Stream 1 – Climate Action Planning

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LCR Framework / Action Pathway 1

ACTION PATHWAY 1:

Climate Action Planning

Action Pathway 1: Climate Action Planning outlines the six key low carbon resilience (LCR) phases and objectives that guide comprehensive and streamlined climate action planning. These phases follow a typical planning process: prepare, engage, assess, plan, implement, and monitor and iterate. Rather than focusing on climate adaptation (risk reduction) and mitigation (emissions reduction) separately, an LCR process encourages the simultaneous collection and evaluation of climate data to identify synergies for building overall community resilience and sustainability into the future.

An LCR process encourages broad staff participation from across the organization and engagement with key stakeholders throughout the planning process. Building this cross-organizational planning process has proven to be effective in developing climate literacy, cultivating more systemic understanding of climate risk and the low emissions actions that reduce risk, and building shared responsibility for move climate actions into implementation. In other words, by following this integrated planning process, climate action is more likely to become embedded and mainstreamed across investment and finance, procurement, built and natural asset management, official community plans and other community master plans.

The Takeaway: LCR is an integrated and systemic approach to climate action that local governments can layer onto existing planning and decision-making processes to reduce community risks and emissions while advancing co-benefits, or other municipal sustainable development goals, such as equity, biodiversity, and economy.

With that, it’s time to begin your own process. Click through the phases below and begin your tour through the LCR climate action planning process while learning about LCR successes from other communities.

 

Defining Climate Adaptation, Mitigation and Co-benefits 

Climate change adaptation (risk and vulnerability reduction) refers to actions that reduce the negative impact of climate change, while taking advantage of potential new opportunities (NRCAN, n.d.).

Climate change mitigation (emissions reduction) is achieved by limiting or preventing greenhouse gas emissions and by enhancing activities that remove these gases from the atmosphere (IPCC, n.d.).

Co-benefits are the positive social, economic, and ecosystem results of a synergistic policy or measure aimed at reducing climate risks and emissions (ACT, 2021).

Phase 1 – Prepare

Develop a strong foundation of LCR awareness and understanding. Take stock of what has already been done in the climate action landscape, either directly or indirectly, identify data gaps and synergies, and begin to engage across departments with relevant staff, generating awareness about the need for a more comprehensive and systemic approach to climate action.

Phase 2 – Engage

Seek input from senior leaders, relevant staff, and community stakeholders to build support for the LCR approach. Invite relevant leaders, staff, and stakeholders to join the Climate Action Team and convene them for Workshop #1: LCR Kick-Off and Framing.

Phase 3 – Assess

Update or initiate the collection of risk and vulnerability data and corporate and community emissions inventories. Hire adaptation and mitigation consultants for support and ensure their willingness to collaborate in LCR planning through the Request for Proposal. Work with consultants to bring the Climate Action Team together in Workshop #2: Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and Response Options to better understand and prioritize climate risks and identify initial ideas for adaptation options to build community resilience. Bring the Climate Action Team together again for Workshop #3: Emissions Sources and Response Options to better understand emissions sources, forecasts, and initial mitigation opportunities to reduce emissions.

Phase 4 – Plan

Synthesize the resulting data and initial climate action opportunities from Workshops #2 and #3. Convene the Climate Action Team for Workshop #4: LCR Framing and Action Prioritization. Present the data and encourage identification of synergies and trade-offs between adaptation and mitigation options. Use the LCR Decision Tool to co-evaluate strategies for reducing risk and emissions, while advancing other community priorities. Synthesize findings into a draft plan, identifying timing for actions, department leads and collaborators, and wherever possible, budget requirements. In Workshop #5: Review, Approve and Move to Implement the LCR Plan build on the momentum of the cross-departmental process, identifying opportunities to align mandates and budgets to move actions and indicators toward implementation.

Phase 5 – Implement

Create a detailed implementation plan, outlining priority actions over the next five years, key leads, budget and/or funding needs. Identify key indicators of progress and reporting timelines. It’s important to note where climate actions align with existing work plans and identify areas for shared operational or capital budgets. LCR actions inherently multi-task, positioning the organization to pursue expanded funding opportunities (e.g. health, biodiversity, etc.).

Phase 6 – Monitor & Iterate

Set up a reporting structure and monitor progress. Update the climate action plan every five years, monitoring actions and key indicators for their ability to reduce climate risk and vulnerability, emissions, and build overall community resilience. Refine the plan over time, identifying gaps and trade-offs. Remember to leverage successes in order to ramp up both efforts and ambitions to meet resilience and emissions targets.

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“Many adaptation and mitigation options can help address climate change, but no single option is sufficient by itself. Effective implementation depends on policies and cooperation at all scales and can be enhanced through integrated responses that link mitigation and adaptation with other societal objectives.” – IPCC 5th Assessment Report (2014), Section 4.