STAR Climate Change Guide

The STAR Communities online Climate Change Guide was developed to help communities address climate change within their sustainability planning process. The guide utilizes the STAR Community Rating System to offer user-friendly guidance to advance local government efforts toward climate change mitigation and adaptation. The STAR Community Rating System is a leading framework and certification program in the U.S. for evaluating local sustainability through economic, environmental, and social performance measures.

STAR suggests that communities can use the Climate Change Guide to support new climate action planning, expand existing efforts, implement climate pledges, and advocate for new efforts. The tool offers specific guidance and local examples for wet and dry climates, and high- and low-density communities.

Specifically, the guide can support communities to:

▪ Make informed and supported climate action decisions;

▪ Sort through and prioritize the many potential climate action strategies and actions;

▪ Identify and categorize community systems for climate efforts;

▪ Align climate efforts to existing priority areas;

▪ Build support and develop narratives that highlight climate action’s multiple co-benefits; and

▪ Lay out a plan for comprehensive climate action.

The Adaptation section of the guide offers a roadmap for using the STAR Community Rating System to determine and categorize potential local systems for adaptation action, assess vulnerability and risk, and prioritize adaptive efforts that match existing priorities.

The guide walks the user through the steps to prioritizing climate adaptation work including:

Step 1: Identify hazards and community systems for assessment

Step 2: Vulnerability assessment

Step 3: Risk assessment

Step 4: Overlay hazards, vulnerabilities, and risks

Step 5: Overlay findings with existing priorities and determine actions

Once adaptation priorities are identified, communities can use the STAR Community Rating System to find relevant metrics, best practices, and guidance on adapting priority systems. 



Publication Date: June 28, 2017

Related Organizations:

  • STAR Communities


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides
  • Tool (general)

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