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Geos Institute helps communities build resilience in the face of climate change

Climate services for every community regardless of their location, size, or wealth

To avoid catastrophic climate impacts that threaten people and nature, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) calls for rapid global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions as well as urgent action to adapt to the climate impacts that can no longer be avoided. Change at that scale requires action at all levels of government, yet local governments in the U.S. often lack the capacity and technical knowledge necessary to do their part.

Read more: IPCC report: ‘Code red’ for human driven global heating, warns UN chief

The federal government and the climate resilience field have long recognized that a nationwide system of climate support services is desperately needed, but it does not yet exist.

Climate Ready America is our answer. Read the details and structural framework here.


Southeast Navigator Network

In 2023 we launched a Navigator Network in four states: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. This project will demonstrate proof of concept for the larger Climate Ready America system and also includes the initial planning for the first Climate Innovation Center in Georgia.


Learn more about Climate Ready America

  • The concept is quite simple: create a climate services system that supports local governments by strengthening existing climate services within each state, connecting those resources, and filling in the gaps.

    Our goal is to create an effective system of climate services so that all communities, no matter their location, wealth, or size, can access the help they need to build climate resilience – both reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to climate impacts.

    • Local Communities: The primary user of the support services made available through this program
    • Climate Innovation Centers: Unique statewide entities that provide direct support to local communities by connecting them with climate service resources from state and federal government, academic institutions, and climate organizations (Learn more about these centers here)
    • Regional Support Teams: Expert teams that support state level Climate Innovation Centers on issues, such as implementation finance, community engagement, social equity, climate science, and nature-based solutions
    • National Strategy Team: Central organizing entity that coordinates between the Federal System and Regional Teams
    • Federal System: Tools, resources, and experts within the federal agencies whose work intersects with climate resilience

    Overview Summary

    You can read more about how we envision this system will function in this document: Climate Ready America: What It Requires

    Sign On Letters

    • On July 25, 2023 we submitted comments to FEMA on the Community Disaster Resilience Zones (CDRZ) Act, where we encourage FEMA to develop an initiative that not only supports CDRZ communities, but eventually can also help build resilience in the remaining 99% of census tracts across the nation. 
    • On December 5, 2022 we submitted comments to the Environmental Protection Agency on their Greenhouse Gas Reduction fund. Seventy organizations and individuals signed on in support of these comments.

    To get announcements for future sign on letter efforts, sign up for our enews.

  • We have 55 in-state partners ready to go once funding arrives. These partners represent a variety of entity types:

    • 7 State governments
    • 15 Extension/Sea Grant offices
    • 10 Non-land-grant Universities
    • 15 Nonprofit organizations
    • 3 Regional Planning Commissions/Councils
    • 2 For-profit service entities
    • 2 State climatologist offices
    • 1 CASC

  • Climate Innovation Center Pilot Program

    We selected five states or statewide organizations to pilot Climate Innovation Centers.  This pilot program will show proof of concept and provide support to determine how states with different circumstances can be served by the same system.  
     
    Rapid nationwide expansion of the Climate Ready America system involves immediately applying what is learned in this first pilot phase to the next round of pilots and then to building out to the remaining states (and possibly territories) over the next five years. The challenge of climate change requires this level of ambition. 

    We are no longer accepting proposals for the 2022 pilot program but are accepting Letters of Interest for the next round. 

  • General Interest

    To receive periodic updates on, and invitations to be involved with, the development of Climate Ready America, sign up here

    Climate Innovation Center Pilot Program

    Visit our Pilot Program information page to learn more. Contact Kim Adams (kim@geosinstitute.org) for questions about the pilot program. 

    Partnerships

    Climate Ready America will be built through partnerships. If you have resources or thoughts about collaborations that could help develop this system, please contact Kim Adams (kim@geosinstitute.org).

  • Advisors are individuals/organizations that are advising the Climate Ready America system on a variety of topics from structure and governance to system design, programmatic content, partnership opportunities, etc. Their advice will be solicited throughout the process of developing the system.

    Steve Abbott, Rocky Mountain Institute
    James Arnott, Aspen Global Change Institute
    Michael Berkowitz, Resilient Cities Catalyst
    Tim Carter, Second Nature
    John Cleveland, Innovation Network for Communities
    Joyce Coffee,
    Climate Resilience Consulting
    Ernest Cook, Network for Landscape Conservation
    Nancy Gilliam, Model Forest Policy Program – Climate Solutions University
    Matt Hutchins, Fernleaf
    Rachel Jacobson, American Society of Adaptation Professionals
    Michael McCormick, Farallon Strategies
    Susi Moser, Susanne Moser Consulting
    John Nielsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist, Director, Southern Regional Climate Center
    Sascha Petersen, Adaptation International
    Cara Pike, Climate Access

  • Background & History

    Our Geos Institute team has been working on this question of climate services since 2015 when we co-led an effort to create a Climate Adaptation Service Bureau. Unfortunately sidelined by anti-climate positions of the administration and Congress, that effort spawned the Climate Adaptation Registry and influenced the structure of our Climate Ready Communities assisted-do-it yourself planning model.  

    With the transition in 2020 of federal leadership to those who understand the threat and urgency of the climate crisis, we turned our attention back to developing climate services nationwide. Since late 2020, we have:  

    • Worked with adaptation practitioners across the field to develop the Climate Ready America concept, identify existing programmatic anchors, and chart next steps (See our original concept paper) 
    • Convened a team of leading adaptation practitioners to develop ten guiding principles of such a system (see the press release here)
    • Researched existing climate change service programs in all fifty US states  
    • Began identifying possible funding and states to pilot Climate Innovation Centers
    • Developed a detailed design of Climate Ready America

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Additional information and resources for members of our 2022 Climate Innovation Center Pilot Program

Pilot State Resources

Additional information and resources for states interested in the next round of Climate Innovation Center pilots

Candidate State Resources