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Coping With Climate: Legal Innovation in the Absence of Full Reform

Robert R. M. Verchick, C. Faye Sheets, Climate Change Law and Regulations: Planning for a Carbon-Constrained Regulatory Environment

In sum, global warming is shaping a future that promises to be a lot hotter, wetter, and drier, resulting in both sudden and gradual changes in the structure, and amount, of land. The rate and intensity of anthropogenic climate change is producing complicated risks for society, propelling us toward what has been called a “no-analog” future that will demand new ways of coping with environmental disruption and new ways of building resilience. The federal and state governments must act responsibly to protect particularly vulnerable populations, deter development that will inevitably put people more at risk, and assess the cause of climate change in a comprehensive plan - a plan which contemplates all of the variances that the phenomena of human-induced, rapid changes in climate is likely to produce.

III. A Federal Strategy

Without congressional action to handle climate change, federal action will come from the White House and administrative agencies. From this federal level, policymaking has focused almost exclusively on mitigation efforts. President Obama expressed this intention in the Climate Action Plan (the “Plan”).13 The Plan focuses on making significant adjustments to the energy sector, with the objective of decreasing carbon pollution and supporting clean energy technology.14 The administration has tugged at the purse strings of big coal and other indust