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Fishing from the same pool

Fishing from the same pool: the influence of environmental governance on local climate change actions in Scotland and the us pacific northwest

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Original languageEnglish
Article number1250011
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2012


The impact of environmental governance on the delivery of local climate change plans is examined by comparing two transatlantic sub-national jurisdictions which have adopted stringent targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: Scotland and the Pacific Northwest region of the United States of America. The former relies on dirigiste top-down environmental governance, through which central government sets targets and imposes statutory duties that apply equally to all local councils. In the latter, a bottom-up multilevel form of environmental governance has emerged to compensate for the absence of a federal mandate. Specific action plans from a climate change pioneer in each location are assessed to test the strengths and limitations of these alternative modes of environmental governance: Portland in Oregon and Fife in Scotland. The Scottish dirigiste approach offers its local councils a consistent policy framework, allowing them to focus on specific measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while avoiding concerns about free-rider effects from non-participating councils. The asymmetrical uptake of climate change measures by United States municipalities exposes their domestic market to the risks of carbon leakage that America sought to avoid in global markets during negotiations over the Kyoto Protocol.



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