Climate Resilience
for Vulnerable Populations

The measure of a country’s greatness should be based on how well it cares for its most vulnerable populations.
— Mahatma Gandhi

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) seeks to strengthen community resilience to Minnesota’s changing climate. A dramatic increase in mega-rain events in recent years has caused serious health impacts as well as severe damage to the built environment for a number of Minnesota communities. Substantial warming during winter and at night has affected Minnesota’s natural resources and economy. More disruptions, included extended heat waves, are likely in the future.

MPCA-sponsored surveys identified more than 40 Minnesota cities interested in assistance with climate resilience planning for vulnerable populations.  In response to that need, the MPCA selected paleBLUEdot to provide these assessment services under a 2017 Environmental Assistance Grant.  This effort sought to:

  • Increase awareness of potential climate impacts and population vulnerabilities.
  • Increase inclusion of climate adaptation dialogue within City planning and decision making processes.
  • Strengthen adaptive capacity based on the best available information on regional climate change projections and impacts.
  • Outline priority risks, vulnerabilities, and possible near-term actions.
  • Lay the foundation for the development of implementation plans that consider available resources and prioritize the most effective actions from a cost and benefit perspective.
  • Prevent or reduce the risks to populations most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

Vulnerability And Adaptation

The final report approach decided upon focused on creating a two-part tool: A Population Vulnerability Assessment as well as a Climate Adaptation Framework.  The Population Vulnerability Assessment portion of this report describes how climate affects the region today, the changes and impacts expected over the coming decades, and identifies population vulnerabilities.  The Climate Adaptation Framework sections of this report recommend Adaptation Goals as well as a Menu of Adaptation Strategies. 

Climate Resilience Goals and Strategies

Each of the subject Cities for which this work was conducted can enact the climate resilience goals and strategies established in the Climate Adaptation Framework to reduce the impact of climate change, improve public health, and expand the local economy.  Across all of these goals, there are four priority areas of action.

1)    Assess vulnerabilities - especially among populations most vulnerable to climate change impacts.
2)    Train and educate local officials, planners, and community organizations
3)    Incorporate climate vulnerabilities into existing planning documents.
4)    Develop partnerships to fund on-going research and implementation needs and larger scale infrastructure improvements.

View the Menu of Climate Adaptation Strategies in the document viewer below.  Use the arrows on the side of the image to turn pages, or "click" on the image to enlarge viewing.

Download a copy of the Menu of Strategies here.