Abstract Individual behaviour is an important aspect of climate mitigation. After an initial focus on large industrial sources, developments in the social and behavioural sciences and legal theory in the 1990s and early 2000s have supported the development of new initiatives targeted at individuals and households. The initiatives have included local, state and national government use of traditional regulatory measures, market mechanisms and behavioural interventions. In recent years, gridlock in the US and other countries over climate policy also has led to increasing use of private and public-private hybrid initiatives in climate change mitigation. The complex influences on individual behaviour and the challenges of designing and implementing large-scale, effective interventions have resulted in large gaps in existing knowledge and many opportunities for research in law, policy and social science.
Michael P Vandenbergh and Benjamin K Sovacool
Sarah E Light and Michael P Vandenbergh
In the last two decades, private environmental governance has emerged as an important component of environmental law and policy. Private environmental governance occurs when private organizations perform the environmental functions typically assigned to governments, such as management of common pool resources and reduction of negative environmental externalities. Private initiatives include standard-setting bilaterally through contract and collectively through industry associations or multi-stakeholder processes, as well as unilateral actions in response to pressure by non-governmental third parties. Private initiatives exist in parallel to many public environmental laws in diverse subject matter areas, including laws on fisheries, forests, toxics, and disclosure of facility-, project-, and firm-specific environmental effects. Private governance instruments also often parallel the instruments that government actors employ to achieve environmental objectives (such as prescriptive rules, property rights or entitlements, market instruments and informational governance). The emergence of private governance has generated important research questions regarding the drivers of consumer and corporate behaviour, spillover effects, comparative institutional analysis, private administrative law, and the ability of private governance to address important unresolved environmental issues in areas such as climate change, hydraulic fracturing, and non-point source water pollution from agricultural runoff.