Environmental Regulation in Cities and Other Localities
The IUCN Academy of Environmental Law series
Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson
Chapter 2: Transnational Voluntary Climate Change Initiatives for Local Governments: Key Variables, Drivers and Likely Effects
Stepan Wood and Kevin Thompson 1. INTRODUCTION Policy-makers can choose from a range of regulatory instruments when deciding how to respond to environmental problems.1 ‘Command’ regulation sets legally binding standards for regulated entities’ environmental performance, industrial processes, products or the quality of the receiving environment. Economic instruments induce regulated entities to modify their behaviour by manipulating their economic incentives via taxes, subsidies, deposit-refund schemes, or tradable entitlements. Information-based regulation seeks to influence producer or consumer behaviour by requiring or regulating the generation and dissemination of environmental information, without dictating any particular environmental outcome. Common forms include product eco-labels, environmental impact assessment requirements, environmental ‘right-toknow’ legislation, and environmental disclosure requirements for securities issuers. Direct government expenditures, legal liability rules and government procurement contracts can also be employed to regulate environmentally harmful conduct. Finally, voluntary initiatives are programs in which polluters or resource users commit to take action in relation to the environment in the absence of a legally binding requirement to do so.2 Such initiatives take many forms, including government-industry negotiated agreements, public ‘challenge’ programs, industry self-regulatory initiatives, 1 In the context of climate change, see e.g., Robert Stavins, ‘Policy Instruments for Climate Change: How Can National Governments Address a Global Problem?’ (1997) University of Chicago Legal Forum 293. 2 Stepan Wood, ‘Voluntary Environmental Codes and Sustainability’ in Benjamin J. Richardson and Stepan Wood (eds), Environmental Law for Sustainability (Hart Publishing, 2006) 229, 230. 29 30 Local climate change law multi-stakeholder certification schemes, and programs for sharing information about best...
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