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Distributed for American Meteorological Society

Adaptive Governance and Climate Change

While recent years have seen undeniable progress in international acknowledgement both of the dangers of climate change and the importance of working to mitigate it, little has actually been done. Emissions continue to rise, and even the ambitious targets set by international accords would fall far short of the drastic cuts that are needed to prevent catastrophe.

With Adaptive Governance and Climate Change, Ronald D. Brunner and Amanda H. Lynch argue that we need to take a new tack, moving away from reliance on centralized, top-down approaches—the treaties and accords that have proved disappointingly ineffective thus far—and towards a more flexible, multi-level approach. Based in the principles of adaptive governance—which are designed to produce programs that adapt quickly and easily to new information and experimental results—such an approach would encourage diversity and innovation in the search for solutions, while at the same time pointedly recasting the problem as one in which every culture and community around the world has an inherent interest.

404 pages | 23 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2010

Earth Sciences: Meteorology

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“In the wake of Copenhagen, this book couldn’t be more timely for those genuinely concerned about climate change and disappointed with the outcomes of climate policies to date. Brunner and Lynch have provided a much-needed reframing of climate science, policy, and decision making in the context of adaptive governance.”

Judith A. Curry, chair, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

“Brunner and Lynch offer a persuasive alternative to the ‘big science, big politics’ formula for combating global climate change.”

Matthew R. Auer, professor of International Environmental Policy, Indiana University

“Brunner and Lynch present a feasible, integrative mode of democratic decision making that, if wisely applied, can avert the disastrous consequences of so many ambitious public initiatives.”

Michael Reisman, McDougal Professor of International Law, Yale Law School

“Finding ways to reduce the risk of dangerous climate change is going to require policy experts and climate scientists to learn how to work together. This fascinating and provocative book is proof that such unusual collaborations can actually succeed.”

Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD; Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC AR4; and author of The Forgiving Air

Table of Contents




Boxes and Figures

1        Clarifying the Problem

An Appraisal

Constructing the Context

The Common Interest

2        The Regime Evolves


Policy and Decision Making


3        Barrow as Microcosm

Historical Contexts


Policy Responses

4        Opening the Regime

Intensive Inquiry

Procedurally Rational Policy

Decentralized Decision Making

5        Reframing the Context

Next Steps

Relevant Past

Possible Futures



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