Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2014

Thesis Advisor(s)

Mark Boyer; Jason Vokoun

Honors Major

Natural Resources

Disciplines

Climate | Environmental Policy | Natural Resources Management and Policy | Other Political Science

Abstract

Responding to the present and looming effects of global climate change presents a challenging task for policymakers at all levels of governance. The outcomes of climate change do present serious adaptation problems for global policy makers, but the implications of climate change are more immediately experienced by local communities and policy makers. Historical policymaking models suggest that economic well-being is an influential driver in local policy adoption. This particular analysis explores the relationship between economic variables and the development of climate adaptation policies by Connecticut municipalities. To test the degree of interaction present, adaptation policy data in the form of relevant capital improvement and zoning policies was collected from the individual municipalities. The towns were then grouped by several economic variables to assess the impact of wealth on policy generation. The analysis indicated that economic variables were not significant drivers of climate adaptation at the local level of governance. Instead, the data suggests that town policy is influenced by other policy drivers particularly the perceived and realized threat levels for climate change within individual towns.