Effective climate policy making requires analyses that consider the complexity of real policies, how institutions interact across levels of government from global to local, and equity issues. Climate policies are not made in a vacuum. They interact with other climate and nonclimate policies and are often nested across different scales from local to global. In the United States, rapidly emerging local and state climate policy agen 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.
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