Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Whitney McIntyre Miller

Second Advisor

Margaret Grogan

Third Advisor

Paul Kosempel

Fourth Advisor

Dawn Hunter


Given the increasing rate of anthropogenic climate change and the resulting climate impacts that communities around the world will be coping with over the next century, it is becoming increasingly important that communities, cities, and regions begin to develop climate action plans that will assist them in coping with climate impacts. As a result, it is becoming evident that understanding how to effectively develop a climate action plan (CAP) and engage a community in the climate action planning process is a question at the forefront for many municipalities. This research utilized case study to examine the process the City of Imperial Beach engaged in to draft its CAP in an effort to understand the strengths the city was able to leverage and challenges the city faced. A chronological time-series was developed to assist in understanding the critical events that must take place in order to develop a CAP. Findings revealed that the CAP process in Imperial Beach was a years’ long effort championed by city council members and pushed forward by city staff and community members. The central themes found in this case study were community engagement, collaboration, environmental justice, and political polarization. Finally, the findings of this case study were viewed through the lens of complexity leadership theory in order to draw conclusions about the leadership needs in the CAP process.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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