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Delaware Enlists Community Participation in Developing Strategies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Delaware, USA

Government Champion

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control

Cost

Initial:
86 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2020

At a Glance

With climate change threatening Delaware’s agriculture and tourism industries, the state took steps to build a Climate Action Plan. By prioritizing accessible public engagement through workshops and surveys, the state involved residents and businesses in developing strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Problem Addressed

Delaware’s economy, strongly supported by an $8 billion per year agriculture industry, is vulnerable to impacts of climate change such as flood damage and prolonged heat. Additionally, $3.5 billion brought in from tourism is at risk of disappearing as climate change effects such as extreme rainfall and sea level rise impact beaches, businesses, and infrastructure. Sea level rise also threatens $1.5 billion in tax-assessed property value state-wide, further illuminating the severity of the problem at present and into the future.

Based on a 2019 survey supervised by the University of Delaware, most residents support taking steps to address climate change. The state started the steps of building a Climate Action Plan in 2020 but didn't have a clear picture of how it would get communities engaged and excited about the plan.

Delaware used/is using KLA’s planning and engagement services to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

KLA led the design and coordination of all public engagement associated with the State of Delaware’s Climate Action Plan planning process. The Climate Action Plan will outline ways the state can minimize greenhouse gas emissions and include strategies to address the consequences of climate change. Throughout 2020, the state engaged residents and businesses to help in developing the plan.

As a first step, KLA worked with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) to develop a brand, logo, website, infographic, and several fact sheets designed to make the process accessible to as many Delawareans as possible. The higher the level of public participation, the more education the state could provide around measures to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Once the message was out, KLA developed and implemented multiple interactive workshops across the state to educate, engage, and gather feedback from the public and key stakeholders. KLA designed interactive workshop materials, such as a climate change causes poster, that both educated and sought feedback from participants. To expand the ways in which Delawareans could engage in the process, KLA also developed two interactive online surveys whose results provided actionable insights. Going one step further, KLA targeted sector-specific stakeholders by creating a more technical workshop designed to solicit input from these stakeholders.

In addition to facilitating the engagement activities previously mentioned, KLA created a full branding package for Delaware, including unique logos, icons, and taglines. KLA also designed engagement materials to help the state further draw in residents to participate in the planning process; including creating multiple infographics, climate change overviews, and one-page plan summaries that would allow the community to understand and become engaged with the plan’s progress. The finalized Climate Action Plan is set to be released in 2021.

Outcomes

  1. Development of project branding including a logo, website, infographic, and other communication pieces, with the purpose of engaging the community
  2. Design and implementation of interactive workshops across the state to educate, engage, and gather feedback from the public and key stakeholders
  3. Organized a technician workshop meant to gather critical information from relevant stakeholders
  4. Development and complete analysis of two interactive online surveys sent out to community members and used to shape the climate action plan

Something Unique

With such diverse, broad reaching input from community members across the state, numerous distinct data points were collected. For instance, Delaware residents are most concerned about the impacts of air and water quality along with flooding and natural disasters with respect to climate change, more so than disease (e.g. Lyme) or the loss of biodiversity.

Who Should Consider?

States, cities, and/or towns of all sizes faced with the impacts of climate change, but that are unsure of how best to engage their communities in a way that fosters accountability and transparency.

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