Lessons Learned on Local Climate Adaptation from the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative

This report summarizes the main findings of the Center for Clean Air Policy (CCAP)'s Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative. In partnership with government leaders from ten large counties and cities, CCAP launched the Initiative to foster local climate adaptation efforts and to develop and implement climate resilient strategies. This report provides an assessment of general lessons learned over the course of the project and thoughts about future directions for local climate adaptation.

The importance of changing how adaptation is perceived has been one of the primary lessons learned from the Urban Leaders Adaptation Initiative - particularly in the context of creating greater community resilience. Urban Leaders partners experimented with linking climate adaptation and sustainability as a means of advancing adaptive policies and actions, especially when many of the solutions are similar (conserving water, managing storm-water, planting trees). They also found that communicating the multiple benefits of adaptation strategies can be especially useful for developing public support for initiatives. Other effective approaches discussed in the report include comprehensive planning, using “no-regrets” strategies, and mainstreaming adaptation efforts into existing policies.

The Urban Leaders partners included: Chicago; King County (Washington); City of Los Angeles, Miami-Dade County (Florida); City of Milwaukee; Nassau County (New York); New York City; Phoenix; San Francisco; and Toronto. The goals of the project were exploring and catalyzing adaptation to climate change at the local level, spreading adaptation best practices from partners to other local and professional communities, and influencing national and state climate adaptation policies.


Publication Date: February 2011

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  • Best practice
  • Case study

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