Climate change is a global issue and thus it can be challenging to for individual cities, regions, states, and nations to determine how they can contribute to reducing, monitoring, regulating, or mitigating climate change effects. However, many jurisdictions are taking efforts to address climate change locally. While much of the research on climate change is focused on environmental health outcomes, human health outcomes also are apparent. In general, climate change, itself, does not cause health problems; however, human health is affected indirectly through the relationship of climate change to air pollution, water pollution, weather patterns, and the spreading of disease. In this context, planners play an important role in affecting development patterns, transportation systems, and regulations in ways to reduce greenhouse gases emissions and protect carbon sinks, such as forests, wetlands, and agricultural lands.
Design for Health (DFH) Materials
- Planning Information Sheet: Addressing Climate Change with Comprehensive Planning and Ordinances (336 KB)
- Image Resources
- Topical Planning Guides
- Comprehensive Plan Review Checklists
- Example Plans
Reports and Guidelines
- American Planning Association. Policy Guide on Planning Climate Change. (180 KB)
APA argues that planners need to do more than just encourage higher density development patterns, reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT), and use of green building techniques. Effective public transportation systems and more coordinated land use-transportation planning can also serve to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and possibly local and regional air pollution. Due to the extent of predicated climate change issues, APA argues that planners will need to not only mitigate but also adapt planning efforts such as address greater drought conditions and new flooding circumstances. APA recommends a balanced approach including a mix of education (providing more complete information so decision-makers make better choices), incentives (whether through funding or other means) and regulation (at federal, state and local levels).
- Urban Planning Tools for Climate Change Mitigation from the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy in 2009.
- First Assessment Report of the Urban Climate Change Research Network in 2011.
- Environmental Protection Agency
The EPA has a Web site listing all state and local action plans on climate change. The EPA also has a helpful matrix of cities with local climate change plans explaining which planning topics they deal with.
- The World Health Organization’s European Office provides information on health effects of climate change.
- The international WHO also provides information on climate change adaptation and health and on the green economy and health (related to climate change).
- ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability
ICLEI is an international association of local governments and national and regional local government organizations that have made a commitment to sustainable development. ICLEI works with hundreds of other local governments through international performance-based, results-oriented campaigns and programs. ICLEI serves as an information clearinghouse on local sustainable development, producing annual newsletters, regional updates on activities, case studies, training guides, and fact sheets.
- Centers for Disease Control
The CDC has a wealth of online information dealing with climate issues including information of its Policy on Climate Change and Public Health Scientific Framework.