In the Toolkit --


  • Guide to the Toolkit
  • Leagues in Action
  • I. Choosing a Role for Your League

    II. Grassroots Action Priorities

  • Climate Action
  • Price on Carbon
  • Our Children's Trust
  • Energy Efficient Buildings
  • Renewable Energy
  • Adapting to Climate Change
  • III. Basics of Climate Change

    IV. Engaging Individuals

  • Communicating About Climate Change
  • Preparing for a Meeting on Climate Change
  • Engaging Groups in Your Community
  • V. Promoting Public Policy

  • Community Action Models
  • Organizing For Community Action
  • Tips for Building Grassroots Support
  • League Action on Climate Change
  • International Action
  • VI. Resources


    The case for adaptation planning. As the impacts of a changing climate become ever more apparent, decision-makers at all levels are recognizing the need to take steps now to build adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change --

    Attitudes towards preparing for climate change. A research project exploring American voters' awareness of the impacts of climate change and their willingness to take action to prepare for these impacts found that 'preparedness' and 'prevention' are much more compelling than the term 'adaptation.' Even those who are not yet convinced of the causes and scope of climate change respond favorably to messages that focus on taking steps to prepare for the changes in climate and weather that they can see happening.

    Local efforts. The good news is that climate adaptation efforts are growing, particularly at the local and regional levels where the impacts of the changing climate are felt most directly. If identified and implemented in a timely fashion, adaptation strategies can help communities reduce risks and the disruptive impacts of climate change.

    In a 2012 survey of members of ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability, 59 percent of the 298 U.S. cities participating reported that they were engaging in some type of adaptation planning, with 13 percent reporting that they had completed a risk and vulnerability assessment. These ICLEI members reported encountering a number of challenges, however, including difficulty obtaining financial resources for adaptation planning and action, allocating staff time, gaining commitment from local officials, and communicating the importance of pursuing adaptation strategies.

    Federal role. Although much of the adaptation work will take place at the state and local levels, the federal government has a critical role to play in supporting and coordinating these decentralized efforts. In its 2010 report, Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, the National Research Council called for a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. The Report in Brief notes --

    As part of this strategy, the federal government should provide technical and scientific resources that are currently lacking at the local or regional scale, incentives for local and state authorities to begin adaptation planning, guidance across jurisdictions, shared lessons learned, and support of scientific research to expand knowledge of impacts and adaptation.

    Although resiliency efforts at the federal level have lagged behind those underway at the state and local levels, the federal government has made progress in recent years.


    Examples of climate adaptation planning

    Adaptation at the federal level

    Attitudes towards climate change and climate adaptation

    Last updated: May 18, 2014