Why an air pollution achiever lags on climate policy? The case of local policy implementation in Mie, Japan
Many localities that are politically committed to tackling the causes and consequences of climate change have faced obstacles in getting results, even though they were successful in implementing other environmental policies in the past. What makes implementation of climate policy different from other local environmental policies, such as air pollution control? This paper makes a comparison between the implementation of two environmental policies in Mie Prefecture in Japan. The first was the successful reduction in local air pollution (1960s – 70s). The second was the more recent policy with mixed results to control the emissions of greenhouse gases (1990s – 2000s). The research found several factors that can explain the differences between the implementation effectiveness of the two policies, such as immediacy and political legitimacy, the autonomy and capacity of local governments, the capacity of organized civil society and the role played by technology. Local governments still have a strong role to play, and some institutions built in the past are still effective. However, climate change asks for different approaches to local policy implementation and new institutions need to be built to fill the implementation gap.
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