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Climate Change

Issue Summary
Other Federal Agencies
Organizations/Non-Government Programs
Databases and Tools

IceburgIssue Summary

Climate change is defined as the long-term fluctuations in temperature, precipitation, wind, and all other aspects of the Earth's climate. Human activities are believed to be responsible for causing recent changes in the climate by altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere. These changes are believed to be caused by the build-up of greenhouse gas emissions coming from cars, industrial facilities, agricultural sites, solid waste landfills, and other human activities. Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have the ability to trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere; much like a greenhouse retains heat. There is a strong sentiment that the continued build-up of greenhouse gases will cause global temperatures to increase and global and regional weather patterns to change, resulting in severe weather events such as floods, storms, and droughts, as well as a rise in sea level.

Changes in climate can affect local communities in various ways. For example, warmer temperatures can affect local economies by causing soil moisture to decline forcing farmers to change how and what types of crops they produce. In addition, warmer temperatures can also impact human health as infectious diseases, spread by mosquitoes and other insects become more prevalent as temperatures increase.

Local governments are in a pivotal position to help mitigate the impacts of climate change, because they have the capacity to inform, educate and influence the activities of people in their community. By influencing greenhouse gas-producing activities such as transportation, industry, and solid waste management, local governments can make a difference. The resources below provide information on programs, publications, and organizations that can assist local governments in mitigating the affects of climate change.


EPA Climate Adaptation Training. This self-paced training developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an online module to help local government officials take actions to increase their communities’ resiliency to a changing climate.

Climate Ready Water Utilities Toolbox: This toolbox provides access to more than 500 resources that support climate adaptation planning at water utilities, including reports and publications, information about funding programs, upcoming workshops and training sessions, models and tools, and climate response materials that focus on mitigation and adaptive strategies.

Visit EPA's Climate Change: State and Local Governments for details on actions by states and efforts by local agencies to address climate change, along with links to relevant EPA voluntary programs that can help states and localities meet their goals.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Climate Change. Provides information about the various ways to mitigate climate change.

EPA National Water Program Strategy: Response to Climate Change. Provides an overview of the likely effects of climate change on water resources and the nation's clean water and safe drinking water programs.

Other Federal Agencies/Programs

Energy Information Administration. This Department of Energy Web site offers publications about greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Provides information about the impacts of global warming on the weather.

National Safety Council. Environmental Health Center conducts education and outreach campaigns about the challenges and opportunities related to global climate change.

DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency. The Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs, within the Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, provides information about the benefits of improving energy efficiency in buildings.


Climate Change State Resource Locator. Use this tool to locate state climate change resources. You will find links to state climate change main pages, state action plans, climate policies and more.

Organizations/Non-Government Programs

International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI). ICLEI's offers skill trainings, networks, toolkits and resources, and information to support local governments taking the lead on sustainability and climate action.

World Health Organization (WHO). Climate and Health Web page provides information about how the climate and weather impacts human health.

Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA). Web site has information on upcoming air-related conferences and workshops, updates on recent events, and on-line publications.

C2ES. Educates the public and key policy makers about the causes and potential consequences of climate change, and encourages the reduction of emissions of greenhouses gases.

Union of Concerned Scientists. This Web site contains information about the implications of climate change.

Northeast Sustainable Energy Association. This Web site promotes energy conservation and renewable energy, and includes information on green building practices, sustainable transport, and outreach.

Cool Companies. Produced by the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, this web site contains information describing how the best businesses boost profits and productivity by cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

Georgetown Climate Center.


It's Hot and Getting Hotter: A Report for Utilities on Heat Impacts. Projects heat impacts on utility personnel and assets through the year 2070 and provides adaptation procedures to reduce heat-related harm to outside utility workers and infrastructure including HVAC systems, water treatment plants, pumps and motors.

Cities, Towns, and Suburbs: Local Government in a Time of Peak Oil and Climate Change. This report outlines action that local government can take to prepare for and address the challenges that peak oil and climate change will bring to local communities.

Databases and Tools

Union of Concerned Scientists Killer Heat Interactive Tool. Interactive web tool to help local governments and communities alike make future projections for the incidence of extreme heat days in cities and counties across the U.S.

Creating Resilient Water Utilities (CRWU). CREAT is a software tool to assist drinking water and wastewater utility owners and operators in understanding potential climate change threats and in assessing the related risks at their individual utilities.

Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program: Tool Available to report GHG data by location, by sector, by size, by gas type, and by facility.

Technology Transfer Network: Clearinghouse for Inventories and Emissions Factors. Provides access to numerous databases, including trends analysis; regional and local air quality modeling; regulator impact assessments; and human exposure modeling. The Emissions Modeling Clearinghouse supports and promotes emission modeling activities internal and external to EPA. The Emissions Monitoring Knowledge Base provides information about monitoring and techniques for air pollution control by industry type and by control technique.

MOBILE6 Emissions Model. MOBILE6, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) model for estimating pollution from highway vehicles, is now available online. MOBILE6 calculates emissions of hydrocarbons (HC), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and carbon monoxide (CO) from passenger cars, motorcycles, light- and heavy-duty trucks.