Written by JC Martel
Intuitively, it is obvious now that climate policy should be integrated into other policy domains. By setting agendas on the narrow focus of emissions, we have ignored the integrated systems that are causing environmental degradation as well as the systems that benefit from climate mitigation and adaptation actions. We reduce water usage when we reduce energy demand, yet our energy and water policies are pursued in separate domains. Likewise, carbon reduction improves public health, yet health benefits are not always discussed in the context of climate policy. These silos inhibit effective action. Instead, climate policy should be embedded in disaster risk, housing, economic development, public health, and other policy domains. Specific opportunities for sustainable development need to be identified within these other domains.
In Climate Pragmatism: Innovation, Resilience, and No Regrets, energy technology innovation and development, building weather resilience, and “no regrets” pollution reduction (little or no cost) were identified as the three overarching (but not definitive) opportunities to achieve development goals while also achieving climate benefits. Since each country, state, and city operates slightly differently, a lot of work needs to be done to identify specific opportunities to achieve multiple goals. Being in India where so many people do not have access to food, water, and less importantly, energy, the most pressing need is development in these areas.
Is embedding environmental solutions in other domains policy convergence or policy pluralism? Convergence is defined as the increase in policy similarity over time. Pluralism is defined as multiple actors and issues addressed at once. The situation of embedding climate policy within policies of other domains is both convergence and pluralism. Convergence will be illustrated more in the future as climate policy as a silo subsides and more pluralism is instituted.