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Adapting to a Changing Climate: Reforming Institutions and Managing for Extremes
RFF First Wednesday Seminar
April 1, 2009

The development of public policy to respond to a changing climate by mitigation has been under way since the 1980s.  The building blocks of mitigation policy rely heavily on a 40-year legacy of research in environmental and regulatory economics that informs our understanding of emissions and performance standards, cap-and-trade permit systems, and emissions taxes. The development of comparable policies designed to enhance adaptation to climate change has received less attention. Here, little opportunity exists to draw upon well-tested regulatory tools.
Our panel focused on the challenges of crafting "adaptation policy" as a component of U.S. actions to respond to climate change. Panelists first summarized the state of knowledge about likely effects of climate change on environmental and natural resources, including freshwater, marine resources, terrestrial ecosystems, and built infrastructure. Discussion then turned to priorities in policy design— with emphasis on reforming institutions and managing for uncertain climate extremes.

Audio and Video
Download Event Audio (MP3) 

Event Agenda


Phil Sharp, President, Resources for the Future


Phil Sharp


Panel Discussion


Molly Macauley



Alan Covich, Professor of Ecology, and former Director of the Institute of Ecology, Odum School of Ecology, University of Georgia








Richard Morgenstern, Senior Fellow, Resources for the Future 

James Neumann, Principal, Industrial Economics, Inc   

Steven W. Running, University Regents Professor of Ecology, University of Montana, Missoula

James N. Sanchirico, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis; and University Fellow, Resources for the Future

Audience Question and Answer










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