The climate is changing, and humans are a main cause. The impacts of climate change will shift the frequency, intensity, duration, and spatial extent of extreme weather events we have seen in the past. However, planning efforts to adapt to climate change and build resilience are still in their early stages. The role of emergency management and disaster risk reduction is often described in the field as critical to efforts to adapt to climate change - yet few communities are successfully demonstrating what it looks like to have emergency and disaster management fully engaged in climate mitigation and preparedness.
The fundamental science behind climate change is well-established, however, uncertainties about both human behavior and downscaling to the time horizon of extreme events will never make perfect climate prediction possible. There are many aspects of resilience that can be improved despite this challenge, and climate science continues to evolve its best practices for using physical and social science to support decisions that require greater precision, including the design of infrastructure. Communities that are successfully planning for climate change are moving past debates on science to equitable engagement that facilitates knowledge sharing across the silos of planning, hazard mitigation, public works, public finance, public health, ecosystem management, and economic development. There is tremendous potential for the perspectives of emergency and disaster management to inform this dialogue and sustain learning for adaptation and resilience building, but this will require transformative approaches that bridge the traditional timescales of EDM, focused on past events, with those of planning, which acknowledge that the weather patterns of yesterday are not the weather patterns of tomorrow.
This class will challenge students to examine how emergency managers and others involved in disaster risk reduction can engage with adapting to and mitigating the consequences of climate change at the local, state, federal, and international levels. It is not an operational instruction course, but rather a survey class intended to introduce students to a broad range of issues, practical research, and the state of practice.