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California Regional Leaders Discuss how Climate Adaptation Should be Governed

by Melissa Higbee, Climate Program Officer Oct 28, 2013









*Image of the Seal of California

On October 24, California’s Little Hoover Commission convened a group of regional government, non-profit and foundation leaders to discuss how climate adaptation should be governed in the state.

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New Fact Sheets on Climate Change Impacts in Your Region

by Don Knapp Jun 26, 2013

Climate Nexus has prepared a set of regional fact sheets on climate change trends and their respective recent impacts in U.S. regions. PDFs are available here and at the links below (Alaska and Hawaii/islands coming soon):


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Mayors Speak Out on Resilience: Highlights from National Press Club

by Don Knapp Jun 19, 2013

The Resilient Communities for America campaign launch made waves in Washington DC and around the country. On Monday June 17, 2013, when we announced to national media that 45 top mayors had signed the Agreement and committed to action on extreme weather and energy challenges, we also brought together five leading elected officials to the National Press Club for our campaign launch.

They hailed from some of the must vulnerable regions across the country and shared in vivid detail the climate change challenges they face, and how they are responding. They called on their fellow local elected officials to join them in actions to create stronger, more prepared communities.

The campaign partners are deeply grateful to our speakers: Mayor Vincent C. Gray of Washington DC; Mayor John Cool of El Paso, TX; Mayor Frank Cownie of Des Moines, IA; Mayor Joy Cooper of Hallandale Beach, FL; and Supervisor Salud Carbajal of Santa Barbara County, CA.

Read on for highlights from their speeches at the press conference and luncheon event.

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45 Top Mayors Pledge Action on Extreme Weather, Launch National Resilience Campaign

by Don Knapp Jun 15, 2013

The Resilient Communities for America campaign launches today: The mayors of Washington DC, Denver, Cincinnati, Sacramento, San Diego, Milwaukee, El Paso, Broward County and many others commit to creating more resilient cities and counties in response to nation’s growing extreme weather, climate and energy challenges


Forty five leading local elected officials today committed to creating more resilient cities, towns, and counties in the face of unprecedented extreme weather and energy challenges that threaten communities across the country. The “Inaugural Signatories” of the Resilient Communities for America Agreement letter pledged to take cost-effective actions to prepare and protect their communities from the increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by climate change, such as heat waves, floods, droughts, severe storms, and wildfires. In addition, they called for more action and support from federal leaders.

Learn more at

Campaign Chair Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento: "Make a Commitment"

“A new national movement is emerging, led by mayors who believe that now is the time to take powerful, proactive steps to safeguard our communities, adapt to extreme weather and energy challenges, and transform adversity into economic opportunity,” said Mayor Kevin Johnson of Sacramento, CA, Chair of the Resilient Communities for America campaign. “Today I call on my fellow mayors and county leaders across the country to join the campaign and make your own commitment to creating more resilient communities that are strong, self-reliant, prepared, and prosperous.”

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Eugene, OR, Reduces Energy Consumption & Carbon Footprint

by Don Knapp Apr 29, 2013

Even as its population grows, Eugene, OR is decreasing its energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, setting an example for cities nationwide. A 2013 progress report on the city's Community Climate and Energy Action Plan highlighted progress toward key goals on energy and fossil fuel use, land use and transportation, climate adaptation and community resilience, and other areas.

>> View the Progress Report (pdf)

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Earth Day Focus: 20 Cities & Counties Leading on Climate Resilience

by Don Knapp Apr 21, 2013

Earth Day is the perfect moment to focus on the biggest emerging environmental issue in 2013: the need for more resilient communities that can bounce back from destructive extreme weather fueled by climate change.

ICLEI USA is getting things started with our fact sheet on 20 cities and counties taking the lead on resilience -- from Atlanta to El Paso to San Diego. Read about how extreme weather impacts them, and what they're doing in response to keep their communities strong. What is your community doing to create resilience? To learn more about what actions local government can take and how ICLEI can help, visit our Climate Adaptation page.

Get the Fact Sheet (pdf)


What Is a Resilient Community?

A resilient community is able to bounce back from disruptions—-climate, energy, economic-—in a sustainable way and maintain a good quality of life for all.

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Broward County Incorporates Climate Change into Plans, Targets 'Adaptation Action Areas'

by Don Knapp Mar 24, 2013

Photo credit: Robert DeMeo via Wikimedia Commons

Broward County, FL, is strengthening its commitment to community resilience and climate action, and in the process pioneering innovations in climate adaptation planning. In February 2013, the Broward County Board of County Commissioners adopted a Climate Change Element as part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan, and also updated the County's Land Use Plan with a climate amendment.

Mayor Kristin Jacobs noted that “the development of this element has been a two-year effort to address climate mitigation and adaptation in our planning documents. Broward continues to provide leadership in taking steps to recognize the consequences of climate change in our community and to adopt policies to reduce risk and enhance our resilience to sea level rise.”

The Climate Element includes a broad range of policies that will protect residents, businesses, and key infrastructure from extreme weather and rising sea levels, and take smart steps to lower energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Adaptation Action Areas

One of the most noteworthy is Policy 19.3.13, which states that "Broward County shall by 2017, work with its local municipalities to designate Adaptation Action Areas, per Florida State Law, using a Priority Planning Areas for Sea Level Rise Map (right, click to view larger map) as a basis for identifying areas especially vulnerable to sea level rise, in order to develop policies for adaptation and enhance the funding potential of infrastructure adaptation projects."

Broward is the first local government in Florida to amend its comprehensive plan to provide for the Adaptation Action Areas designation.

A separate policy in the updated Land Use Plan will "evaluate plan amendments within Priority Planning Areas for Sea Level Rise and strongly discourage those amendments which would place additional residential and non-residential development at risk of flooding from sea level rise."

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Nominate a Community Resilience Leader as a 'Champion of Change'

by White House Council on Environmental Quality Public Engagement Team Mar 04, 2013

Hurry! This Friday, March 8 is the deadline to nominate a friend of colleague to be a "Champion of Change" for their work to create a more resilient community. Here's the announcement from the White House CEQ:

The White House Champions of Change program highlights the stories and examples of citizens across the country who are “Winning the Future” with projects and initiatives that move their communities forward.

This April, the White House Council on Environmental Quality will host a Champions of Change event for citizen, business, and community leaders who are working to prepare their cities and towns for the unavoidable consequences of climate change. We are asking for your help to identify those you consider to be Community Resilience Leaders and “Champions of Change.” These individuals are innovators and creative thinkers working tirelessly to ensure community resilience in the face of costly climate-related impacts. We want to recognize and learn from these leaders and share climate preparedness strategies that will protect generations to come and create a more resilient and prosperous America today, one community at a time.

>> Learn More

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What the National Climate Assessment Means for Local Governments

by Don Knapp Feb 05, 2013

Have you perused the Draft National Climate Assessment (NCA) yet? Consider this 1,000-page report an invaluable resource for your local government -- a gold mine of information and insight. The Assessment can help guide your planning and policy efforts, build the case for action on adaptation and resilience, and even help you create a better sustainability or climate action plan.

View the Draft Assessment

Submit Comments (deadline April 12)

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In Hottest Year on Record, a Wake Up Call for Cities and Counties

by Don Knapp Jan 07, 2013

It’s official: Today NOAA announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record for the continental United States, and the second most extreme year on record in terms of severe weather events. Nearly two dozen U.S. cities broke or tied their maximum temperature records.

A powerful way to make sense of this historic year and what it means for our nation and our future is to zoom in and examine the impacts of extreme weather at the community level, where we can see first-hand how a warming world is affecting our safety, our health, and our economic well-being. It's also where we find immediate solutions. As Sandy taught us, local governments are the first responders after storms destroy infrastructure—or heat waves roast apartment buildings, or floodwaters inundate main street. And they are responsible not just for emergency response but proactive planning to create more prepared, resilient communities.


Fact Sheet on Local Governments, Extreme Weather and Climate Change 2012

ICLEI has developed a fact sheet detailing how 20 leading cities and counties have experienced extreme weather in 2012—as well as the past several years—and what actions they are taking to protect their community members, infrastructure, and economic assets. Click to view examples from Norfolk and Broward County to Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Eugene, OR.

Get the Fact Sheet (pdf)

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