Those examining climate compatible development and triple-win policy efforts that simultaneously negotiate sustainable development, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation considerations are on the cutting edge of exploring why and how policymakers address complex social problems that require balancing considerations about multiple, interrelated policy issues. Enhancing understanding of factors underlying the emergence of these efforts can help strengthen incentives for action, address implementation challenges, and anticipate inequities. This paper uses survey responses from 287 cities and logistic regression analyses to explore conditions and policy actions associated with potential climate compatible development efforts when economic development, sustainability, climate change mitigation, and climate change adaptation considerations overlap. It finds evidence that potential climate compatible development efforts were present in 10% of the cities studied. Adaptation was the issue most likely to act as the missing link when each of these other issues influenced city policy actions, and mitigation was the least likely. Contextual factors associated with these efforts included budget stress, leadership from a policy entrepreneur, higher college degree attainment rates, having an environmental department or commission, and the area of the city composed of water versus land. Examining factors associated with these issues acting as missing links revealed contradictions that highlight the necessity of further exploration of processes affecting the pursuit of climate compatible development.
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