Domestic Climate Change Adaptation and Equity

20 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2012 Last revised: 30 Jan 2013

See all articles by Alice Kaswan

Alice Kaswan

University of San Francisco - School of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2012


It is now commonly accepted that climate change will lead to sea-level rise, more extreme storms, heat waves, wildfires, changing weather patterns, and the spread of disease. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is necessary, but not sufficient. Global, national, and subnational adaptation measures to reduce climate harm are essential.

This article argues that equity should be a central feature of emerging domestic climate adaptation initiatives. It details how more frequent and intense “natural” disasters, long-term impacts on habitability, and public health threats will have unequal impacts within the United States. The article suggests seven principles for achieving equitable adaptation, principles designed to improve substantive outcomes, ensure meaningful participation, and address underlying socioeconomic conditions.

Keywords: climate change, global warming, adaptation, environmental justice, climate justice, disasters, public health

Suggested Citation

Kaswan, Alice, Domestic Climate Change Adaptation and Equity (December 1, 2012). Environmental Law Reporter, Vol. 42, Univ. of San Francisco Law Research Paper No. 2013-05, Available at SSRN:

Alice Kaswan (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco - School of Law ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States
(415) 422-5053 (Phone)

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