Table of Contents

The Law and Policy of Environmental Federalism

The Law and Policy of Environmental Federalism

A Comparative Analysis

Edited by Kalyani Robbins

This book provides a comparative analysis of the various approaches to environmental federalism and a consideration of what each system might learn from the others. Each chapter focuses on a different regime, and together they offer a broad overview of the field as well as original theory and policy analysis that is sure to meaningfully contribute to our understanding of environmental federalism as well as our policy-making future.

Chapter 8: The enigma of state climate change policy innovation

Kirsten H. Engel

Subjects: environment, environmental governance and regulation, environmental law, environmental politics and policy, law - academic, environmental law


Starting in the 1990s, states began filling the gap left by the federal government’s failure to enact climate change legislation. Policies adopted by states, such as regional greenhouse gas cap-and-trade regimes and renewable portfolio standards, have been lauded as demonstrations of the continuing ingenuity of the states as ‘laboratories of democracy’, devising new and innovative solutions to the global problem of climate change. This view is in tension with the predictions of well-respected economists that states will innovate at sub-optimal levels due to the risk-averse nature of politicians and the ability of one state to free-ride off the innovative ideas of other states. This chapter concludes that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. While state governments are the original source of only a few of the most touted climate policy initiatives, they are frequently the first to adapt a policy previously adopted only on the national level. As opposed to ‘policy innovators’, state and local governments might more accurately be described as ‘scale innovators’. Given the overarching necessity of cutting back on greenhouse gas emissions, policy adoption on multiple scales is arguably of greater social value than developing new and original policy tools.

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information