resilience:
- Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan
- Austin Integrated Water Resource Planning Community Task Force
- City of Austin Hazard Mitigation Plan
- Austin Water Resource Planning Task Force
- Austin/Travis County Community Wildfire Protection Plan
- Austin Urban Forest Plan
Programs that Support Resilience and Adaptation
The City of Austin offers programs that contribute to the city’s resilience: