Monday, October 5, 2015

Authors' Blog: The Relationship Between Climate Change Policy and Socioeconomic Changes in the U.S. Great Plains

This is an author-produced blog post to introduce upcoming Urban Affairs Review articles. This article is available in OnlineFirst.


Andy Hultquist
Robert Wood

Rebecca Romsdahl

 One of the most fascinating puzzles associated with climate change policies in the United States over the past two decades has been the emergence of states and cities as policy leaders.  In developing policy approaches to many previous environmental concerns such as clean air and water, species protection, and the clean-up of hazardous waste, the federal government took the lead by establishing regulatory standards and guidelines that shaped subsequent city and state responses.  Sub-national governments could certainly adopt their own policies that went beyond these standards, but this tended to be atypical in practice.
Not surprisingly, initial models for addressing global climate change also favored a national top-down model.  In this case, the approach was based on two previous successes: the permit-based system developed to address acid rain and the international treaty structure that was used to address ozone depletion.  In contrast to these earlier examples however, the issue of global climate change has become highly politicized in the United States, and this fact has substantially limited the pursuit of the sort of Congressionally led, top-down approach that was used for previous issues.