Adapting to a Changing Climate: Reforming Institutions and Managing for ExtremesRFF First Wednesday SeminarApril 1, 2009
The development of public policy to respond to a changing climate by mitigation has been under way since the 1980s. The building blocks of mitigation policy rely heavily on a 40-year legacy of research in environmental and regulatory economics that informs our understanding of emissions and performance standards, cap-and-trade permit systems, and emissions taxes. The development of comparable policies designed to enhance adaptation to climate change has received less attention. Here, little opportunity exists to draw upon well-tested regulatory tools.
Our panel focused on the challenges of crafting "adaptation policy" as a component of U.S. actions to respond to climate change. Panelists first summarized the state of knowledge about likely effects of climate change on environmental and natural resources, including freshwater, marine resources, terrestrial ecosystems, and built infrastructure. Discussion then turned to priorities in policy design— with emphasis on reforming institutions and managing for uncertain climate extremes.
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