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Adaptation and Resilience

Vermont is seeing natural hazards of increased intensity, duration, and frequency due to climate change. Severe storms, winter storms, drought, flooding, wildfires, temperature extremes, localized wind, and public health impacts are a few of the hazards that we are already experiencing. The effects of extreme weather are felt particularly acutely in cities and towns, and often result in the costliest damages. Coupled with other stressors such as economic inequality and deteriorating public infrastructure, some communities are more vulnerable to climate change impacts than others. The past 10 years have seen a significant increase in the number of Major Disasters declared in Vermont, and the choices we make today can increase the adaptive capacity of the next generation of Vermonters. Strengthening the climate resilience of Vermont demands that we take a range of climate-focused actions, while also addressing deep-rooted systemic inequities.

Climate resilience and adaptation are often discussed together, but it is helpful to distinguish between them:

• Adaptation is an action or set of actions that reduce physical climate risk to natural and built systems and structures.

• Resilience describes a state of readiness of individuals, communities, and natural and built systems to face climate risks.

Taking steps to prepare for the impacts of climate change is called adaptation, while a series of adaptive steps contributes to resilience.

Working with state, regional, and local partners, the Climate Action Office seeks to build capacity at all levels to plan for and implement climate adaptation projects. With a focus on equipping municipalities with the tools and resources to identify their vulnerabilities to climate change and then taking steps to increase resilience to those hazards, Vermont will be better prepared to meet and grow from the new normal of climate change.


Ongoing work

Municipal Climate Toolkit

The Toolkit will provide a centralized source of information relevant to municipalities for designing and implementing climate action measures. The work to develop the toolkit is ongoing and is expected to be completed in Winter 2024.

Municipal Vulnerability Indicator tool

The purpose of the Municipal Vulnerability Indicator tool (MVI) is to provide a tool that will support individuals and communities in assessing their preparedness for and resilience to the impacts of climate change. Specifically, the MVI is intended to help communities assess where they may be most adversely affected by climate change, focusing on the pressures that climate change will place on Vermont’s transportation, electric grid, housing, emergency services, and communications infrastructure, with particular attention to the challenges faced by rural communities across the state in addressing these pressures.