Policy approaches

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definition: Policy approaches to solving climate change and ocean acidification involve a range of actors and actions, from global frameworks to local municipal actions. They often hinge on putting an implicit or explicit price on carbon or on encouraging renewable energy with preferred tax treatment.


Multiple and various approaches


With respect to climate change, some have argued that Policy approaches should also seek to reform the basis of laissez faire capitalism which does a poor job of pricing in externalities, and take the fossil fuel industry as exhibit A in their case. Others argue that the solutions to climate change also lie in the reforming concepts of economic and social justice. They cite the need to create solutions that are equitable given the history of exploitation of marginalized populations within national and international systems.

Example of Controversy

A debate about policy was on display in the United States election of 2016 in Washington State, when some environmentalists opposed a carbon price on carbon because it failed to include social and economic justice as a focus on the proposed legislation.

As Vox reported it:

 "And yet the left opposes it. The Democratic Party, community-of-color groups, organized labor, big liberal donors, and even most big environmental groups have come out against it. Why on Earth would the left oppose the first and biggest carbon tax in the country? How has the climate community in Washington ended up in what one participant calls a "train wreck"? (Others have described it in more, er, colorful terms.) That turns out to be a complex and ill-fated story, revealing divisions among climate hawks — over who pays, who benefits, and who decides — that will not long stay confined to the West Coast. The future of climate politics is playing out in Washington state, and it is not pretty."


Local action in the US

Although the United States did not enter into the Kyoto Treaty, a group of US Mayors symbolically joined the treaty. This local action first approach has continued to be a hallmark of US policies as the debate at the Federal level has been highly constrained.

"The same day President Trump announced his disastrous decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Portland and Multnomah County became the first city and county in the Northwest to commit to 100% renewable energy.  Oregon's largest city and county passed the most ambitious clean energy resolutions in the country, with commitments to 100% clean electricity by 2035 and 100% clean community-wide energy by 2050." (Climate Solutions newsletter, 19-June- 2017) 

Local action in ....