Building a Resilient Tomorrow
How to Prepare for the Coming Climate Disruption
While squarely confronting the scale of the risks the world faces because of climate change, this pragmatic guide focuses on solutions—some gradual and some more revolutionary—currently being deployed around the globe.
- Foreign policy analyses written by CFR fellows and published by the trade presses, academic presses, or the Council on Foreign Relations Press.
Climate change impacts—more heat, drought, extreme rainfall, and stronger storms—have already harmed communities around the globe. Even if the world could cut its carbon emissions to zero tomorrow, further significant global climate change is now inevitable. Although we cannot tell with certainty how much average global temperatures will rise, we do know that the warming we have experienced to date has caused significant losses, and that the failure to prepare for the consequences of further warming may prove to be staggering.
Building a Resilient Tomorrow does not dwell on overhyped descriptions of apocalyptic climate scenarios, nor does it travel down well-trodden paths surrounding the politics of reducing carbon emissions. Instead, it starts with two central facts: climate impacts will continue to occur, and we can make changes now to mitigate their effects. While squarely confronting the scale of the risks we face, this pragmatic guide focuses on solutions—some gradual and some more revolutionary—currently being deployed around the globe. Each chapter presents a thematic lesson for decision-makers and engaged citizens to consider, outlining replicable successes and identifying provocative recommendations to strengthen climate resilience. Between animated discussions of ideas as wide-ranging as managed retreat from coastal hot-zones to biological approaches for resurgent climate-related disease threats, Alice Hill and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz draw on their personal experiences as senior officials in the Obama administration to tell behind-the-scenes stories of what it really takes to advance progress on these issues. The narrative is dotted with tales of on-the-ground citizenry, from small-town mayors and bankers to generals and engineers, who are chipping away at financial disincentives and bureaucratic hurdles to prepare for life on a warmer planet. For readers exhausted by today's paralyzing debates on yearly "fluke" storms or the existence of climate change, Building a Resilient Tomorrow offers better ways to manage the risks in a warming planet, even as we work to limit global temperature rise.
Reviews and Endorsements
As we race to awaken conscience and countries to meet an existential challenge, building resilience is an urgent and underappreciated part of the fight against global climate change. This timely and important book, by deeply knowledgeable veterans of that fight, offers practical ideas and lessons on how to do it, and each story underscores a reality with which the world must reckon now.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry
Climate change is real, and Building a Resilient Tomorrow illustrates what it looks like and what we can do about it by building up resilience, even while we work to cut emissions. This is exactly the kind of honesty and sobriety that is needed to confront this unique challenge and to build consensus in favor of viable solutions.
Former U.S. Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL)
One aspect of solving the climate crisis is preparation for the calamities ahead that emissions have already set in motion. Alice Hill sees critical dimensions of the resiliency imperative, and with Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, has written an important book.
U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
This is an essential guide for policymakers at all levels. All of us who exist on this warming planet should heed its warnings about the need to incorpoate resilience into our community planning, beginning today.
Janet Napolitano, President, University of California
At a time when volatility and change are the only certainties, we must find ways to build resilience. This important book, focused on the United States but informed by global insights, tackles the central challenge of climate resilience.
Adrienne Arsht, Executive Vice Chair, Atlantic Council
Climate Change is no longer a far-off hypothetical—the time for solutions is now. This book offers a comprehensive, yet fine-grained guide to help all of us better face the forthcoming climate disruption.
Craig Fugate, Former Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency
Building a Resilient Tomorrow is an important, unique, and useful guide for learning how to build in resilience and cope with the real and increasing impacts of climate change.
Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz