Washington, D.C. is taking a holistic approach to climate adaptation, addressing all potential future risks and committing to a comprehensive set of adaptive solutions.

Climate Ready DC is Washington, D.C.’s new climate adaptation plan. As part of a holistic planning process, the city worked with technical experts to develop local climate change projections; conduct a vulnerability and risk assessment of infrastructure, community resources, and residents; and identify adaptation actions. In total, 77 actions will address the identified risks across four sectors: utilities and transportation infrastructure; buildings and development; neighborhoods and communities; and governance. In addition to increasing resilience via the actions, the city also remains committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2032 and 80% by 2050.

260,000 m2 green roofs installed throughout the city

Cities100 – 2017

Four goals set by Climate Ready DC include improving transportation and infrastructure to maintain viability during periods of extreme weather; upgrading existing and designing new buildings to withstand climate change impacts; making neighborhoods safer and more prepared; and, finally, establishing the policies and evaluation procedures to ensure successful implementation of adaptation. In one of the initial steps, the city increased tree canopy cover to 38% to reduce the urban heat island effect.

The challenge

Record-breaking heat waves, flooding and heavy rains, and the Derecho storm in 2012 were some of the reminders that without action, Washington, D.C., would see disruptions to its power grid and face increasing economic challenges and worsening health issues. In efforts to adapt to the changing climate, the Climate Ready DC strategy was developed to ensure resilience, and a greener, healthier, and more livable city.


Economic The city will leverage existing incentive programs for solar power, energy efficiency, and green infrastructure to help residents improve the resilience of their homes and save money on water and energy bills.

Environmental The strategy uses natural solutions, including tree planting, living shorelines, and other green infrastructure, to maximize co-benefits of habitat creation and water quality improvements. Last year, 14,137 trees were planted and around 18,000 m2 of green roofs were installed.

Social Outlined in the strategy are several actions aiming to strengthen community cohesion, encourage active participation in community-based organizations, and expand opportunities for civic engagement and volunteerism.

About Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C., commonly referred to as “Washington”, or simply “D.C.”, is the capital of the United States. Washington had an estimated population of 681,170 as of July 2016. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city’s population to more than one million during the workweek.

Washington D.C.

Washington, D.C.
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Global Goals addressed