Climate Action and Adaptation

The climate crisis affects us all but it especially affects the already marginalized, the oppressed, and those most vulnerable in our communities. The science is clear, if we do not curb greenhouse gas emissions enough to avoid a 1.5 degree temperature increase worldwide, we will face irreversible tipping points and negative feedback loops that would be catastrophic for the planet, and most especially, civilization as we know it. Some tipping points have already been reached, such as ocean acidification and sea level rise. For this reason, Coconino County plans to make specific goals and targets that will not only reduce our internal operations' emissions, but our community-wide emissions as well. Both the City of Flagstaff and the City of Sedona have developed Climate Action and Adaptation Plans. Coconino County Sustainability staff and the Green Team are committed to ensuring Coconino County is at the forefront of addressing the climate crisis in our community. With the Board of Supervisors direction and leadership, along with community members, County Sustainability staff plan to develop a Coconino County Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. A Coconino County Climate Action and Adaptation Plan will not only help us to reduce our impact on the environment, but to also ensure our community is more equitable, healthy, resilient and prosperous. If you would like to get involved please email Marty Johnson at 

The County's Current Goals for Climate and Energy

Coconino County Vision for Comprehensive Plan 2015: 

In partnership with our residents, Coconino County is a dynamic community connected by shared values of sustainability, cultural appreciation, environmental stewardship and a spirit of progressiveness. We are a strong, diverse organization, that is flexible, responsive, and innovative. 

Comprehensive Plan Goals

Support renewable energy development

Reduce County emissions, and resource development

Support sustainable development

What is causing Climate Change? 

Climate change is linked to rising concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide, and methane in the atmosphere, which insulate the planet and cause it to warm. At natural levels, these GHGs are good and form a blanket around the earth that helps maintain a consistent range of conditions. 

However, as GHG levels increase, the "blanket" they create gets too warm and alters the earth’s climatic patterns. Reducing these heat-trapping gas emissions will reduce the speed at which the planet is warming, and help mitigate the expected threats to communities and the environment.

The climate has changed many times over the Earth's history. In the past, changes in Earth's climate have happened over long periods of time, giving time for its inhabitants to adapt. The fact that the Earth's climate is changing is not the cause for concern, but that it is changing so rapidly and that humans are primarily to blame is what is so troublesome.

Climate Change Impacts in Coconino County

The climate is already changing in Northern Arizona and has experienced the impacts of climate change like extreme weather. Over the past few decades, Northern Arizona temperatures have increased, resulting in reduced water availability, impacts on community health and consequences for our economy. 

These events are expected to increase, with higher intensity. Explore the drought, fire, flood, and wind events Coconino County has experienced in its recent past. 

View the Climate Profile for the City of Flagstaff and Coconino County for details on historic climate trends and what future climate change in Flagstaff will look like. Check out Grand Canyon Trust's Colorado Plateau Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory and Forecast Report 2021.

Coconino County Climate Profile
Projected changes in average temperature in Coconino County

Climate Change 101 Earth Day Presentation by Marco Alatorre

Resources on Climate Change Basics

Do you have questions about climate change, the science behind it, or what to do about it? Check out the links below for more information and answers to frequently asked climate change questions. 

More Educational Resources

En-ROADS Climate Interactive (Climate Change Solutions Simulator) - En-ROADS is a transparent, freely-available policy simulation model that gives everyone the chance to design their own scenarios to limit future global warming. 

The Climate Explorer - explore how climate is projected to change in any county in the United States. 

ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability - the leading online software platform for completing greenhouse gas inventories, forecasts, climate action plans, and monitoring at the community-wide or government operations scales.

The Status of Tribes and Climate Change -  The Status of Tribes and Climate Change (STACC) Report seeks to uplift and honor the voices of Indigenous peoples across the U.S. to increase understanding of Tribal lifeways, cultures, and worldviews, the climate change impacts Tribes are experiencing, the solutions they are implementing, and ways that all of us can support Tribes in adapting to our changing world. This report was convened by the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals (ITEP) Tribes and Climate Change Program and written by the STACC Working Group.