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 the 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 might even attract new investment and new businesses.
To help community, business, and government leaders translate climate projections into an economic bottom line, EPA worked with the Rhode Island Division of Planning to develop a Planning Framework for a Climate-Resilient Economy. Published in 2016, this framework can help communities assess their economic vulnerability to climate change, improve their economic resilience, and take advantage of opportunities. A pilot community, North Kingstown, RI, helped test and refine the framework.
The framework can:
- Be adapted by communities anywhere in the country for their context.
- Be modified to cover small or large geographic areas and their economies.
- 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.
The framework is designed to be flexible so communities with varying levels of analytical expertise, time, and funds can use it. Some communities can use it to get a “big picture” assessment of their vulnerabilities. Others could use more sophisticated tools such as GIS and other computer-based models and a team of experts to map out specific economic impacts or threats and business opportunities.