Community and Regional Planning Program


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 53:1 (January 2010), pp. 41–62; doi: 10.1080/09640560903399772 Copyright © 2010 University of Newcastle upon Tyne; published by Routledge/Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


Climate change is conventionally recognized as a large-scale issue resolved through regional or national policy initiatives. However, little research has been done to directly evaluate local climate change action plans. This study examines 40 recently adopted local climate change action plans in the US and analyzes how well they recognize the concepts of climate change and prepare for climate change mitigation and adaptation. The results indicate that local climate change action plans have a high level of “awareness”, moderate “analysis capabilities” for climate change, and relatively limited “action approaches” for climate change mitigation. The study also identifies specific factors influencing the quality of these local jurisdictional plans. Finally, it provides policy recommendations to improve planning for climate change at the local level.