Equity in Climate Resilience Planning and Investments

By Andrea Bohmholdt , Ferdouz Cochran , Saimun Habib , Michael Rodriguez , Joshua Stadlan

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Climate change and extreme weather hazards disproportionately impact communities and populations experiencing social inequities, including systemic racism and intergenerational poverty. Social equity in terms of climate resilience involves the fair and just inclusion and participation of communities to plan for and adapt positively to or thrive amid changing climate conditions and hazards. Government investments in climate resilience, such as federal funds distributed through discretionary grant programs, offer opportunities for improving social equity among communities and populations.

MITRE conducted research to understand, analyze, and document the quantitative accounting of social equity throughout the climate resilience planning process using metrics, indicators, indices and weights of inequity both within and external to economic analyses commonly used to assess cost effectiveness of proposed climate resilience investments. The purpose of this work is to identify the methods and data that contribute useful information to the formulation of plans, prioritization of funding, and tracking impact after implementation, while recognizing limitations and potential improvements. Our intention is to gather feedback and vet our recommendations with subject matter experts, practitioners, and government and community representatives to reach a consensus on a path towards greater understanding of how we might equitably and intentionally direct funding towards the communities who need it most. This report is intended for specialists with expertise in economics, climate resilience, social justice and equity and government agencies that administer or are planning to administer discretionary grant programs to fund climate resilience projects.