We’ve just gone through an election with some pretty substantial changes to federal government and many changes at local and state levels as well. The politicians that were elected will be faced with the likelihood of having to put policies and regulations into place that have consequences for impacting climate, either in adapting to or mitigating the impacts of climate change or in pursuing “business as usual” which will make it harder to adapt in the future as impacts magnify. The Georgia Climate Project Roadmap addresses the research that needs to be done in determining which level of government will be most effective at putting policies and regulations into place that will effectively reduce the future impacts of increasing carbon dioxide and other human changes to the climate system such as land use.
40. Which policies, regulations, and practices are most effective at different levels of governance for climate adaptation and mitigation?
Why this question is important: Efforts to address climate change and its impacts in systems with many decision-makers who are subject to different (and sometimes conflicting) incentives, policies and regulations, and operating at multiple scales presents a challenge to policy analysts. In Georgia, it would be useful to assess which interventions or investments are most effective at which scales (e.g., international, national, state, regional, local, organizational, and/or individual) and identify policy pathways that are effective and adaptive, retaining flexibility to respond to changing conditions in the future. The simultaneous growth of adaptation and mitigation legal regimes may facilitate a reasoned and effective response to climate change. Legal solutions can help ensure that local, state, and federal governments, regional compacts, organizations, and individuals both limit climate change (through mitigation) and better respond to present and future climate risks (through adaptation) when making decisions about the built and natural environment. Existing laws could be modified or new laws crafted to deal with climate change (Gerrard and Kuh 2012) and ensure the equitable distribution of the benefits of both climate change adaptation and mitigation (Ruhl 2010).