Reports & Policy Memos

November 2023

The Fifth National Climate Assessment: Key findings and recommendations for coastal cities

The Fifth National Climate Assessment: Key findings and recommendations for coastal cities


The Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5) shows that climate impacts to coastal cities are intensifying, but there are ample opportunities to accelerate mitigation and adaptation efforts. To help coastal cities ground their climate plans in the most up-to-date science, we developed a memo with key findings and actionable policy recommendations to shift to transformative adaptation, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and prioritize equity-centered approaches to climate action.

These recommendations will enable policymakers to more effectively address climate risks to secure a resilient and climate-ready future for coastal cities.

Key takeaways

Risks from extreme and compounding events are increasing due to unprecedented changes in our climate.

Climate change is driving rapid sea level rise, with the U.S. experiencing it at a significantly faster rate than the global average.

The impacts of climate change have far-reaching and cascading consequences in coastal areas, especially for overburdened communities.

Climate mitigation and adaptation is happening across the U.S., but there is much more to be done.

Key recommendations

Drawing on NCA5, here’s what Urban Ocean Lab (UOL) thinks U.S. coastal cities should be doing right now to enhance their climate readiness and resilience.

Accelerate transformative adaptation, with a focus on nature-based solutions and planned relocation.

Swiftly reduce carbon emissions using existing solutions, while also advancing ocean-based mitigation measures, to achieve net zero.

Implement climate actions that prioritize equity to achieve long-term resilience.


Urban Ocean Lab is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that cultivates rigorous, creative, equitable, and practical climate and ocean policy for the future of coastal cities.

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