The Rock Ethics Institute


Climate Strategies

International Level

International efforts mostly encompass global processes and agreements on climate related outcomes. Collaborative research networks exist to support the sharing of scientific findings on climate, carbon cycles, ecosystem studies, human impacts, etc. Global environmental regimes, such as the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), and market mechanisms, such as the International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP), are institutional and economic strategies aimed at putting mitigation into practice and putting a price on the cost of emissions. (See Climate Organizations section.)

National Level

After years of dismissive posturing towards climate policies, national climate strategies in the U.S. are now undergoing extensive development and review. Some steps are being taken by the various branches of the U.S. government, but not until after cases were heard before the Supreme Court and were won in favor of climate related regulation.

State Level

While the U.S. national government has been relatively slow in developing responses to climate change, over half of the states in the U.S. have developed some form of a climate action plan to be implemented across various sectors of the state.

Local Measures

Energy efficiency and emissions reduction is ultimately an issue of local implementation. The structure of local county and township governments can directly dictate the kinds of policies that would be most effective in a particular region, for example, in Pennsylvania it is difficult to implement a multi-township energy plan due to the political and decision-making autonomy of such districts. This sometimes makes it difficult to co-ordinate efforts over a region, such as with land-use management. Large institutions, such as Penn State, can also have a significant effect on regional emissions levels. All sectors of local economic production will need to be engaged in the effort to reduce the nation's overall emissions output.

Industry and Innovation

Climate change presents significant challenges across all sectors of industry and manufacturing, from making the production line more efficient to eliminating certain chemicals altogether from the manufacturing process. Industry will likely need to answer to the challenges of emissions reductions to  adhere to forthcoming regulations, such as under the Clean Air Act, to improve manufacturing efficiency and reduce waste, and to appeal to the appearances of being green, particularly for publicly traded companies. Relatively early adopters of new environmental standards will likely reap benefits of both longer-term savings through energy efficiency, and bonuses from early adherence to regulatory frameworks which can sometimes be based on the successes of early adopters. Overall, reduction of emissions by industry will likely improve the firms competitiveness on the global marketplace, for example, when fuel efficiency standards of American cars are some of the world's lowest, it will be difficult to export American auto technology abroad.