It is now commonly accepted that climate change will lead to sea-level rise, more extreme storms, heat waves, wildfires, changing weather patterns, and the spread of disease. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is necessary, but not sufficient. Global, national, and subnational adaptation measures to reduce climate harm are essential.
This article argues that equity should be a central feature of emerging domestic climate adaptation initiatives. It details how more frequent and intense “natural” disasters, long-term impacts on habitability, and public health threats will have unequal impacts within the United States. The article suggests seven principles for achieving equitable adaptation, principles designed to improve substantive outcomes, ensure meaningful participation, and address underlying socioeconomic conditions.