Dominant global climate change narratives and framings frequently do not translate well into local adaptation decision making. Narratives, such as increasing droughts, increasing flooding, and more frequent extreme events, are often not supported by climate science evidence at the local scale. Even if plausible at the local scale, they potentially dominate other more important local scale climate and non-climate risks. Additionally, framings such as the impact of 1.5°C or 2°C global warming are frequently inappropriate and unhelpful in local decision making, despite being powerful drivers of global policy. A more nuanced and locally informed understanding of climate risk and its interplay with non-climate risks is urgently needed, particularly in complex development contexts such as cities.