Climate Leaders Summit Report

On November 8, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England Regional Office convened an invitational Climate Leaders Summit at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island. The 140 attendees from government agencies, businesses and regional and non-profit organizations discussed how the regional climate leaders could launch collaborative actions to achieve a more climate-resilient New England. In particular, the Summit was focused on what the climate leaders can do to assist New England municipalities in their efforts to adapt to climate change.

This report reviews the intended goals and process of engagement of the Summit, as well as the summarized results of each session. For example, the Summit began with an interactive panel of municipal level staff involved in climate adaptation planning. These panelists helped to inform the morning break-out discussions on how summit participants can support local efforts in key action areas – and those resulting strategies are discussed. 

As outcomes from the Summit, New England leaders committed to work on six specific actions:

A. Pilot full vulnerability assessments and resiliency planning in one or two communities in each New England state to establish a regional foundation.

B. Convene meetings for state with a cross section of state and federal agencies to coordinate assessment resources.

C. Integrate adaptation planning into local public health and public safety programs.

D. Develop a common data platform for New England.

E. Develop a multi-level communication initiative: making climate impacts and solutions local and personal.

F. Convene a public-private workgroup to scope smarter spending on resilient Infrastructure.

These actions are intended to assist the New England communities in becoming resilient to climate change. Each of the six specific actions is being led by a climate “champion” or group of champions and they are working with a team of climate leaders who volunteered to work on this issue. EPA and the New England states will track these efforts and convene subsequent meetings to move these ideas forward.

Publication Date: March 2014

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