Phase 1 – Prepare

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Objectives: The first phase of an LCR approach is to identify a strong climate action champion who will guide the LCR process. The LCR Champion will take stock of the climate action landscape, identify data gaps and key synergies, and ensure relevant departments and staff understand the benefits of the LCR approach. For example, the cost saving benefits of streamlined planning and the avoided costs of damage from climate impacts into the future.

One-on-one conversations with senior leaders from across the organization are important to help clarify the linkages between climate action and diverse department’s mandates and work plans. They’re also important to build support for the LCR planning process and ensure the participation from relevant leaders and staff. These conversations help develop the LCR narrative and solidify the idea that improving community resilience to climate change and reducing emissions are not “nice to have”, but rather, are fundamental to ensuring the effectiveness of all municipal decisions over time, including making smarter investments. 

Step 1.1: Become an Effective LCR Champion (page 27 of the LCR Handbook)

  • The LCR approach challenges local governments to reconsider how they operate. As such, it requires a level of spirited commitment from the LCR Champion to establish the relevance, credibility, and legitimacy of the LCR approach and effectively communicate the rationale for LCR across disciplines and mandates.
  • LCR Tip: The LCR Champion must be a systems thinker. Articulating the importance of reducing climate risk and emissions across areas of work and a range of disciplines is fundamental. Collaborating with relevant actors to consider systemic linkages and identify strategic and practical LCR opportunities will help to build the legitimacy and effectiveness of the champion. See page 28 of the LCR Planning Handbook to learn more about the skillsets of an LCR Champion. 
  • Keep the Momentum: Become familiar with leading-edge LCR approaches and actions. Explore and share ACT’s LCR resources to bolster LCR understanding (see LCR Tools, Snapshots, and Resources here). 

Use these Step Checks to ensure you're on the right track before moving on.

1.1 Step Check

An effective LCR Champion has been identified.

 Step 1.2: Take Stock of the Climate Action Landscape (page 29)

  • An important first step in the LCR process is to assess what has already been done on climate in the community, essentially ‘taking stock’ of the climate action landscape. This involves compiling a list of all existing adaptation and/or mitigation plans, and other related assessments, plans, and projects that either directly or indirectly relate to climate change. Compiling this information into a simple database will be important to identify data gaps and synergies across areas of work. The ‘build on’ effect outlines what has already been done, helping to frame the need for more systemic climate action approaches. For a complete list of relevant plans and studies to assess, see page 30 of the LCR Planning Handbook.
  • LCR Tip: The Taking Stock spreadsheet will be a database of existing climate-relevant work that helps identify data gaps and connect departments by identifying opportunities for cross-departmental synergies. The information gathered here is critical for Workshop 1: Framing the LCR Opportunity. 
  • Keep the Momentum: For a sample Taking Stock spreadsheet to get started, please click here.

LCR Quadrant Diagram

This LCR diagram illustrates the benefits of integrating adaptation and mitigation (upper right quadrant), rather than pursuing adaptation or mitigation in siloes (top left, bottom right) (ACT, 2020, adapted from Cohen & Waddell, 2009).


1.2 Step Check

The Taking Stock spreadsheet has been completed.

Step 1.3: Identify Data Gaps and LCR Entry Points (page 32) 

  • The strategy behind the LCR approach comes from coordinating risk and vulnerability (adaptation) and emissions (mitigation) data to streamline resources, save time and money, prevent contradictory planning, and catalyze more systemic decision-making to climate-proof communities and build resilience over time (see the LCR Quadrant Diagram above). To get started, it’s important to establish the state of climate data. Has the local government completed a risk and vulnerability assessment? A corporate and/or community energy and emissions inventory? If these are more than five years old, they will need to be updated. If they don’t exist, they will need to be completed. The data provided by these assessments is a requirement for comprehensive climate action planning. However, remind leaders and decision-makers that these data outcomes have stand-alone importance, for instance, retrofitting critical assets and infrastructure, preparing emergency responses, and planning land-uses and transportation more effectively into the future. Including climate risk and emissions data in all corporate mandates, goals, and decisions (e.g., emergency and land-use planning and poverty reduction) supports more effective decision making and helps transition towards overall community resilience and sustainability. To learn about the requirements for a risk and vulnerability assessment and a corporate and/or community energy and emissions inventory and forecast, see page 33 of the LCR Planning Handbook.
  • LCR Tip: Determining the community’s risks and vulnerabilities first is the ideal sequencing. Different adaptive responses, such as turning on air conditioners in a heat wave or expanding drainage systems to deal with excess rainfall, have emissions implications that will drive emissions profiles into the future. Ideally, emissions forecasts will identify these critical emissions sources to provide a more realistic understanding of emissions profiles over time, as well as key opportunities for low or zero carbon adaptation options, like nature-based solutions.
  • Keep the Momentum: Consolidate these findings into the Taking Stock spreadsheet from Step 1.2 to prepare for Workshop 1: Framing the LCR Opportunity.

Streamline Corporate and Community Energy and Emissions Inventory

Corporate and community emissions inventories are typically undertaken separately. In an LCR planning process, however, they offer a streamlining opportunity. Integrating both in one Climate Action Team (CAT) workshop within the broader LCR planning process and including other relevant community-based data (e.g., surveys) and key stakeholders can help participants think through emissions reduction and the roles of all stakeholders in a more systemic manner. Image from Partners for Climate Protection. 


1.3 Step Check

Determine if the organization has completed a Risk and Vulnerability Assessment and a Corporate and/or Community Emissions Inventory in the last five years. If not, they will need to be included in the resource requirements for Step 1.4.

 Step 1.4: Identify Resource Requirements (page 37)

  • The outcomes from Steps 1.1-1.3 above will help the LCR Champion determine data gaps and identify requirements for external support such as consultants. Due to capacity and/or technical limitations, local governments often hire consultants to perform risk and vulnerability assessments and corporate/community emissions inventories and forecasts. Releasing an integrated Request for Proposals or Quotation (RFP/RFQ) that calls for both adaptation and mitigation specialists to align their efforts through an LCR planning process is the ideal way to streamline limited resources and optimize staff capacity for participation in climate planning. Additionally, this alignment helps facilitate exchange among consultants to prevent contradictory actions and identify strategic actions that reduce risks and emissions or, in the least, examine trade-offs. The LCR Champion leads the planning process and works directly with consultants to ensure relevant staff and stakeholders are at the table. 
  • LCR Tip: The City of Port Moody issued a RFQ for adaptation and mitigation consultants, specifying that applicants must be willing to collaborate and learn from one another in the co-development of an LCR Action Plan. For more information about Port Moody’s process, see Case Example 1 on page 24 of the LCR Handbook.
  • Keep the Momentum: First, identify internal funding sources. Then, look to external organizations such as the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and reports such as the Community Energy Associations’ 2020 Funding Guide for B.C. Local Governments or the ACT 2019 Paying for Urban Infrastructure Adaptation in Canada report for information on external funding.

1.4 Step Check

Internal sources of funding and resourcing requirements for external supports such as consultants have been identified.


The LCR Planning Handbook references ICLEI Canada’s Building Adaptive Resilient Communities (BARC) Framework and the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) Milestones throughout. Please be advised that BARC Worksheets referenced in this Handbook can be obtained by registered municipalities.

For communities following ICLEI Canada’s Building Adaptive Resilient Communities (BARC) Framework, this Phase aligns with Milestone 1.

Community Call Out

Case Study

Leveraging Existing Climate Action in the City of Nelson

The City of Nelson, British Columbia, has long been a climate mitigation leader and has committed to 100% renewable energy by 2050. Working alongside ICABCCI, the city’s LCR Champion, their Climate Change Coordinator, pursued an integrated climate plan that coordinated the collection of risk and emissions data, using a cross-departmental team to co-evaluate ‘bigger win’ LCR actions for the city.

To begin, the champion took stock of the city’s extensive climate work, documenting relevant policies, plans, programs, and projects. She specifically identified areas related to either adaptation and/or mitigation strategies, but also expanded her scope to include areas such as emergency management and community health planning. This initial scoping highlighted the city’s strength in mitigation planning, but showcased gaps in understanding and prioritization of climate risks. In the process of collecting these documents, the champion also engaged with relevant actors across the organization, cultivating a deep familiarity with the city’s climate-related staff and work. This process helped to catalyze LCR support by initiating important conversations with staff across departments and generating interest in participating in the Climate Action Team.

For a sample Taking Stock spreadsheet to get started, please click here.