Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments
Within a handful of decades, climate in many parts of the United States is expected to be significantly warmer than even the warmest years of the 20th century, increasing the risk of drought, flooding, forest fires, disease, and other impacts across many regions.
Public decision makers have a critical opportunity – and a need – to start preparing today for the impacts of climate change. Preparing for climate change is not a “one size fits all” process, however. Just as the impacts of climate change will vary from place to place, the combination of institutions and legal and political tools available to public decision-makers are unique from region to region. Preparedness actions will need to be tailored to the circumstances of different communities.
Preparing for Climate Change: A Guidebook for Local, Regional, and State Governments is designed to help local, regional, and state governments prepare for climate change by recommending a detailed, easy-to-understand process for climate change preparedness based on familiar resources and tools. Questions addressed in the guidebook include the following:
- How do you scope out the problems of climate change across sectors of your community?
- How do you raise and maintain support to prepare for climate change?
- Whom should you include on a climate change preparedness team?
- What are climate change planning areas, and how do you identify them for your community?
- How do you identify your sensitivity, adaptive capacity, and risk to climate change impacts – i.e., conduct a vulnerability assessment and a risk assessment ?
- How do identify your climate change priority planning areas?
- How do you establish a vision and guiding principles for a climate resilient community in these priority planning areas?
- How do you begin to develop climate change preparedness goals and actions in these priority planning areas?
- How do you develop a climate change preparedness plan?
- How do you ensure that you have the right implementation tools to take your preparedness actions?
- How do you develop measures of resilience to track your progress and update your plans over time, to ensure that your efforts are really making your community more resilient to climate change?
Preparing for Climate Change was co-authored by the Climate Impacts Group, King County (Washington) Executive Ron Sims, and King County 's climate team. ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability is a contributing partner and is distributing the guidebook nationally to its more than 250 U.S. member cities, towns, and counties as part of its Climate Resilient Communities Program, a Five Milestone process for adapting to climate change.
A full copy of Preparing for Climate Change is available for download as a PDF below. Individual sections of the guidebook are also available for download. For questions or problems downloading the PDF, please contact Lara Whitely Binder.
A limited number of hard copies are also available. To request a hard copy of the guidebook or a CD, please contact the CIG.
Your feedback on the guidebook is important. When downloading the full copy of the guidebook, you will be prompted to provide your contact information for future assessment of the guidebook's effectiveness in helping local, regional, and state governments prepare for climate change. Involvement in this follow-up survey work is voluntary and is not required for downloading the PDF. We hope you will be willing to share your thoughts on the guidebook's strengths and weaknesses, as well as your experience in preparing for climate change, for future editions of the guidebook.
Download the Full PDF
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For additional information on, or assistance with, planning for climate variability and climate change, please contact CIG Outreach.