“Local officials and enviros are making plans for a post-global warming America. And so are profit-seeking companies.”
On the opening morning of the inaugural National Adaptation Forum, I was eating breakfast at a stand-up table in the exhibition hall when a mustachioed man of middle age plopped his cherry Danish next to my pile of conference literature, a mess of pamphlets and reports with titles likeGetting Climate Smart: A Water Preparedness Guide for State Action, and Successful Adaptation: Linking Science and Policy in a Rapidly Changing World. The nametag dangling above the Danish identified the man as Michael Hughes, director of public works for the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst. Like many attendees, Hughes was part of a new national emergency-response team without being fully aware of it. He had arrived in Denver knowing little about “adaptation,” the anemic catchall for attempts to fortify our natural and built environments against the epochal temperature spike in progress.
“I hadn’t even heard the term ‘adaptation’ a month ago,” he told me, taking a bite.