Changing Climate, Changing Communities: Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Action

Changing Climate, Changing Communities: Guide and Workbook for Municipal Climate Adaptation is a collection of resources that provide a milestone based framework to assist local governments in the creation of adaptation plans to address the relevant climate change impacts associated with their communities. Although climate change adaptation is a complex process, this guide aims to provide a straightforward methodology to adaptation planning using a five-milestone approach. Each milestone represents a fundamental step in the adaptation planning process, starting with the initiation of adaptation efforts (by building an adaptation team and identifying local stakeholders) and culminating with a monitoring and review process that analyzes the successes and reviews the challenges of the adaptation plan and its implementation.

This guide is aimed at municipal staff interested in working on climate change adaptation strategies. Staff from across all municipal departments can be involved in the process outlined in this resource; as it encourages an integrated approach to planning that requires examination of the environmental, economic, social, and health implications of climate change.

Region-wide Early Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation for the Nearshore Marine and Coastal Environment and Small Island Ecosystems (REAP-CCA)

From the Introduction:

The Coral Triangle encompasses almost six million square kilometers of ocean and coastal waters surrounding Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste. It is considered the global epicenter of marine biodiversity—home to over 500 species of reefbuilding corals and 3,000 species of fish. The cumulative impacts of unplanned coastal development, over-fishing, habitat degradation, and climate change threaten the health and welfare, food security, and livelihoods of over 120 million people that live in coastal zone.

Increasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are driving change in the physical and chemical characteristics of marine and coastal environments in Coral Triangle. Warming and acidifying oceans may eliminate coral dominated reefs, decimate mangrove systems, and eliminate seagrass beds. These changes will dramatically affect coastal communities and ecosystems in the Coral Triangle.

This Region-wide Early Action Plan for Climate Change Adaptation (REAP-CCA) sets forth urgent and immediate actions that need to be taken across the Coral Triangle to build coastal community resilience to climate change.

Iowa Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Report

This report presents the findings of a pilot project initiated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work with stakeholders and governments in Iowa to identify barriers to and incentives for considering regional effects of climate change in hazard mitigation planning and other community planning processes. Communities in Iowa engage in multiple planning activities, including hazard mitigation planning and comprehensive or community planning, that can help guide them as they try to become more resilient to the effects of climate change. Iowa communities have been experiencing floods that are growing more severe and frequent, and state and local planners are working to identify local planning approaches that improve resilience to future floods and help communities recover after disasters. The first stage of this pilot project explored if and how climate change information should be considered in risk assessments and the implications this information may have for community planning options. The second stage focused on identifying adaptation solutions with mutual benefits and synergies across different planning requirements and emphasized the need to work across agencies and levels of government to optimize results.

Climate Change: Adaptation for Queensland Issues Paper

Queensland is no stranger to harsh weather and its damaging effects. We have seen first hand the devastation that extreme weather can cause to our landscape, communities and economy. Scientists warn that Queensland is likely to be severely impacted by changes in temperature, rainfall, sea level and extreme weather events. As our knowledge of climate science, climate change impacts and potential risks evolves, our policy responses need to be reassessed. This is the Queensland Government's climate change adaptation issues paper, which explores projected risks and adaptation actions. The paper is separated into the following seven sectors:

  • Human Settlements
  • Infrastructure
  • Ecosystems
  • Water Management
  • Primary Industries
  • Emergency Management
  • Human Health

Editorial: Why is Community Action Needed for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation?

When disasters happen, the speed and effectiveness of response depends very heavily on local organizations that represent the needs of those most impacted and most vulnerable. As the paper by Jorgelina Hardoy, Gustavo Pandiella and Luz Stella Velásquez Barrero notes, it is at the local or neighbourhood level that disasters happen, lives and livelihoods are lost, houses and infrastructure damaged or destroyed, and health and education compromised. It is also at the local level that many of the disaster risks can be addressed before disasters occur. Much of the responsibility for disaster risk reduction falls to local governments and much of the death and destruction from disasters shows up the failings of local government. The success of post-disaster actions is also to a large extent determined by pre-disaster planning and awareness and readiness within local government and civil society organizations. In this way, community action and partnerships with local government are central not just to minimizing risk but also in responding to impact and shaping recovery in ways that can strengthen local livelihoods and quality of life.

An Integrated Regional Climate Strategy: An Impossible Dream?

One of the most publicized impacts of global warming is a predicted acceleration of sea level rise. Water levels in San Francisco Bay could rise by 1.4 meters by the end of this century and flood over 330 square miles of low-lying shoreline property and $60 billion of property. The San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission has formulated a broad outline of a comprehensive strategy for addressing climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to sea level rise in the Bay Area region.

The City of Lewes Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation Action Plan

From the Executive Summary:

Lewes, Delaware, with its strong history of hazard mitigation planning and preparedness is perfectly poised to take advantage of an increasing understanding of climate change impacts. It is already known that temperatures are rising, glaciers are retreating, snowpack is disappearing, spring is arriving earlier, and seas are rising. These changes will exacerbate hazards that are known to threaten Lewes today. While these changes cannot be prevented, the effects of these events are dependent upon the choices and actions that Lewes makes today.

Given the increasing future threats that Lewes faces, the overall goal of the Hazard Mitigation and Climate Adaptation pilot project has been to further the City’s hazard mitigation work by incorporating climate adaptation. The project has developed this unified plan that aims to improve community sustainability and resilience. Local officials and residents have been engaged through four workshops to determine the City’s greatest existing and future vulnerabilities and to chart a course of action to reduce these vulnerabilities.

The subsequent sections provide further details on the project, the methods used and the outcomes of the effort. Section 1 focuses on providing a context for this effort and details the methods used. Section 2 provides a case for engaging in both hazard mitigation and climate adaptation. Section 3 details the natural hazards assessed. Section 4 is focused on the climate change knowledge and impacts to natural hazards that were presented to workshop participants. Section 5 outlines the vulnerability self‐assessments that were conducted during the workshops. These assessments resulted in the identification of two key vulnerabilities. The first is Lewes’ water system and the combined threats of saltwater intrusion into the aquifer and destruction of water conveyance systems that it faces from sea level rise. The second vulnerability is the destructive impacts on homes and City infrastructure from increased flooding.

Based upon these two key vulnerabilities, Section 6 describes the action selection process. Through this process, the following six actions were identified as recommendations that the City begin implementing. Finally, Section 7 provides implementation guidance for these identified actions.

  • Incorporate climate change concerns into the comprehensive plan and into future reviews of the building and zoning codes. Recommended actions and implementation guidance are included on page 53.
  • Improve outreach and education particularly focused on successful behavior changes related to home building and retrofits. Recommended actions and implementation guidance are included on page 59.
  • Ensure that aquifer information is integrated into all planning efforts. Recommended actions and implementation guidance are included on page 63.
  • Use elevation data to determine road levels and evacuation risk. Recommended actions and implementation guidance are included on page 65.
  • Evaluate the City and the Board of Public Works (BPW) infrastructure's flood vulnerability from direct flood impacts as well as from indirect flood impacts to access routes. Recommended actions and implementation guidance are included on page 67.
  • Improve the City’s level of participation in the community rating system (CRS). Recommended actions and implementation guidance are included on page 69.

Ready for Change: Preparing the Public Health Sector for Climate Change


United States
43° 18' 11.9808" N, 118° 23' 19.2192" W

Climate change poses a significant and emerging threat to public health. Drought, heat waves, flooding, and disease are all exacerbated by climate change. Across the globe, climate change has been directly linked with hundreds of thousands of deaths each year and indirectly affects the health of a comparable number of people. Public health agencies and organizations can play a vital role in helping to prepare the public for these impacts, and in reducing emissions that lead to further changes in our global climate.

Low Flows and Hot Trout: Dealing with the Effects of Climate Change in the Clark Fork Watershed


United States
46° 45' 52.344" N, 113° 30' 58.0176" W

The Clark Fork watershed extends from Butte, MT to Sandpoint, ID and drains nearly the entire western portion of Montana. Based on decades of data and observations, it is clear that the Clark Fork River basin is already experiencing changing climate conditions including droughts, increased wildfires, decreased snowpack, shrinking glaciers, and early runoff.