IBES Director and Professor of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences Amanda Lynch and collaborator Ron Brunner, a political scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder, have developed a new model of adaptive governance for climate change adaptation. Their work is now listed in the Climate Science section of the Oxford Research Encyclopedia.
Adaptive governance is a policy framework that empowers vulnerable communities to develop flexible and realistic strategies that will remain effective in the face of an unpredictable climatic future.
“My work in adaptive governance is all about trying to make policy that's modest and redundant and resilient,” Lynch has explained. “And if it's going to fail, it fails gracefully and has resources left over for another try. It's about making policy adaptive and iterative over time. And that kind of policy in a situation of high uncertainty is, I think, the right way to go.”
Lynch and Brunner write:
Decentralized decision-making structures allow a large, complex problem like global climate change to be factored into many smaller problems, each more tractable for policy and scientific purposes. Many smaller problems can be addressed separately and concurrently by smaller communities... What has and hasn’t worked compared to a historical baseline, and why? Each step in such trial-and-error processes depends on politics to balance, if not integrate, the interests of multiple participants to advance their common interest—the point of governance in a free society.
Read more about Lynch's and Brunner's work in adaptive governance in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia.