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Climate Equity for Local Government

Climate Equity News

SAMHSA requests input for how to help state, local and tribal authorities
address mental health in the context of climate change  

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is looking for input on how it ought to help local and tribal authorities address mental health and substance use wellbeing in the context of climate change and health equity. Read more here and submit a written comment by October 31, 2022.


Cities, towns and metro regions across the United States and around the globe are engaging in climate action planning. In recent years, the focus of planning has shifted among mitigation, adaptation, and sustainability goals. Best practices now integrate equity. Communities are recognizing that historically marginalized communities often experience the worst impacts from climate change impacts while also not sharing in the benefits from transitioning to a low-carbon economy. These may include Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), the elderly, children, physically and mentally disabled individuals, people experiencing homelessness, pregnant women, immigrants and seasonal workers. Local leaders are increasingly aware that many impacts of climate change reflect the results of systemic discrimination, and they are exploring methods of integrating equity into climate planning while taking advantage of opportunities to address longstanding disparities.

LGEAN's Climate Equity Initiative is a hub of resources and programming for local governments to address the needs and priorities of their most vulnerable populations, including cross-cutting considerations, such as stakeholder engagement, public health, maladaptation and just transition. 

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Stay tuned for these upcoming programs.


  • Equity-Centered Local Climate Action Planning (May 26, 2022)
  • Climate Equity and the Unhoused 
  • Disability-Inclusive Climate Planning 
  • Unintended Consequences and Maladaptive Practices 
  • Climate resilience initiatives as restorative justice


  • Conducting Social Vulnerability Assessments 
  • Health Equity and Climate Planning 
  • Impacts to and Involvement of Immigrant Communities 
  • Partnering with Tribes
  • Youth Action and Involvement

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  • Climate Resolve. Convenes communities, organizations and policymakers to champion equitable climate solutions for both mitigation and adaptation. Areas of focus include urban cooling, transportation, conservation, climate science, communities, wildfire and smart growth. 
  • The Greenlining Institute. Develops and advocates for policy solutions to advance racial equity across multiple public and private sectors. Environmental equity program includes a focus on climate resilience and makes available multiple publications and other resources.  

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  • Climate Change and Social Vulnerability in the United States: A Focus on Six Impacts (EPA, 2021). Evaluates climate change risks to socially vulnerable groups, including low income, minority, no high school diploma and senior citizens. Climate impacts include air quality (health), extreme temperature (health and labor), coastal flooding (traffic and property) and inland flooding (property), analyzed at both a national and regional level.
  • Community-Based Climate Adaptation Planning: Case Study of Oakland, California (The Pacific Institute, 2012). Identifies more than 50 strategies for building community resilience and adapting to climate-change impacts such as extreme heat, flooding, wildfires and poor air quality, as well as rising food, water and electricity prices.
  • Community-Driven Climate Resilience Planning: A Framework (Movement Strategy Center, 2020). Framework for cities to reorganize resources, foster meaningful relationships and develop placed-based innovations that support all people to thrive despite climate disruption.
  • Equitable and Resilient Infrastructure Investments This report explores equitable and infrastructure investments for natural hazard mitigation and resilience, focusing on: partnerships for equitable infrastructure development; systemic change toward resilient and equitable infrastructure investment; and adaptations in finance and financial analysis.
  • Guide to Equitable, Community-Driven Climate Preparedness Planning (Urban Sustainability Directors Network, 2017). Guidance, targeted to local governments, on designing and implementing a more inclusive, equitable planning process.
  • Making Equity Real in Climate Adaptation and Community Policies and Programs: A Guidebook (The Greenlining Institute, 2019). Recommendations on how to operationalize social equity in the goals, process, implementation and analysis of policies and grant programs focused on climate adaptation. Includes examples from existing policies and grant programs to illustrate what the recommendations look like in practice. 
  • Mapping Resilience: A Blueprint for Thriving in the Face of Climate Disasters (Asian Pacific Environmental Network, 2019). In-depth review of existing frameworks related to community vulnerability to climate impacts that identifies both strengths and gaps in the field.
  • Status of Tribes and Climate Change (Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, 2021). Uplifts and honor the voices of Indigenous peoples across the U.S. to increase understanding of Tribal lifeways, cultures, and worldviews, the climate change impacts Tribes are experiencing, the solutions they are implementing and ways that all of us can support Tribes in adapting to our changing world.
  • The "Populations at Risk" tool. This tool, developed by Headwater Economics, generates reports with socioeconomic information about populations more likely to experience adverse social, health, or economic outcomes due to their race, age, gender, poverty status, or other factors.
  • The "Neighborhoods at Risk" tool. This tool, developed by Headwater Economics, shows census tracts that have greater vulnerability to climate change, particularly where people may experience unequal impacts from hurricanes, flooding, and extreme heat.

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Mapping Tools

  • EJScreen (EPA). Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool, combining environmental and demographic indicators in maps and reports.
  • EnviroAtlas (EPA). Interactive tool that decision-makers can use to inform policy and planning in the places where people live, learn, work and play. Provides geospatial data, easy-to-use tools, and other resources related to ecosystem services, their chemical and non-chemical stressors and human health.
  • Community Resilience Estimates (CRE) (U.S. Census Bureau). Interactive tool and datasets providing neighborhood-level information on risk to disaster impacts. The CRE Equity supplement provides quick access to data on a variety of topics concerning social vulnerability and equity.

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Spotlight Examples

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Senior Citizens

See more resources on the Senior Citizens page.

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Unhoused/People Experiencing Homelessness

  • Annual Homeless Assessment Reports (AHAR). U.S. Housing & Urban Development reports that provide nationwide estimates of homelessness, including information about the demographic characteristics of homeless persons, service use patterns and the capacity to house homeless persons.
  • Building the Severe Weather and Disaster Resilience of the Homeless Community (Danielle Every and John Richardson, 2020). Identifies the impacts of severe weather on the homeless community (both people experiencing and at risk of homelessness) and homeless services as well as best practices for mitigating these impacts through policy, agency and individual-level approaches.
  • Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition. More than 860 local, state, and national organizations dedicated to ensuring the federal response to disaster recovery prioritizes the housing needs of the lowest income people in impacted areas. Led by the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Offers multiple programs, publications and other resources.
  • The Global Climate-Homelessness Network. Provides policy, service and research direction as they relate to the implications of climate change for global homelessness.

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Outdoor Workers

  • Biden Administration Mobilizes to Protect Workers and Communities from Extreme Heat (Fact Sheet, 2021). Announcement of coordinated, interagency effort to respond to extreme heat, involving the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, and Agriculture; the Environmental Protection Agency; and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Includes the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launch of a rulemaking process to develop a workplace heat standard, enforcement initiative on heat-related hazards and a National Emphasis Program on heat inspections.
  • Heat Illness Prevention Campaign (U.S. Department of Labor). Educates employers and workers on the dangers of working in the heat through training sessions, outreach events, informational sessions, publications, social media messaging and media appearances.
  • Heaty Safety Tool App (Centers for Disease Control/The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health). Resource for planning outdoor work activities based on how hot it feels throughout the day. Features real-time heat index and hourly forecasts, specific to the user's location, as well as occupational safety and health recommendations from OSHA and NIOSH.
  • Signs and symptoms and first aid information for heat-related illnesses
  • Too Hot to Work (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2021). Assessment of the threats climate change poses to outdoor workers, including a set of recommendations.
  • Worker health and safety and climate change in the Americas: issues and research needs (Max Kiefer, et. al, 2016). Report that summarizes and discusses current knowledge on the impact that climate change can have on occupational safety and health.

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Funding/Financing Resources

  • Check out financing resources here.

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