Climate Change Adaptation: The Impact of Law in the Private Sector
Center for Progressive Reform, Briefing Paper No. 1209
20 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2012
Date Written: July 1, 2012
Preparing for the impacts of climate change will require strategic planning and comprehensive action by both the public and private sectors, and each sector influences the other. The private sector generates the overwhelming majority of economic output in the United States and is regulated for health, safety, and environmental purpose by the government. Landownership is also largely in private hands: roughly 70 percent of the land in the United States is held privately, and the federal, state, and tribal governments own the remaining 30 percent. Effective climate change adaptation cannot happen without the cooperation of both the private and public sectors.
In March 2012, an interdisciplinary group of academics, non-profit and business representatives, and government officials gathered to discuss this question: how can the government facilitate good adaptation in the private sector? All participants first discussed economic considerations for private-sector adaptation and a set of guiding goals and principles for governmental involvement in climate change adaptation. The participants then divided into four groups to discuss specific areas of law (insurance law and laws that affect the built environment) and specific resources (privately held natural resources and other private resources). This workshop represents the beginning of a longer and long-term discussion about how the government can encourage, facilitate, and even demand adaptive actions from the different parts of the private sector and how the government can shape the private sector response in a positive manner. The workshop summary contained in this briefing paper provides a starting point to further explore these topics.
Keywords: climate change, adaptation, private sector, insurance, zoning and land-use law, building codes, agriculture, property
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