Low Carbon Resilience

ACT - Action on Climate Team is a thought leader in low carbon resilience (LCR) planning and implementation. We help governments, practitioners, businesses, and funding organizations adopt and integrate approaches to reduce climate risk, emissions and advance sustainability co-benefits into their strategies and practices.

What is Low Carbon Resilience?

LCR is an approach developed and led by ACT. It is a step change in climate action that coordinates and mainstreams adaptation, mitigation, and co-benefits in municipal planning and decision-making processes. This approach brings into focus the multiple considerations and trade-offs of policies, investments, projects and decisions made today while acknowledging their legacies for tomorrow.

Typically, climate adaptation planning (upper left quadrant) and mitigation planning (lower right quadrant) are done separately. This draws on separate budget streams and capacities across organizations, leading to siloed and, at times, contradictory approaches. When decision-makers coordinate and integrate data and planning approaches, they set the stage for streamlined and more systemic solutions that, done well, reduce climate risk and emissions, while also advancing other community priorities such as equity, health, biodiversity, and economic development (upper right quadrant). An LCR approach can therefore represent a step change toward sustainable development pathways.

The LCR quadrant diagram illustrates the benefits of integrating adaptation and mitigation (upper right quadrant), rather than pursuing adaptation or mitigation in siloes (top left, bottom right) (ACT, 2020; updated 2024, adapted from Cohen & Waddell, 2009).

The Evidence for Low Carbon Resilience

Between 2018 and 2021, the Integrated Climate Action for B.C. Communities Initiative (ICABCCI) led by ACT, partnered with ten British Columbia local governments, ranging from small to large, and from rural to urban, at all stages of climate action, with the goal of collaboratively advancing and testing the LCR approach in planning and decision-making.

Our collaborations helped connect integrated climate action with a variety of community planning and decision processes and social, economic, and ecosystem goals. This has, in turn, identified entry points and opportunities for local governments to embed the LCR approach. For instance, in asset management and project prioritization, in corporate strategy, through procurement, and in community planning, through land use, transportation, emergency management, urban forestry, biodiversity, ecosystem restoration, and social resilience.

A key outcome of this work is the LCR Planning Handbook and the online LCR Planning Tool. It outlines an integrated climate action planning process that is systemic and cross-cutting and that identifies synergistic opportunities between risk and emissions, while advancing equity, biodiversity, and other sustainability co-benefits. This prevents contradictory responses, streamlines capacity and resources, and moves climate out of the sidelines, instead embedding it as a crucial part of decision-making across the local government organization.

ACT is grateful for the generous support of the Real Estate Foundation of BC (2018-2021). We continue to share learnings and research findings from our case study communities and our peer learning network.

Download our snapshot for a quick overview of LCR

LCR Publications and Resources

The insights and learnings gleaned from ICABCCI partner communities were used to co-develop a leading-edge framework and numerous resources to advance best practice in climate action for other local governments across B.C. and beyond.

Explore all LCR Tools, Snapshots, and Resources

Partnering to Co-Create Relevant Climate Action Tools

ACT is co-creating LCR pathways with partner communities of all shapes and sizes, and at all stages of climate action. These collaborations create best practices, and build the learning and scalability needed to embed climate action within a variety of community planning, asset management and corporate strategy decision processes.

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Cohen, S. J., & Waddell, M. W. (2009). Climate change in the 21st century. McGill-Queen’s University Press.