Climate Change Strategies 101
The development of climate change action plans and strategies is usually done via the policy cycle during the first half of a government’s term. This short-term political process is at odds with the longer-term climate change issue that requires a consistent and sustained effort. Consequently, this often leads to conflicting and ever changing climate plans and strategies that often do not fully move to implementation. Several key strategic questions need to be considered at the policy agenda setting stage. Examples of these questions include: the real impetus for developing the plan, political will to take on policy development at a particular time, the degree of intention to actually implement it, and depth of target vs. costs to the economy. The developmental stage of climate plans in Canada has historically involved five key components (with many variations): 1) background policy and scientific work; 2) consultation process; 3) economic/policy analysis and target setting; 4) building political support for a greenhouse gas target and policy package to meet the target; and 5) refinement and final political approval. Businesses are also responding by developing climate change strategies to either hedge their risk of being regulated, hedge their risk related to severe weather events, and/or to take advantage of climate business opportunities.