~ Step 1: Scope

Set Goals & Objectives

As with any planning process, CMSP involves setting goals and objectives. To be effective and adaptive, the goals and objectives of climate-informed plans need to reflect the best understanding of both the current and anticipated conditions in a changing world. This means understanding the climate scenarios, projections, and potential risks posed by these changes to marine and coastal resources in your planning area.


Action 1. Identify the planning context

Clarify the objectives of your planning effort. What sectors are you planning for? How do they complement and/or conflict with one another? How might climate change exacerbate or alleviate these interactions? This stage is a prime opportunity to make a conscious decision to be thoughtful and deliberate about how climate change may affect your coastal and marine plans. A key part of this process is to define appropriate planning time frame. Embracing near- (0-20 years), medium- (20-50 years), and long-term (50-100 years) planning horizons allows planners to define goals and objectives that focus on the present while also preparing for the future.

When developing or revising CMSP goals and objectives, consider the following questions:

  • What do we know and agree/disagree about climate scenarios and projections for our planning area? How will we consider that information as part of developing or refining our goals and objectives?
  • Are we considering climate-related risks and vulnerabilities when developing goals and objectives?
  • Have we analyzed desired ecological or resource conditions over near-, medium-, and long-term time horizons in the goals and objectives?
  • Have we considered possible climate-driven conflicts in coastal and marine activities?


Action 2. Inventory assets

It is important to identify assets that may be at risk from climate change, as well as the resources available to reduce those risks. Catalog assets within the coastal and marine planning area, which may include:

  • Physical infrastructure (e.g., bridges, tunnels, buildings), telecommunications, and emergency services facilities, among others.
  • Technical assets, such as institutional capacity (e.g., city staff, scientists, engineers) and information (e.g., spatial data).
  • Policy resources, such as model codes and ordinances that may support climate response efforts (e.g., hazard mitigation policies, emergency plans).
  • Studies and reports documenting observed changes in climatic factors and extreme weather events, and assessments of projected climate-related vulnerabilities.


Action 3. Scope climate impacts on major sectors

Collect and review important climate information with respect to observed and projected effects on key sectors.

  • How has the regional and local climate changed already and with what consequences?
  • How is climate expected to change over time?
  • What effect have these changes had on the planning area’s key sectors? What are the potential consequences of projected future changes?
  • What are the unknowns or uncertainties associated with the climate information already in hand? Where are the key data gaps?