Alejandro Camacho at the University of California Irvine School of Law has recently released an interesting paper titled “Adapting Governance to Climate Change: Managing Uncertainty through a Learning Infrastructure.” There is a dearth of legal scholarship on the implications of climate change for governance, particularly as it relates to climate adaptation, and this study admirably fills that gap. Camacho identifies “unprecedented uncertainty” as the key challenge (incidentally, that’s the framework that drives our work at the Center), and outlines a recommended framework for the U.S. Congress to build the capacity of the U.S. government to “cope with the effects of climate change.” From the abstract:
The Article identifies unprecedented uncertainty as the paramount impediment raised by climate change, and demonstrates how existing fragmented governance is poorly adapted to deal with this challenge. Drawing on lessons from prior regulatory experiments, it proposes a comprehensive strategy for managing uncertainty that promotes interagency information sharing. It also recommends that legislators adopt an “adaptive governance” framework that requires agencies to systematically monitor and adapt their decisions and programs. This learning infrastructure would promote agency learning and accountability, help manage uncertainty, and reduce the likelihood and magnitude of mistakes expected to come with facing such an exceptional problem with initially imprecise tools.
Certainly worth a read.