The current literature on local climate change adaptation contains comparatively little research into local and regional adaptation to climate change, and few comparisons of local climate adaptation initiatives across broad climate regions. Our conjecture is that areas with similar climates will face similar sets of climate risks and therefore can share adaptation solutions. This paper examines 36 adaptation plans (cases) selected from across the five Mediterranean climate regions in order to find if there is evidence that groups of cities and/or regions share similar responses to climate risks. We examined adaptation strategies for sea level rise, increased temperatures, flooding, reduced water supply and drought, wildfires, extreme weather events, and increased GHGs and air pollution. We examined the cities’ adaptation plans and categorized them into four stages: training, assessment, recommendations, and implementation. A contribution of the paper is a new way of analyzing adaptation by building a matrix of adaptation policy stage and climate impact area that shows which policy options have advanced from planning to implementation in our cases. We found that a wide variety of cities have completed assessments in one or more of the climate adaptation areas. Our major finding is that these Mediterranean cities often have quite similar plans for dealing with several climate risks. Many cities are planning stormwater runoff infrastructure overhauls in order to ameliorate the impacts of climate-related water supply and flooding effects. Similarly, many cities are proposing greening strategies to deal with heat island effects. Finally, we observe that the adaptation plans imply large cross-cutting infrastructure investment with their concomitant financial demands. We also observe a common gap, that while retreat from threatened areas is likely to be a necessary strategy for sea level rise, flooding, and perhaps wildfire, retreat is seldom mentioned, and not at all at the implementation stage. The key contribution of this paper is to provide a starting point for researchers and policymakers to consider the similarities and differences in adaptation approaches across Mediterranean climate zone cities. This paper establishes a baseline for adaptation policy in our urban cases that additional research can use to examine adaptation progress moving forward.

Supplementary Material_1_Detailed Policy Tables[2].docx (151 kB)
Adaptation Policies by Physical Threat, City, and Planning Stage

Supplemental Material 2- City Plan References[2].docx (151 kB)
City Plan References