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das interact with federal policy. It is not yet clear how these interactions will play out and what the net effect will be. The multilevel and hybrid character of climate policy (both for limiting and adapting to climate change) presents opportunities (such as for synergistic outcomes) and challenges (such as one level of decision making constraining or negating the other). One of the most critical challenges is dealing fairly with the distributional effects of climate change impacts. Three main sources of equity concerns shape climate policy debates: historical responsibility for the problem of climate change, who will bear the brunt of its negative impacts, and who will be responsible for solving it. Scientific research cannot answer these questions, but it can provide relevant information to policy makers as they attempt to do so.

Research Needs Related to Climate Policy Development and Implementation

Research needs in this area, explored in further detail in Chapter 17, include the following:

  • Continue to improve understanding of what leads to the adoption and implementation of international agreements on climate and other environmental issues and what mechanisms are most effective at achieving their goals.

  • Develop and evaluate protocols, institutions, and technologies for monitoring and verifying compliance with international agreements.

  • Continue to improve methods for estimating costs, benefits, and cost-effectiveness.

  • Develop methods for analyzing complex, hybrid policies.

  • Develop further understanding of how institutions interact in the context of multilevel governance and adaptive risk management.

  • Develop analyses that examine climate policy from a sustainability perspective, taking account of the full range of effects of climate policy on human well-being, including unintended consequences and equity effects.

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