The primary service delivery element of the Climate Ready America system is the Climate Innovation Center (CIC), a one-stop shop for local governments to act on climate – both mitigation and adaptation. While the CICs will have standard functions, each will be customized to meet the specific needs of the communities within their state. Each state needs its own as CICs will incorporate and strengthen existing programs, while filling gaps in climate services.
Where possible, the CIC will be embedded within the state government. However, our Landscape Analysis made it clear that this will not be possible in some states. In those circumstances, existing civic or academic organizations could host the CIC. Existing climate actors in each state will come together to lead the development of their CIC – choosing where and how to set it up, how to invest funding, and how to maintain and grow the offerings of the CIC over time.
Each CIC will receive science, technical, equity, and management support from Regional Support Teams which, in turn, will be connected to federal agencies and academic institutions. This will allow the CICs to most effectively direct expertise, resources, and funding to communities.
What do Climate Innovation Centers do?
Climate Innovation Centers will:
- Provide a networking hub for climate efforts across the state
- Identify and work to fill climate service gaps
- Support implementation by connecting communities with funding opportunities, strengthening their capacity to apply for funding, and to manage projects
- Bring mitigation, adaptation, and equity efforts into alignment
- Facilitate training for climate resilience skillsets: mitigation, adaptation, social equity, and change management
- Provide tools and capacity assistance for small, underfunded, and underserved communities, including connecting local governments with extension and national service programs
- Facilitate region-scale planning efforts
- Support cohorts of communities in developing and implementing climate resilience plans
- Maintain a website with resource links and a Help Desk for personalized support
- Identify and secure additional sources of federal and philanthropic funding for Climate Innovation Centers programs and the communities they support
- Gather and report data from local governments and their partners to track outcomes, develop best practices, assist state policy development, prioritize funding needs, and facilitate national reporting for global climate commitments
- Establish virtuous cycles where positive outcomes attract support, keeping the program growing of its own momentum, until all communities are supported.
What is the support structure for Climate Innovation Centers?
Climate Innovation Centers are envisioned to have several structures to support effective operation and collaboration.
- Host – an organization or entity that can provide foundational infrastructure of statewide presence, climate service experience, and trust within the state. As stated above, this entity can be either within or outside the state government. If no such entity exists, it can be created as part of the pilot.
- Leadership Circle – the leadership body in each state that directs the development of the CIC. Leadership Circles bring together leaders from different disciplines and expertise, including but not limited to climate mitigation, adaptation, and equity. The host organization will have an important role to play in the Leadership Circle, but it is the Circle that will determine the direction of the CIC.