Communities that are vulnerable to the impacts of climate change need to adapt to increase their resilience. Effective government policies and plans are a key component of this transition, but they are not sufficient in themselves. The community needs to be made aware of the risks, acquire knowledge about the options that are available for a response, and be empowered to take their own actions. Effective public engagement is therefore key to success in planning for climate change. This paper focuses on the importance of public engagement in climate change adaptation policy. It undertakes a systematic quantitative review of the literature dealing with the core themes of climate change awareness, knowledge, and engagement in policy-making. The findings reveal a gap in the existing academic literature on public engagement, its impacts on different types of knowledge, and the integration of both into climate change adaptation policy. In addition, findings show a strong link between public knowledge and engagement that can be used to encourage and motivate the public by using behavioural economics as a policy instrument. The paper also makes a useful contribution by identifying more effective strategies to improve climate change resilience and sustainability.