When is a climate change adaptation model good enough to inform public policy?

Climate change adaptation risk management in local government

Jennifer Scott, Judith Preston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Climate change adaptation is a vexed public policy challenge that has necessitated a quick response to manage risk in a rapidly evolving, dynamic environment. Problems occur partly because of the unknown scale of risk arising from increasing atmospheric CO₂ concentrations. This combined with the range and magnitude of the potential spatial and chronological impacts evolving from climate change makes formulating an adequate, appropriate and justifiable response challenging. Legal principles guiding decisions in the courts provide some leadership for councils to determine whether adaptations are sufficient. It is argued that it is the quality of the process governing the determination of the adaptations selected that will protect local government from accusations of maladaptation. This article outlines the challenges in formulating and devising guidelines for adaptation decisions. It considers the relevance and utility of evidentiary tests developed at common law to assess the adaptation choices and whether funds have been used responsibly.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)152-166
JournalLocal government law journal
Volume16
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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