Addressing climate change appropriately requires unique expertise and skills. Traditional approaches to planning do not necessarily translate to climate change, particularly because of the scale, scope, and complexity of the problem and the uncertainties involved. Whether it’s flood-resistant roadways or opening cooling centers during heat waves or wildfire mitigation in forest-reliant communities, what worked in the past may not be sufficient for what is to come. Planning approaches that integrate climate change considerations are unique and focused more on managing risk than optimization. Dedicated leadership to help develop and advance climate action is more likely to ensure timely progress than mere calls for action without such capacity (Moser et al., 2017). Thus, to support the scale and scope of necessary climate action, a state-level staff focused specifically on climate change would need to be established and built out to meet the state’s needs.
Indeed, most states that are actively engaged on climate issues have a point person charged exclusively with addressing climate change issues with authority across the executive branch. In most states, this is a climate czar, chief resilience officer, or other chief executive in the governor’s office (e.g., Florida, Oregon, New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island); sometimes this is also a cabinet position leading an agency focused on climate (e.g., North Carolina, Colorado, New York, Michigan). Some states have adopted a ‘special advisor to the governor’ model (e.g., Colorado, Washington), and others have a chief resilience or sustainability officer embedded within an executive branch department or office that is granted authority across agencies. Some have some combination (e.g., California). Regardless of the model, all have or intend to expand staff in order to meet the growing demands to address climate in the state.
Clearly, based on the analysis of possible mitigation policies alone, and comparison with other states, there will be a need for additional investments to support climate action in Nevada, including support for an appropriate level of administrative leadership.