Three Ways to Turn Climate Plans into Policy

Cities turn plans into action via budgets, bylaws, and other politically driven, legally binding documents. As planners seek to undo past harms and mitigate potential negative impacts, understanding how to use an equity lens to implement climate plans and policies will help their cities accomplish multiple goals while acting where it matters most.

However, municipal climate and sustainability planning is often relegated to one or a few offices or departments with limited influence. Even when a climate action plan or similar process is completed, poor interdepartmental communication and misaligned goals can impede implementation and achievement of concrete results.

While federal- and state-level support is needed to implement some climate action goals, there are many actions cities can take on their own. Good places to start include analyzing specific targets and potential actions, identifying the most equitable and cost-effective ways to encourage EV adoption, and assessing the implications of an updated building code on construction emissions. Cities can go further by using innovative practices — such as annual carbon budgets, bylaw revisions, and climate-integrated comprehensive plans — to move a plan off the shelf and into the world.

Presenters offer resources and templates to get you started on transformative climate policies and programs.

Learning Outcomes

  • Translate climate targets and strategies into integrated, city-scale policies.
  • Compare cutting-edge methods — such as carbon budgets and bylaw implementation — for acting on the city scale.
  • Leverage your city’s financial planning framework to implement your city’s climate action plan.

The NPC Peer Reviewers assigned this presentation a learning level of Intermediate. For more on learning level descriptions visit our General Information Page.