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Contested Federalism and American Climate Policy


  • Barry Rabe


Climate change has routinely been framed as an issue to be addressed through an intergovernmental regime guided by a set of large nations. The evolving reality of climate change policy development, in the U.S. and abroad, relies heavily on sub-national initiative. This article reviews the American climate policy odyssey, examining distinct periods in which respective intergovernmental roles have shifted. It devotes particular attention to the substantial expansion of state involvement between 1998 and 2007 and the more recent experience in which high state and federal engagement has produced a period of contested federalism. It concludes by exploring the growing likelihood that this arena will continue to be dominated in coming years by either state policy or some blending of state and federal authority. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Rabe, 2011. "Contested Federalism and American Climate Policy," Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(3), pages 494-521, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:publus:v:41:y:2011:i:3:p:494-521

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    Cited by:

    1. Luke Kemp, 2015. "A climate treaty without the US Congress: Using executive powers to overcome the 'Ratification Straitjacket'," CCEP Working Papers 1513, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
    2. Dana Fisher & Philip Leifeld & Yoko Iwaki, 2013. "Mapping the ideological networks of American climate politics," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 116(3), pages 523-545, February.
    3. Nelson, Hal T. & Rose, Adam & Wei, Dan & Peterson, Thomas & Wennberg, Jeffrey, 2015. "Intergovernmental climate change mitigation policies: theory and outcomes," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 35(01), pages 97-136, April.
    4. Tang, Amy & Chiara, Nicola & Taylor, John E., 2012. "Financing renewable energy infrastructure: Formulation, pricing and impact of a carbon revenue bond," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(C), pages 691-703.
    5. David J. Gordon, 2015. "An Uneasy Equilibrium: The Coordination of Climate Governance in Federated Systems," Global Environmental Politics, MIT Press, vol. 15(2), pages 121-141, May.
    6. Juita-Elena (Wie) Yusuf & Burton St. John & Ivan Ash, 2014. "The role of politics and proximity in sea level rise policy salience: a study of Virginia legislators’ perceptions," Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Springer;Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences, vol. 4(3), pages 208-217, September.
    7. Reiche, Danyel, 2013. "Climate policies in the U.S. at the stakeholder level: A case study of the National Football League," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 775-784.
    8. Charles Davis & Katherine Hoffer, 2012. "Federalizing energy? Agenda change and the politics of fracking," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 45(3), pages 221-241, September.
    9. Kemp, Luke, 2015. "A climate treaty without the US Congress: Using executive powers to overcome the ‘Ratification Straitjacket’," Working Papers 249518, Australian National University, Centre for Climate Economics & Policy.

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