The Local Official and Climate Change
Contemporary Issues in Climate Change Law and Policy: Essays Inspired by the IPCC (Robin Craig & Stephen R. Miller eds., Environmental Law Institute) (2016)
18 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2015 Last revised: 22 Jul 2017
Date Written: November 29, 2015
This book chapter, which was written primarily for an audience of local government officials, seeks to provide a way to make the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment accessible to the U.S. local official. The chapter also places a special emphasis on issues facing local officials in fast-growth U.S. cities that have yet to establish a concerted response to climate change. The chapter first investigates how the IPCC can provide a common language for cities to talk about climate change as a global problem and, in particular, discusses several sections of the Fifth Assessment of interest to local officials. The chapter then investigates how the Fifth Assessment can provide a framework for working through the institutional problems that can cause local governments to fail in addressing climate change. While politics will always play a role in the effectiveness of governmental responses to climate change, the Fifth Assessment provides a much-needed framework for discussing how the functioning of government itself can serve also as an impediment. Perhaps the most succinct statement to this effect in the Fifth Assessment is that “[o]vercoming the lack of political will, restricted technical capacities, and ineffective institutions for regulating or planning land use will be central to attaining low-carbon development at a city-scale.” This chapter uses this framing statement of the Fifth Assessment in investigating both global problems facing local officials and those that are specific to local officials operating under the U.S. land use legal rules. This chapter is part of a collection of essays inspired by the IPCC Fifth Assessment written by the Environmental Law Collaborative.
Keywords: land use, climate change, local government, IPCC, International Panel on Climate Change
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation