The potential impacts from climate change, and climate change policies, are massive. Careful thinking about what we want climate change policies to achieve is a crucial first step for analysts to help governments make wise policy choices to address these concerns. This article presents an adaptive framework to help guide comparative analysis of climate change policies. The framework recognizes theinability to forecast long-term impacts (due in part topath dependance) as a constraint on the use of standard policy analysis, and stresseslearning over time as a fundamental concern. The framework focuses on the objectives relevant for climate change policy in North America over the near term (e.g., the next 20 years). For planning and evaluating current climate policy alternatives, a combination of fundamental objectives for the near term and proxy objectives for characterizing the state of the climate problem and the ability to address it at the end of that term is suggested. Broad uses of the framework are discussed, along with some concrete examples. The framework is intended to provide a basis for policy analysis that explicitly considers the benefits of learning over time to improve climate change policies.