Quoted from Background Report: Climate Change and Extreme Weather: Designing Adaptation Policy – 3.0 CLIMATE ADAPTATION POLICY

… this report is primarily concerned with community climate adaptation policy. This local lens has been adopted for a number of reasons. First, communities are sites where population and infrastructure are concentrated and, as such, it is at this level that the impacts of extreme weather events are felt most immediately and acutely.

When an ice storm occurs, for example, it is the local responders who render assistance to victims, assess damages and restore infrastructure systems disrupted during the emergency. The imperative to adapt is arguably strongest at the local level, where the current climate already has visible and significant impacts on people and property.

Second, though the broad impacts of climate change can be predicted with relative confidence, greater uncertainty surrounds projections of specific impacts on local communities. What seems certain, however, is that the nature and scope of climate hazards will vary considerably from place to place. For this reason, it is difficult and perhaps inefficient to centralize adaptation planning, as the localized impacts of climate change will demand customized adaptation responses.

Unique local knowledge of current climate impacts and of the community’s capacity to cope with these impacts is invaluable for adaptation policy-making.