How can cities and counties plan for climate resiliency?
Communities are on the front-lines of climate change. There is already increased damage to Washington’s communities from extreme storms, drought, fire, floods, and sea-level rise. By taking steady steps with policies, governance, and management structures, and partnering with the state and private sector, communities can become climate-ready.
View the brief.
Best Practice Actions
- Address climate change by:
- Conducting multi-sector vulnerability assessments to understand risks
- Determining areas of highest risk and directing new growth away from it
- Developing community adaptation plans
- Prepare integrated hazard management plans and emergency response plans with neighboring cities, counties, agencies
- Increase local government capacity to prepare for and respond to emergencies
- Ensure all cultures, races, income levels are protected and have a safe retreat in case of emergency
- Develop plans and outreach including vulnerable populations and services they rely on
- Retrofit and prepare public safety buildings (police, fire, school, hospitals) for emergency operations
- Maximize opportunities to take actions that have dual-benefits of increasing community resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (e.g. urban forestry)
- Enhance integrated regional decision-making
- Support economic development to enable all communities to be prepared for climate change impacts
- Develop short, mid, and long term action plans to reduce impacts of climate change
- Conducting multi-sector vulnerability assessments to understand risks; determining areas of highest risk and directing new growth away from them; and developing community adaptation plans.
- Preparing climate change integrated hazard management plans and emergency response plans with neighboring cities, counties, and agencies.
Benefits of Planning for Climate Resilience
- Limits the damage and reduces the long-term costs of the climate-related impacts that are expected to grow in number and intensity in the decades to come.
- Protects people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts by increasing community capacity to monitor, detect, plan and respond to emerging threats and climate-related emergencies.
- Proactively reduces risks to infrastructure, avoids climate risks when siting new infrastructure and planning for growth, and enhances capacity to prepare for more frequent and severe flooding, rising sea levels, wildfires, and changes in energy supply and demand.
- Helps communities prepare for rising sea levels and storm surge and protect people and property.
- Supports efforts to identify existing and new funding mechanisms to support adaptation work at the local level.
Tools & Resources
Connection to State Policy
- RCW 70.235.020
- RCW 47.01.440
- Results Washington Goals 3 Sustainable Energy and Clean Environment and 4 Healthy and Safe communities
- Ecology Preparing for the Impacts of Climate Change
- Executive Order 14-04, Washington Carbon Pollution Reduction and Clean Energy Action
- Results WSDOT, Goal 3: Environmental Stewardship
- Department of Health’s Role – Climate Change
- WSDOT Vulnerability Assessment