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Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X)

Planning for Climate Change Adaptation

There is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach for communities to anticipate, plan, and adapt to the changing climate. Projected climate impacts are not expected to be the same in every region of the county. Local awareness of climate change vulnerabilities differ. Available resources to assess and adapt, financial and technical, vary. A variety of processes and approaches are available to help communities understand their climate change vulnerabilities and take action.

To help communities get started, the following information is provided.

On this page:

A Framework for Getting Started

The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides a useful five-step process that outlines steps that communities can take to identify, assess, and confront their climate vulnerabilities. The site also provides resources (e.g., data, tools, case studies) from across the federal government to help communities put the process into action.

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

The following links, available in other sections of the Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center, are also provided here to help those new to climate change adaptation.

  • Local Government Climate Adaptation Training – This on-line training was developed to assist local government officials understand climate change in the context of delivering reliable and cost effective services to communities, even as the climate changes.
  • Community-Based Adaptation to a Changing Climate - This handout describes the impacts of climate change on local government services, provides illustrative adaptation strategies, and includes examples of community-based adaptation actions.

Many states now have adaptation resources to assist their communities adapt to the changing climate. 

Contacts and Additional Information

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Comprehensive Adaptation Planning

A number of local governments have found assessing vulnerability across the broad range of government services as an effective approach to anticipate, plan for, and adapt to a changing climate. The comprehensive approach can be an effective way to increase awareness and build momentum.

A number of communities have found it advantageous to work collaboratively with neighboring communities to advance their adaptation planning goals.

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Sector-Based Adaptation Planning

Local awareness of climate change vulnerabilities can differ among departments and sectors of a community. Some communities have found it more appropriate to start the adaptation planning effort with a focus on a particular sector.  EPA has developed a number of approaches and tools to support adaptation planning in several sectors.