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Climate ChangeClimate Policy’s “Plan B” - Legal Planet

Climate Policy’s “Plan B” – Legal Planet

Climate Policy’s “Plan B”

Because the initial top-down approach failed, a recent approach to climate policy crystalized.

My last blog post told the story of the unique top-down approach to climate policy. It was presupposed to feature binding restrictions on carbon emissions in a world treaty and federal laws. By 2012, it was plain that neither half of this “Plan A” strategy was within the offing. Constructing on trends that had begun within the previous decade, nevertheless, a recent bottom-up approach took hold.

Moderately than waiting for global agreement, as many policy analysts had advised, individual jurisdictions and groups of jurisdictions had already begun to make the leap on their very own.  The EU was a world leader and had pulled together support from another developed countries within the Kyoto Protocol. Throughout the US, California had already staked out its own path in climate policy.

These measures were originally seen as stop-gaps until comprehensive mandates were in place internationally and within the US. It became clear, nevertheless, that those comprehensive mandates were unlikely to occur any time soon.

The brand new approaches crystalized throughout the Obama Administration.  On the international level, a much ballyhooed global conference in Copenhagen failed to provide a binding agreement. With the assistance of dramatic personal intervention by Obama, what got here as a substitute was the Copenhagen Agreement, a non-binding framework that called for developed countries to submit their very own emission targets.  On the time, this gave the look of a failure. However it set the stage for the later Paris Agreement, which calls for nations to submit their very own targets but additionally includes developing countries like China.

After the failure of climate laws in Congress, the Obama Administration also doubled down on agency motion. The Clean Power Plan was one of the best known of the Obama efforts, but it surely was removed from the just one.  Despite the rollbacks throughout the Trump years, these actions succeeded in helping to set the US energy sector on a recent course.

State regulations, which had seemed liked stepping stones toward federal laws, took on a much bigger lifetime of their very own. This might not be dismissed as just one other crazy California initiative as other states adopted ambitious targets for renewable energy and other climate measures. Moderately than being discouraged by Trump’s opposition to climate motion, state efforts redoubled during his presidency.

Since legislating mandatory emission limits still seems politically unattainable, Congress went in a distinct direction with a 2022 bill providing massive funding for climate motion.  Many observers had completely written off Congress as a player in climate policy on account of political gridlock. Through the use of spending laws, Senate supporters  were in a position to work across the filibuster rule. It was also a technique to accommodate  Democratic moderates like Joe Manchin whose votes were needed to pass the bill. It’s notable, nevertheless, that the result was funding for efforts by industry and the states to chop emissions fairly than a federal mandate. Nevertheless, the bill will profoundly reshape the energy industry and significantly cut emissions.

On reflection, the most important stumbling block to the top-down strategy seems clear: It ignored just how different individual jurisdictions were from one another. Internationally, a world agreement would wish to win support from countries as diverse as Russia, Germany, the US, China, and Saudi Arabia. Even inside the US, states were very otherwise situated by way of production of fossil fuels and reliance on them for industry and generating electricity. Ideology in addition to national interests divided jurisdictions each internationally and inside the US.

The failure of the top-down approach may not have been inevitable, but it surely was more of a protracted shot than people realized on the time. There have been just too many players with divergent interests and ideologies. It’s not surprising that “Plan B” needed to be used.

Possibly, because the world’s energy system moves away from fossil fuels, we’ll arrive at a sufficient consensus to support a move toward more uniform requirements on the international level and inside america. Plan B may then appear to be a transition measure. Or possibly Plan B will likely be successful enough by itself to eliminate the necessity for uniform requirements. Either way, Plan B is what we’ve got, and our task straight away is to make it work.




Climate Policy, Climate Politics, Environmental History, Federal Climate Policy, state climate policy, states


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