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Climate Change and the Puget Sound: Building the Legal Framework for Adaptation


Robert L. Glicksman


George Washington University - Law School

Catherine O'Neill


Seattle University School of Law

Ling-Yee Huang


affiliation not provided to SSRN

William L. Andreen


University of Alabama - School of Law

Robin Kundis Craig


University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

Victor Byers Flatt


UNC Chapel Hill School of Law; University of Houston Global Energy Management Institute

William Funk


Lewis & Clark Law School

Dale D. Goble


University of Idaho College of Law

Alice Kaswan


University of San Francisco - School of Law

Robert R. M. Verchick


Loyola University New Orleans College of Law; Loyola University New Orleans

June 10, 2011

Center for Progressive Reform White Paper No. 1108
Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-18

Abstract:     
The scope of climate change impacts is expected to be extraordinary, touching every ecosystem on the planet and affecting human interactions with the natural and built environment. From increased surface and water temperatures to sea level rise and more frequent extreme weather events, climate change promises vast and profound alterations to our world. Indeed, scientists predict continued climate change impacts regardless of any present or future mitigation efforts due to the long-lived nature of greenhouse gases emitted over the last century.

The need to adapt to this new future is crucial. Adaptation may take a variety of forms, from implementing certain natural resources management strategies to applying principles of water law to mimic the natural water cycle. The goal of adaptation efforts is to lessen the magnitude of these impacts on humans and the natural environment through proactive and planned actions. The longer we wait to adopt a framework and laws for adapting to climate change, the more costly and painful the process will become.

This publication identifies both foundational principles and specific strategies for climate change adaptation across the Puget Sound Basin. The projected impacts themselves of climate change in the region were well studied in a landmark 2009 report by the state-commissioned Climate Impacts Group. This publication analyzes adaptation options within the existing legal and regulatory framework in Washington. Recognizing the economic and political realities may not lead to new legislation, the recommendations focus on how existing laws can be applied and made more robust to include climate change adaptation.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 81

Keywords: climate change, adaptation, prior appropriation, sea level rise, planning, disaster law, public health, clean air act, clean water act, adaptive management, flexibility, uncertainty

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Date posted: June 13, 2011 ; Last revised: February 3, 2013

Suggested Citation

Glicksman, Robert L. and O'Neill, Catherine and Huang, Ling-Yee and Andreen, William L. and Craig, Robin Kundis and Flatt, Victor Byers and Funk, William and Goble, Dale D. and Kaswan, Alice and Verchick, Robert R. M., Climate Change and the Puget Sound: Building the Legal Framework for Adaptation (June 10, 2011). Center for Progressive Reform White Paper No. 1108; Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-18. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1862423

Contact Information

Robert L. Glicksman
George Washington University - Law School ( email )
2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
United States
202-994-4641 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.gwu.edu/Faculty/profile.aspx?id=16085
Catherine O'Neill
Seattle University School of Law ( email )
901 12th Avenue
Seattle, WA n/a 98122
United States
206-398-4030 (Phone)
206-398-4036 (Fax)

Ling-Yee Huang (Contact Author)
affiliation not provided to SSRN
William L. Andreen
University of Alabama - School of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 870382
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
United States
Robin Kundis Craig
University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law ( email )
332 S. 1400 East Front
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States

Victor Byers Flatt
UNC Chapel Hill School of Law ( email )
Van Hecke-Wettach Hall, 160 Ridge Road
CB #3380
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.unc.edu/faculty/directory/details.aspx?cid=1022
University of Houston Global Energy Management Institute ( email )
Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States
William F. Funk
Lewis & Clark Law School ( email )
10015 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd.
Portland, OR 97219-7799
United States
503-768-6606 (Phone)
503-768-6671 (Fax)
Dale D. Goble
University of Idaho College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 442321
Moscow, ID 83844-2321
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uidaho.edu/faculty/goble.asp
Alice Kaswan
University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )
2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States
(415) 422-5053 (Phone)
Robert R. M. Verchick
Loyola University New Orleans College of Law ( email )
7214 St. Charles Ave., Box 901
Campus Box 901
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States

Loyola University New Orleans ( email )
7214 St. Charles Ave., Box 910
New Orleans, LA 64110-2499
United States
504-861-5472 (Phone)
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