Climate adaptation: why local governments cannot do it alone

Given the direct impacts of climate change are felt first and foremost at the local level, many have called for climate adaptation to be a local responsibility. Indeed, local authorities have a major influence on climate change adaptation - such as through their land use and permitting decisions. Yet, their actions are strongly determined by the national fiscal, regulatory and policy contexts in which they are embedded in. This policy paper provides an overview and a discussion of the roles and responsibilities for climate adaptation across levels of government. It argues that co-operation across levels of government is needed to strengthen adaptation at the local level. This policy paper was prepared as part of the OECD Territorial Approach to Climate Action and Resilience programme, which supports subnational authorities in their efforts to accelerate the net zero transition and build systemic resilience.