Planning Framework for a Climate-Resilient Economy

Municipal officials interested in improving the resilience of their economy can use this flexible tool to get a "big picture" assessment of their climate vulnerabilities or to dive deeper and map out specific economic impacts or threats and business opportunities.

Climate change is likely to exacerbate the economic challenges that many communities already face. Having a climate-resilient economy—one that can withstand or recover quickly from climate impacts in the short and long terms—is essential to a community's long-term well-being. Starting to plan now with climate and economic resilience in mind will help a community and its businesses:

  • Protect themselves against short-term shocks, such as storms,
  • Reduce the need (and cost) to recover from a shock,
  • Incorporate economic resilience into other planning efforts,
  • Get a jumpstart on pursuing new opportunities that might arise as the climate changes, and
  • Maybe even attract new investment and new businesses.
Steps in the Planning Framework for a Climate-Resilient Economy

Steps in the Planning Framework for a Climate-Resilient Economy.

Even with tools available to estimate a community's vulnerability to specific climate-related threats, it can be difficult to translate these threats into an economic bottom line and identify ways to become more resilient and take advantage of new opportunities. To address this gap, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency worked with the Rhode Island Division of Planning to develop this framework to help communities assess their economic vulnerability to climate change and improve their economic resilience. A pilot community—North Kingstown, Rhode Island—tested and refined the framework, and the University of Rhode Island's Coastal Resources Center assisted in this effort. 

The framework consists of five basic steps that can be adapted by communities anywhere in the country for their context and can be modified to cover small or large geographic areas and their economies. The framework can help communities ask the right questions to recognize their economic vulnerabilities and identify ways to be more climate resilient, with a focus on helping the business community prepare for and adapt to projected changes and think creatively about ways to prosper in a changing climate.

Last modified
16 June 2021 - 4:06pm