The role of the municipalities includes responsibility for several important services and functions that are affected by climate change. Many municipalities therefore have their own climate change adaptation strategies.

Municipal services and functions that are affected by climate change include physical planning and infrastructure for water, the emergency services, health and social care, schools and childcare.

The municipalities also exercise authority in accordance with various legislation, and are responsible for planning permissions, environmental control, environmental protection and nature conservation. Municipal property, energy and water companies play an important role in societal adaptation.

Since 2018, local planning has included a statutory requirement for municipalities to assess the risk of harm in the built environment in connection with climate change. For example, this could involve risk of harm as a consequence of flooding, landslides and erosion, and whether these risks are expected to increase or decrease. A municipality can also include requirements in detailed planning for a site improvement permit to limit the proportion of hard surfaces in built-up areas, in order to reduce the risk of flooding and the effects of heatwaves.

Climate change adaptation aspects can ideally be included in the municipalities’ risk and vulnerability analyses, to analyse how society can be protected in the event of extreme weather events. For example, health and social care may be seriously affected and vulnerable people can even die in a heatwave. Many municipalities have a specific action plan or strategy for working with climate change adaptation, and  may ideally even have a coordinator for this work.

An online climate change adaptation crib sheet provides support for municipalities who want to work with climate change adaptation.