It's All Local? Climate Change Adaptation Policies, Climate Action Groups and U.S. Local Governments

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Elise Richter Saal (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Cecelia WALSH-RUSSO, Hardwick College, USA
Mary WALSH, St. John Fisher College, USA
Since the 2009 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen, Denmark protest events and collective actions against the human-generated global climate change have been on the rise. While recent research (Hadden, 2015) examines the rise in protest events and the spillover of tactics between global justice movements and climate actions, little research has been generated that traces out the relationship between climate action groups and other actors such as local governments within the US. Vasi (2006) asserts that local governments are vital to the anticipated policy changes climate change would bring, and are needed to be understood as key “battlegrounds” for climate change policy and its implementation. As the past ten years have shown, local governments already manage crises. Small local governments have engaged in incremental adaptation assessment and planning to protect energy and public infrastructure (IPCC 2014), but they do not have the resources to develop or sustain long-term adaptation measures (Carmin, Nadkarmi and Rhie, 2012; Homsby, 2014).  That gap might be filled at least in part, by climate action groups that target local government officials to help obtain needed resources, target federal and state agencies on behalf of local government climate adaptation interests, and target citizens to engage in local government climate action planning. The purpose of our study will be to further investigate the dynamics between climate action groups and U.S. local governments, particularly in the development of climate change adaptation policy development. We examine two climate action groups as case studies of the broader climate movement and three local governments of small-size communities within the US as each population grapples with the consequences of climate change on their localities.

Sample bibliography: 

Hadden, Jennifer. Global Environmental Politics. May2014, Vol. 14 Issue 2, p7-25.

Vasi, Ion. Sociological Forum. Sep2006, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p439-466.