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 differs. Financial, technical and other resources to assess and adapt vary. A variety of processes and approaches are available to help communities understand their climate change vulnerabilities and take action.
Many organizations and agencies provide resources to help municipalities and counties understand and plan for the impacts of climate change. It can be overwhelming. With ERIT, we have done some of the searching for you. We present the best resources to get you started and strategies and case studies most relevant to Indiana and other Midwestern communities. We will update ERIT with more information as we learn of it, and welcome your suggestions. And, if you don’t find what you are looking for in ERIT, contact us and we will help you find it.
What Changes are Expected?
Generally, impacts from climate change in the US include more hot weather, changes in frequency and severity of storms and in seasonal precipitation, sea level rise, drought, increased wildfires and changes to air and water quality. But impacts will vary across the country. In the Midwest, we don’t worry so much about sea level rise, but hotter weather and increased flooding from more extreme storms will affect us significantly. Check the resources in your state to see if there are state or region-specific reports on expected changes. In Indiana, the 2018 Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment provides excellent information from Indiana scientists on a range of expected climate-change related impacts.
How Do I Get Started with Assessment and Planning?
The U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit provides a straightforward five-step process that communities can use 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.
The following links to USEPA's ARC-X provide other helpful resources 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. Click here for contacts and additional information.
Comprehensive Adaptation Planning
A number of local governments have found that assessing vulnerability across the broad range of government services is 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.
- See the process that local experts used to create a climate adaptation plan for the Indiana Dunes.
- See the process by which the Boston city government assessed vulnerability and developed an adaptation plan to respond to sea level rise and other climate risks.
- See how the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments developed an adaptation plan with policy options for the consideration of its local jurisdictions.
A number of communities have found it advantageous to work collaboratively with neighboring communities to advance their adaptation planning goals.
- See how South Florida counties and municipalities partnered to develop a comprehensive sea level rise assessment.
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. USEPA has developed a number of approaches and tools to support adaptation planning in several sectors.