The work of the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance is undertaken in collaboration with partner organizations and is directed at enhancing the overall capacity of New Jersey to plan and respond to a changing climate. Support for the Alliance’s effort comes from partner organizations, private foundations and government sources.
The Alliance’s efforts are guided by its Advisory Committee and facilitated by Rutgers University. Ongoing efforts are focused on several areas:
The Alliance is engaged in comprehensive undertaking to prepare a set of recommendations for state and local climate preparedness policy. New Jersey is only one of two states in the region without a statewide climate adaptation plan. Through research on climate impacts, analyses of affected populations, identification of leading practices and engagement of stakeholders, the Alliance will provide New Jersey with specific recommendations to strengthen the state’s ability to plan for and respond to a changing climate through state and local public policy. Specific activities include:
- Development of background materials to inform public policy deliberations. Available on its website, the Alliance has documented current trends and projections for a changing climate in New Jersey as well as potential impacts and policy considerations for leading sectors in New Jersey.
- Engagement of a series of partners to conduct “listening” sessions with practitioners. The Alliance has engaged several New Jersey leaders with expert knowledge of targeted sectors to better understand the perspectives of stakeholders and practitioners as to needs for climate preparedness public policy. Efforts are underway with practitioners and stakeholders in the following sectors: agriculture, public health, emergency management, vulnerable populations, transportation, utilities, water resources and natural resources.
- Surveying targeted stakeholders. The Alliance is working with various partners to conduct a series of online surveys of targeted audiences to better understand the needs and perspectives of stakeholders and practitioners with regard to climate preparedness policy in New Jersey. Surveys are being conducted with various audiences including public health officials, local planners, water resource and emergency managers, land stewards and managers, mayors and coastal leaders, the business community and others.
- Conducting analyses of leading policy practices. The Alliance is involved in examining leading climate preparedness and resilience policies to identify efforts that can be applied in New Jersey. A variety of analyses are underway, including an effort to examine financial mechanisms to support climate preparedness policy and leading strategies to address special needs of vulnerable populations. Ongoing research and analyses is being conducted and documented to better understand leading practices outside of New Jersey so as to inform deliberation on effective policies within New Jersey.
- Hosting a series of workshops where facilitated dialogue among stakeholders, leaders and experts will lead to consensus policy recommendations. Starting in the fall of 2013, the Alliance will be hosting a series of policy forums where stakeholders, experts and practitioners will discuss needed public policy in New Jersey to enhance capacity within the public, private and nonprofit sectors to plan for and respond to a changing climate.
- Development of a compendium of policy recommendations for New Jersey. Efforts of the alliance’s ongoing research and analyses, stakeholder engagement and policy deliberations will be integrated to form a set of consensus recommendations for public policy in New Jersey.
Outreach and Education
The Alliance is committed to providing outreach and education on climate change impacts and preparedness issues to the general public, decision makers and practitioners. Specific activities include:
- Provide a website as a source of information on climate change impacts and preparedness. As the facilitator of the Alliance, Rutgers University maintains a website for the Alliance which includes general information on climate change impacts as well as news and events about efforts in New Jersey. Additionally, members of the public are welcome to sign up for the Alliance email list to be notified of news and events and when new materials are made available on the website.
- Develop educational materials. As needed, the Alliance develops informational and educational materials on critical topics related to climate change impacts in New Jersey and efforts to prepare for and respond to climate change. Of note is a summary of current trends and projections for a changing climate in New Jersey and a series of “Working Briefs” that summarize potential impacts and policy considerations for leading sectors in New Jersey.
- Host statewide conferences. The Alliance has hosted two large statewide conferences over the past three years. The first, Preparing New Jersey for Climate Change, was held on November 29, 2011 and focused on identifying impacts to New Jersey from a changing climate. The second, Climate Change Preparedness in New Jersey: Leading Practices and Policy Priorities, was held on May 22, 2013 and focused on practices and policies needed in New Jersey to address climate change impacts as well as best practices from across the country. Both conferences were hosted at Rutgers University. All conference materials, including video, presentations and proceedings, can be found on this website.
- Host topical workshops. The Alliance works with its partner organizations to host workshops on specific topics related to climate change preparedness. Information on topic workshops is maintained on the Alliance website. Workshops have included partnerships with Sustainable Jersey™, New Jersey Future, the Urban Coast Institute at Monmouth University and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Nature Conservancy.
- Maintain a climate change preparedness clearinghouse. The Alliance is currently in the process of developing a statewide electronic clearinghouse that will provide users with searchable tools to find information about climate change information and data as well as ongoing activities in New Jersey.
- Undertake surveys to gauge public perceptions and understanding of climate change issues. In January 2013, the Alliance participated in conducting a statewide survey of New Jerseyans to gauge public perceptions of climate change impacts and risk and support for preparedness policies. Initial results of the survey were presented at the May 22, 2013 Alliance conference by Rutgers University Professor Michael Greenberg. Additional results will be posted on the Alliance website as they become available. To complement the statewide summary, the Alliance is undertaking a series of online surveys of targeted audiences (as previously noted) including local officials, business owners, land stewards and others. The intersection of these survey results will provide the Alliance with an important understanding of New Jersey’s perceptions of climate change impacts and support for preparedness actions.
The Alliance undertakes pilot and demonstration projects with partner organizations in order to advance understanding of the benefits of climate change preparedness in New Jersey. As an organization that works with partners in many sectors, the Alliance may be engaged in demonstration projects related to a variety of areas including public health, transportation and other infrastructure assessment, natural resource protection, community resilience, etc. For example, the Alliance is undertaking a multi-sector “marquee” demonstration project to begin the development of NJADAPT, a statewide geospatial tool that will relate climate change impacts such as temperature change, changes in precipitation and sea level rise to geographic locations throughout New Jersey for planning and outreach applications. Ongoing efforts to develop and apply mapping and geospatial tools to support integration of resiliency into post-Sandy recovery efforts will contribute to design of the NJADAPT platform.