This article aims to critically review the concept of resilience and to assess how it might be used both to understand and to evaluate local government responses to climate change. The relevance of the resilience agenda is located in the growing sense of uncertainty in the face of external economic and environmental “shocks”. In the UK, in particular, the challenges of tackling climate change, responding to economic recession and introducing major cuts in public expenditure provide an appropriate context within which the utility of the resilience agenda can be examined. In emphasising the transformational view of resilience as “bouncing forward” – as opposed to that of recovery or “bouncing back” – the article highlights a number of features that could characterise a resilient local government approach to both mitigating and adapting to climate change. In acknowledging the emergence of a number of features of local resilience, the article concludes by considering how such an agenda can be further developed by local government. A key question that remains is the extent to which the local creativity, innovation and risk-taking needed for resilience can be developed given the economic and political constraints confronting local government in the UK.