Adapting Laws for a Changing World – A Systemic Approach to Climate Change Adaptation


Victor B. Flatt


This Essay suggests that policy responses in climate change adaptation must be addressed and that focusing on adapting laws may be a good way to undertake this work. Following a review of existing scholarship and normative theories concerning law generally, environmental law, climate change, and adaptation, thise Essay then proposes a template for approaching the adaptation of laws. This template would (1) examine where climate change puts pressure on the operation of laws; (2) seek to alter the implementation of that law or to alter the law itself to hew closely to the law’s original purposes; and (3) make these alterations in the most efficient manner possible while also correcting any distributive reallocations. Where the law’s original purposes cannot be accommodated or are so broad as to fail to constitute a clear legislative principle, policy changes should be made in the democratic forum, not by an administrative process. The Essay concludes with examples from working groups implementing the template approach.


climate change

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64 Flordia Law Review 269 (2012)


COinS Victor B. Flatt Faculty Bio