New Book Arms Local Communities With Tools to Combat Climate Change

March 2020

(Washington, D.C.): Towns and cities all across America are increasingly finding themselves at the front lines in protecting their citizens from the impacts of climate change. Fortunately, a number of tools just waiting to be used can already be found in many local communities’ toolbox, as illustrated in Jonathan Rosenbloom’s book, Remarkable Cities and the Fight Against Climate Change: 43 Recommendations to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and the Communities That Adopted Them, released this week by ELI Press.

The book presents a variety of approaches local governments can use to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) and/or increase natural features that absorb GHGs, such as trees and wetlands. The recommendations focus exclusively on enacted ordinances (i.e., not policies or informal statements), and the book is organized by actions that remove code barriers, create incentives, and fill regulatory gaps.

“Extreme weather, biodiversity loss, and economic disparities are already testing the survival of many communities, and on top of that we’re seeing an explosion of development that rivals post-World War II land use expansion,” explains Rosenbloom. “Although most development codes are decades old and ill-equipped to confront today’s changes, there are a number of approaches local governments can take to meet the climate change challenge using their existing land use and development authority.”

The book was created as part of the Sustainability Development Code (SDC) project, which provides concrete ways for communities to amend development codes and adapt to new challenges as they occur. The SDC aims to help all local governments, regardless of size and budget, build more resilient, environmentally conscious, economically secure, and socially equitable communities.

Download the table of contents here.

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Jonathan Rosenbloom, currently a Visiting Professor at the Vermont Law School, is the Dwight D. Opperman Distinguished Professor of Law at Drake Law School. His scholarship explores issues relevant to local governments and sustainability, with a particular focus on land use. He is a former U.S. circuit court clerk, attorney for the federal government and a large law firm, and commissioner on the Des Moines Plan and Zoning Commission. He is also the founding director of the Sustainable Development Code, a model land use code providing local governments with the best sustainability practices in land use. Jonathan has degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design, New York Law School, and Harvard Law School.

Jonathan Rosenbloom is available for interview.

For more information about ELI Press, the book division of the Environmental Law Institute, please contact Rachel Jean-Baptiste at