Report: Climate Resilient Cities will have the Competitive Edge

Press Release
October 22, 2020
Contact: Alec Gerlach,, 703-516-0621

Report: Climate Resilient Cities will have the Competitive Edge
Explores Climate Risks Cities Face & Opportunities in Climate Readiness

Read the Report

WASHINGTON—The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) today released a new report that answers critical questions of how cities can protect economic competitiveness in the face of chronic climate impacts. The Resilience Factor: A Competitive Edge for Climate-Ready Cities explores how three key aspects of city competitiveness will be impacted as climate impacts worsen: city finances, economic development, and livability; and it calls for better coordination, safeguards for vulnerable neighborhoods, and consideration of climate-readiness in economic development planning.

Read The Resilience Factor: A Competitive Edge for Climate-Ready Cities

View the digital scrolling story: Factoring in Resilience for City Competitiveness

The report found climate preparedness is playing an increasingly influential role in the economic competitiveness of cities, while cities that fail to address the challenges may fall behind. To realize potential gains and avoid losses, they need a concerted effort across sectors and government.

“Cities are well aware the burden of preparing for climate change is theirs. They’re also learning that addressing those challenges can make them more competitive and economically sound across the board,” said C2ES President Bob Perciasepe. “While we focus on the dramatic effects of extreme weather worsened by climate change, cities have to also face the daily stresses their communities and neighborhoods are struggling with as climate change amplifies the vulnerabilities of flooding, heat, and drought. But private sector partners can be effective working with cities, and now is the time for the federal government to step up with support and partnership.”

The report will be the subject of a 1:15 PM ET virtual briefing today: Register here

Enhanced climate resilience could protect and even improve cities’ competitive standing as investors and credit rating agencies increasingly include climate-preparedness in assessments. C2ES highlights emerging resilience practices that cities are using to address these issues.

Key Findings include:

  • Local climate vulnerabilities are becoming more important to businesses, investors, insurers, and residents, and by addressing these risks, cities can strengthen their finances, attract investors, and improve livability.
  • City and industry experts agree that growing climate impacts need to be considered in economic development planning.
  • A lack of coordination prevents city leaders from having a complete understanding of climate risks and potential benefits of resilience actions. More coordination will help connect these dots and prioritize resilience actions that benefit economic competitiveness.
  • Enhancing climate resilience can help cities avoid future losses by minimizing direct and indirect damages and costs; at the same time, resilience can open the door to new economic opportunities, such as increased tax revenues, new job markets, increased borrowing capacity, and enhanced livability.

The Resilience Factor: A Competitive Edge for Climate-Ready Cities recommends:

  • A cohesive federal and state resilience policy landscape with adequate resources for local governments;
  • Federal and state protections and resources to protect disadvantaged communities from negative impacts arising from changing risk-management steps taken by the private sector;
  • Increased collaboration between city departments, agencies, and regional entities;
  • Enhanced local protections and investments for low-income and marginalized communities; and
  • Private sector support to improve local governments’ abilities to assess climate risk, invest in resilience, and adopt better financial protections.

During this two-year research project, C2ES conducted 38 interviews and a private workshop, including representatives from cities, regional organizations, climate consultants, and companies, and analyzed local planning documents to understand how cities are addressing climate threats.


About C2ES: The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES) is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to forge practical solutions to climate change. Our mission is to advance strong policy and action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote clean energy, and strengthen resilience to climate impacts. Learn more at