To date, climate change adaptation and mitigation have been treated separately both in research and in the climate negotiations. However, a growing body of literature is now being developed that points to actual and potential synergies and trade-offs between responses to climate change and sustainability. This literature has evolved in a spontaneous way with diverse approaches and no common methodology to help practitioners explicitly plan for these synergies. This special issue of the Climate Policy journal addresses this gap between scientific knowledge and practitioners' needs by focussing on linkages between climate change and sustainable development at the level of conceptual framework and methods. In particular, the papers address in an integrated way local development options involving both adaptation and mitigation in order to promote resilience to climate change in human and natural systems. The special issue provides policy and methodological guidelines for linking local deveopment pathways with responses to climate change, based on collaboration between local practitioners, the public and scientists.