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Rethinking Environmental Federalism in a Warming World

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Abstract

Climate change policy analysis has focused almost exclusively on national policy and even on harmonizing climate policies across countries, implicitly assuming that the harmonization of climate policies at the subnational level would be mandated or guaranteed. We argue that the design and implementation of climate policy in a federal union will diverge in important ways from policy design in a unitary government. National climate policies built on the assumption of a unitary model of governance are unlikely to achieve the expected outcome due to interactions with policy choices made at the subnational level. In a federal system, the information and incentives generated by a national policy must pass through various levels of subnational fiscal and regulatory policy. Effective policy design must recognize both the constraints and opportunities presented by a federal structure of government. Furthermore, policies that take advantage of the federal structure of government can improve climate governance outcomes.

Suggested Citation

  • William Shobe & Dallas Burtraw, 2012. "Rethinking Environmental Federalism in a Warming World," Working Papers 2012-01, Center for Economic and Policy Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:vac:wpaper:wp12-01
    Note: Forthcoming in Climate Change Economics
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Leard, Benjamin & McConnell, Virginia, 2015. "New Markets for Pollution and Energy Efficiency: Credit Trading under Automobile Greenhouse Gas and Fuel Economy StandardsAbstract: Recent changes to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard," Discussion Papers dp-15-16, Resources For the Future.
    2. Reinhard Steurer & Christoph Clar, 2015. "Is decentralisation always good for climate change mitigation? How federalism has complicated the greening of building policies in Austria," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 48(1), pages 85-107, March.
    3. Creutzig, Felix & Goldschmidt, Jan Christoph & Lehmann, Paul & Schmid, Eva & von Blücher, Felix & Breyer, Christian & Fernandez, Blanca & Jakob, Michael & Knopf, Brigitte & Lohrey, Steffen & Susca, Ti, 2014. "Catching two European birds with one renewable stone: Mitigating climate change and Eurozone crisis by an energy transition," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1015-1028.
    4. Burtraw, Dallas & Palmer, Karen L., 2013. "Mixing It Up: Power Sector Energy and Regional and Regulatory Climate Policies in the Presence of a Carbon Tax," Discussion Papers dp-13-09, Resources For the Future.
    5. Hannum, Christopher & Cutler, Harvey & Iverson, Terrence & Keyser, David, 2017. "Estimating the implied cost of carbon in future scenarios using a CGE model: The Case of Colorado," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 500-511.
    6. repec:tpr:glenvp:v:17:y:2017:i:2:p:45-64 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Achim Hagen & Leonhard Kaehler & Klaus Eisenack, 2016. "Transnational Environmental Agreements with Heterogeneous Actors," Working Papers V-387-16, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2016.
    8. Burtraw, Dallas & Fraas, Arthur G. & Richardson, Nathan, 2012. "Tradable Standards for Clean Air Act Carbon Policy," Discussion Papers dp-12-05, Resources For the Future.
    9. Millimet, Daniel L., 2013. "Environmental Federalism: A Survey of the Empirical Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7831, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt, 2013. "Economic Ideas for a Complex Climate Policy Regime," Discussion Papers dp-13-03-rev, Resources For the Future.
    11. Burtraw, Dallas & Woerman, Matt, 2013. "Economic ideas for a complex climate policy regime," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(S1), pages 24-31.
    12. Ansell, Christopher K. & Bartenberger, Martin, 2016. "Varieties of experimentalism," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 64-73.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    climate change; subsidiarity; states; federalism; climate governance;

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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