Local Climate Change Law
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Local Climate Change Law

Environmental Regulation in Cities and Other Localities

Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson

This timely study offers a multi-jurisdictional perspective, featuring international contributors who examine both theoretical and practical dimensions of how localities are addressing climate mitigation and adaptation in Australia, Canada, China, Europe, South Africa and the United States, as well as considering the place of localities in global climate law agreements and transnational networks.
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Chapter 2: Transnational Voluntary Climate Change Initiatives for Local Governments: Key Variables, Drivers and Likely Effects

Stepan Wood and Kevin Thompson


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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