Charter Cities Offer Climate Change Adaptation Benefits

Brandon Fuller and I have published a short piece arguing that another benefit of charter cities is to increase the set of coping strategies for people who live in less developed countries and face new climate shocks due to global warming.

Starting with my 2010 book Climatopolis, I have consistently argued that global greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise and thus we have to prepare to adapt to climate change.  While many people hope and believe that wise governments will lead such efforts,  I focus on the role of individuals and for profit firms as being the leading innovators in experimenting and learning how to cope with the new realities we have created for ourselves.  Politicians will be more likely to step up and take actions to protect the public if the public “votes with its feet” and migrates away from areas whose quality of life has been injured by climate change. By the basic logic of compensating differentials, those geographic areas whose quality of life declines will suffer real estate price declines and mayor’s who value their property tax base will have an incentive to step up.  In this sense, competition and exit discipline politicians and create a pro-adaptation constituency.   Note that I emphasize market forces rather than altruism and paternalism here.  Self interest on the part of individuals, firms and local governments will help us to adapt to many of challenges posed by climate change.