The urgency to address climate change is centering around two cities at the moment: Glasgow and Washington, D.C. World leaders are converging at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, or COP26, to set pollution reduction targets and clarify other priorities. Meanwhile, policymakers in the nation’s capital are hammering out details on a reconciliation package that could unleash generational investments in renewable energy, clean water, and more.

As important as COP26 and federal programs are, they alone can’t solve the climate crisis at scale. Climate action must also take root at the local level.

Whether shifting energy userethinking development patterns, or conserving water and other natural resources, regional leaders are ultimately responsible for overseeing and investing in climate improvements on the ground. It’s up to mayors, planning departments, transportation agencies, water utilities, and many other actors to mitigate and adapt to climate change over time. And it falls to these leaders to build regional consensus, prioritize people in their planning, and prepare the workforce to deliver on their promises.

Once these major activities end in Glasgow and Washington, the politics of the climate debate—including how much money to spend and what programs to prioritize—will quickly transition to implementation challenges. The local and regional leaders who can best prepare for this moment in time will be positioned to become the climate leaders of tomorrow.

Read the full article about federal climate funding by Joseph W. Kane, Andrew Bourne, Adie Tomer, and Caroline George at Brookings