Legal & Policy Tools for Climate Resilience at the State & Local Level

Project Description

States and local jurisdictions strive to serve their constituent needs by crafting responsive legislation and regulation to meet current conditions, rectify previous inadequacy, and anticipate future need.  Resilience to the effects of climate change presents a unique challenge to legislators because the impacts are both immediate and far reaching as well as entangled with other causal agents.

This project has two goals differing in scale.  The first project goal is to compare Connecticut resilience planning legal needs to other states’ climate resilience legislation enacted in similar areas.  Second, the project will evaluate the specific regulatory needs of municipalities in the affected project area and develop regulatory suggestions municipalities could adopt to meet those needs on the local level.  Survey research on model regulations developed by states, agencies and NGO’s will help to develop regulatory guidance of value to affected municipalities.

Coastal states have similar challenges for climate adaptation and resilience.  By carefully evaluating how states have approached the specific issues facing their jurisdictions, Connecticut may find solutions to our state level organizational, financing, distribution of funding, and authority needs.  The first goal of the project will be to determine which states have robust policies, evaluate their legal framework, and determine applicability to Connecticut.  Strategies that could be applied in Connecticut will then be communicated to decision makers to assist in crafting climate resilient state policy through presentations, white papers, or conferences focused on appropriate stakeholders.

Within a municipality or regional authority, enacting or modifying local law or regulation can be an effective way to address climate resiliency issues.  Local law can be adopted rapidly and can lead to effective change as long as the need and solution are adequately communicated to the public and legal authority exists.  Development of model regulations, communication about the need for regulatory change and direct guidance for how to enact effective change are all necessary components to advance policy change at the local level.

Project Timeline: January 2021 – June 2022

Project Outcomes

  • Presentations to inform policy makers, regulators and the public on comparative climate resilience law and policy that may be utilized in Connecticut.
  • White papers on comparative legal frameworks that could be adopted in Connecticut to support state and local resilience efforts.  One focus will be on assessing how states with similar issues have developed legal structures at the state level to support resilience efforts.  A second white paper or papers will discuss ordinances and regulations developed in other states at the local level for advancing municipal scale resilience actions.
  • Draft model regulation guidance to support state and municipal climate resilience efforts where appropriate and in coordination with state level legislation.

Products will be posted to this site when they become available.

UConn Today Feature Article:

Expanding Climate Resilience with Forward-Thinking Policy Initiatives

Project Fact Sheet


Original air date June 25, 2021 – View slides and a recording HERE 

CEEL logo

Project Team

UConn School of Law