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

Center for Progressive Reform White Paper No. 1108

Lewis & Clark Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-18

81 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2011 Last revised: 19 Oct 2014

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

University of North Carolina (UNC) at 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

Date Written: June 10, 2011

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.

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

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1862423

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 )

383 South University St.
Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0730
United States
801-585-5228 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://faculty.utah.edu/u0793211-ROBIN_KUNDIS_CRAIG/biography/index.hml

Victor Byers Flatt

University of Houston Global Energy Management Institute ( email )

Houston, TX 77204-6021
United States

University of North Carolina (UNC) at 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

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

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