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Local climate change adaptation plans in the US and France: Comparison and lessons learned in 2007-2017

As the number of local climate adaptation plans has rapidly grown during the past ten years in
response to increasing threats of climate change, cities and various organizations offer new insights
on climate adaptation planning methods rooted in their countries' planning cultures. To
facilitate monitoring, knowledge sharing, and cross-border comparison of climate adaptation
plans, we have developed a uniform system of 24 indicators, integrating the key aspects of plans'
structure and organization; content and scientific basis; and plan development and coordination
process. We examine here 36 examples of local climate change adaptation plans of small and
mid-sized urban communities in France and the United States and reflect on the experiences they
offer to future planning. Driven by different methodological guidelines, French and U.S. plans
demonstrate different strong points, offering useful insights for future planning. Yet, they appear
to share similar shortcomings on both sides of the Atlantic. The key findings include the need for
clearer planning toolkits for local governments, engagement of diverse stakeholders, attention to
equity, and higher level of integration of plans across multiple sectors and scales. Citizens'
groups, academia, and the private sector should play a more active role in the development and
implementation of adaptation plans.