Planning for Climate Change

Marcus Griswold, Caroline Wicks, Zoë Johnson
Created: 12/18/2013 -


In order to protect local citizens from public health and safety risks and to protect public and private investments, communities should begin to plan for the impacts of climate change that our state is experiencing now and will continue to experience in the future.

Climate change will affect communities and local government functions in a variety of ways. Likely impacts include an increased risk for extreme events such as drought, storms, flooding, and forest fires; more heat-related stress; the spread of existing or new vector-borne disease into a community; and increased erosion and inundation of low-lying areas along coastlines. When assessing what the future climate holds, local governments may find that many of the projected climate change impacts are in fact more extreme versions of what communities are already experiencing today as a result of present-day climate variability and extreme events. Being proactive and strategic in planning for climate change impacts can create opportunities for modifying present-day policies and practices that can increase vulnerability to climate change.

Published On


Beginning with Reginald Truitt’s dockside laboratory in 1925, the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has traveled the road to discovery. For more than 80 years, UMCES students, researchers and faculty have gathered information and developed theories that have helped improve society’s scientific understanding of the environment. By sharing this newfound knowledge on important issues such as fisheries management, ecosystem health and climate change, the Center has had an undeniable impact on the way we think about the natural world.


State / Provincial
Sector Addressed
Development (socioeconomic)
Land Use Planning
Public Health
Type of Adaptation Action/Strategy
Community Planning (developing climate-smart communities)
Create new or enhance existing policies or regulations
Target Climate Changes and Impacts
Public health risks
Public safety threats

Related Resources