A lot of the climate change news recently — and I note it below — has focused on climate change “mitigation.” Mitigation is steps that might be taken to slow or to avoid changes in the climate. Of course, that first requires an identification of causes of climate change. That runs into an ideological dispute over whether human activities affect the climate and whether we ought to do anything about it in the United States. That was the nature of the press you surely read around these developments:
- the September 20 re-proposal by EPA of New Source Performance Standards for stationary sources of greenhouse gases;
- the September 30 Congressional Research Service evaluation of those NSPSs;
- the September 27 release of the first working group installment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Report; and
- the October 15 Supreme Court partial grant of the petitions for certiorari in the greenhouse gas regulation cases.
But maybe we ought to focus more on adaptation to climate change. Whether humans caused it or not, the weather seems hotter, colder, drier, floodier, and generally different. We have a lot of infrastructure that depends on rivers and lakes being where they have been, floods having particular return periods, storms being of only a certain severity. I consider whether we ought to focus on the somewhat less controversial problem of reinforcing, rebuilding, or reconsidering that infrastructure in my column this month in the Pennsylvania Law Weekly. To read Adapting to Climate Change, Regardless of Your Viewpoint, 36 Pa. L. Weekly 978 (Oct 22, 2013), click here.