A Strategy for Addressing Climate Change in the North Carolina Legislature

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Hamilton, James T

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The North Carolina Conservation Network (ConNet) is seeking a successful legislative strategy to achieve the passage of policy in North Carolina General Assembly addressing climate change. This is a particular challenge in the light of the 2010 election, which ushered in a Republican majority in both Houses, which are generally either indifferent or hostile to climate policy and ConNet. Further, ConNet’s previous legislative strategy frequently depended on strong ties to the then Democratic legislative leadership which helped to move their legislative priorities forward, legislators who no longer hold that power.

This is not the only challenge facing ConNet’s strategy. Even when there was a Democratic legislative majority, achievements were generally in the related field of energy policy and few climate policies made it through the many informal planning processes to actually make it to the Assembly floor. Finally, ConNet is a coalition of diverse environmental organizations which has split in the past over legislative issues. Therefore, ConNet needs a strategy that is amenable to all of its coalition members, or have a strategy for handling disagreement without severely weakening their coalition.

This paper examines both policy and political strategy options available to ConNet in the next legislative session. Policy options include greenhouse gas mitigation policy, energy generation and efficiency policy, climate adaptation policy and fuels policy. The analysis will narrow these options by evaluating their policy effectiveness, political feasibility, and their alignment with the short and long-term interests of ConNet and its coalition. The paper will also suggest some political strategy options that can be effective in moving these policy options forward in the short and long term. They are titled in this paper: “Divide and Conquer”, “Fight the Power”, “New Coalitions”, “Proactive Agenda”, “Reactive Agenda” and “Venue Change”. Each uses the resources available to the ConNet coalition and its members to attempt to move climate policy forward, or at least limit reversals of policy implemented thus far.





Conlin, BethAnn (2012). A Strategy for Addressing Climate Change in the North Carolina Legislature. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/5293.

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