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Research national climate change policy in other countries to develop a recommended public policy process for the United States.



The time is long overdue for a national climate change policy.  The chief policy questions are how fast is it happening, where, and what can we do about it?  The sought national policy should strike a balance between competing objectives, transitioning to a warmer future, and at the same time developing an economical plan serving current and future energy needs.

However, the search for a successful public policy process needs to begin with an evaluation of how other national policies were developed around the world.  The purpose of this proposal is to search for successful national policy programs and learn how they were developed, structured, and adopted.  The end product will be lessons learned for the United States in developing and implementing its own climate policy process.

This proposal is to conduct an evaluation of 22 selected national climate change policies in the most successful countries and to subsequently develop a recommended national policy process for the United States. 

A key missing component in achieving real climate protection is the lack of a public mandate.  The key benefit of this proposal is to ultimately develop a genuine national conversation of the challenges and options.  A well-designed and transparent series of regional public hearings focused on simplified policy choices [1] has the potential to counter and possibly overcome the constant drumbeat of disinformation. 

An engaged public discussion is the best hope to counter the denial lobby; especially against a backdrop of increasing public interest as extreme weather events continue and may (but always hopefully not) intensify. 

The need for a comprehensive approach becomes more important with each passing day.  The first place to begin is an understanding of the policy process of the most successful nations, a necessary and vital precursor to undertaking an American policy process.   

Category of the action

Changing public perceptions on climate change

What actions do you propose?

The purpose of this proposed study is narrowly focused on the policy development process of each country, the attendant materials used in each process, and the resulting adopted policies.  The preliminary project process as follows:

  1. Selected Countries:  Based on the, 2013 Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) [2] of all electoral democracies [3] that scored a “Good” CCPI rating, conduct a base study of existing available information of the following national climate change policies: listed in descending order starting with the highest CCPI rank:
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Portugal
  • Switzerland
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Malta
  • Hungary
  • Belgium
  • Mexico
  • France
  • Slovak Republic
  • Iceland
  • Romania
  • Italy
  • Slovenia
  • Cyprus
  • India
  • Luxembourg
  • Spain
  • Czech Republic


2.  Initial Data Collection:  Each country would be systematically examined for the relevant information.  The search for existing documentation would involve a three-step process:

2A.  Conduct a comprehensive on-line search for the relevant information, especially a review of the applicable sections of the respective UN-FCCC “National Communications,” [4],

2B.  Request access to the CCPI individual country ratings and climate change policy questionnaires,

2C.  Develop a preliminary list of lessons learned for the United States.  This will include a review of the literature pertaining to the comparative results of the study countries, particularly the Ecofys/Germanwatch report, Scorecards on Best and Worst Policies for a Green New Deal, [5] and any IPCC comparative analyses of their National Communications. 

The data collection methodology will be to take the first country and conduct a complete inventory and analysis, then review the results and refine the process for the systematic and most efficient collection of the subsequent data.

An especially important feature of the above case studies is where and how public input was handled, more specifically:

2a.  Was there any sort of commission and if so, what were its composition and any compensation?

2b.  What public information was disseminated including website design and its development?

2c.  How was the initial list of public goals developed?

2d.  What was the public hearing format and content?

2e.  What were the technological venues for collecting public comments and any opinion polling?

2f.   How were public comments evaluated?

2g.  How were the draft climate change policy recommendations developed and reviewed?

2h.  How were the final recommendations adopted?  How is their longevity assured?

It may well be that the public policy development for these countries was minimal as all twenty-two had ratified the initial 1998 Kyoto Protocol by 2002.  Nonetheless, a full understanding of these national policy formats, goal setting, and chosen priorities is a vital precursor in recommending a US policy process.

  1. Filtering:  Based on the initial data collection described in Step #2. above, develop a list of criteria to evaluate the performance of which countries may be inconsequential and thus eliminated from further consideration.


  1. Survey Questionnaire:  Based on the evaluation described in Step #3, develop a questionnaire, including customized questions for selected countries if needed and targeted for the best potential respondents (including native language questionnaires for selected countries as approximately half of the initial list have less than 50% fluency in English).


  1. Lessons Learned:  Complete the evaluation of lessons learned and organized by appropriate categories such as residential, business, transportation, agriculture, etc.


  1. Articles:  Write two separate articles for submittal to (a) a suitable professional journal documenting the survey results and (b) a national general audience publication proposing development of a national climate change policy process.  A draft of the professional article will be sent to all international correspondents for their review and comment.  The draft proposed process article would solicit comments from leading US climate protection advocates including the Climate CoLab and, possibly, selected federal agencies. 

Who will take these actions?

Henry Jackson will be the project manager with intermittent assistance from interns, volunteers, and volunteer review agencies and as further described in "Actions" above.  I have over thirty years professional urban planning experience, most recently specializing in sustainable best practices and development.  I have a bachelor’s degree in planning and master of architecture in urban design.

Where will these actions be taken?

I’ll work out of my home and travel as needed and as the project budget may allow. As a semi-retired urban planner, I would complete the project as described within 13 months of project authorization. 

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

I expect to pursue the first following benefit after the study is completed but it is not a part of this proposal.

1.  This project would create a foundation to build on – to implement the recommended public policy process.  This would be a three-part effort to first, pursue support to establish and fund a US Congressional panel to conduct the process.  Failing that, pursue support for a Presidential panel; and failing that, pursue a privately funded process.  Actual implementation of the process would be a multi-million dollar project, not terribly dissimilar to the US Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) [6] public hearing process.  

2.  Ultimate policy development would also provide policy direction above and beyond mitigating GHG emissions and developing resiliency.  The lack of US climate policy is glaringly absent in international cooperation, national energy policy (eg, the proposed KXL pipeline), and rebuilding areas prone to repeated extreme weather events.  

What are the proposal’s costs?

The prize money would be used to pay my salary and project expenses.  There are several clerical expenses to conduct the study but the big one would be translation services as about half of the initial countries have less than 50% fluency in English (although I'm somewhat conversational in German).  I would expect project expenses to be between $3,000 and $5,000.  Even at the grand prize level, it would only cover a portion of the complete time and expense.  I would absorb all unfunded costs. I do not anticipate any negative side effects from the study.

Time line

Upon contest approval, I would develop a detailed time line and task schedule for completion within 13 months from the date of authorization; specifically: completion of the scope-of-work described under, “What Actions Do You Propose?”

Related proposals

There are no other related proposals per se. I've been researching this topic for about the past half year.  However, in a broader sense, all contest entires tangentially related because this is a comprehensive approach -- ultimately striving for a thoughtfully structured policy coordinating all US GHG mitigation and resiliency efforts with stated goals, priorities, and ratification of the current version of the Kyoto Protocol as well as its requirements for measured results. [7]  

Cont'd Ref #[1]:  Perhaps the most thorough policy taxonomy for a comprehensive federal climate policy is the C2ES website, "Toward a Federal Climate Policy" at Taking all resources together, there are extensive policy ideas and options but only modest tactical measures of how to actually get there. The hope is that a look at other countries' policies & their structures will point the US in the right direction.


[1]   Note:  One of the main public policy challenges is to present a simplified and clear list of GHG reduction options, tradeoffs, and cost-benefits (externalities and barriers included).  The range of options from energy efficient best practices to large-scale clean energy development is overwhelming to say the least.  But I believe that it can be done and is essential in having an engaged public in the process.  This is not to say that the ultimate chosen priorities will by any means be simple.  Instead, the process will need to reduce the material to a vastly simplified yet accurate level for public discussion, with any and all caveats needed.  An excellent taxonomy of the public policy choices is IPCC’s Ch 13.2: “National Policy Instruments, Their Implementation and Interactions,” Climate Change 2007: Mitigation of Climate Change, PP 753-768, and with respect to adaption choices: IPCC, “Chapter 6: National Systems for Managing the Risks from Climate Extremes,” Special Report: Managing the Risks of Weather and Disasters in Advance of Climate Change Adaptation, 2012, PP 339-393. (Continued under "Related Proposals" above.)

[2]   Germanwatch  & Climate Action Network- Europe, Climate Change Performance Index, Results 2013

[3]   Freedom House, 2013 Freedom in the World,

[4]  United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,  Annex I National Communications:

[5]   Ecofys/Germanwatch, Scorecards on Best and Worst Policies for a Green New Deal, 2009,

[6]   GAO, Military Bases: Lessons Learned from Prior Base Closure Rounds

[7]   IPCC, Overview: 2006 IPCC Guidelines for National Greenhouse Inventories: