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Making the States Full Partners in a National Climate Change Effort: A Necessary Element for Sustainable Economic Development


John C. Dernbach


Widener University - School of Law

Robert B. McKinstry Jr.


Ballard Spahr LLP

Thomas D. Peterson


Center for Climate Strategies; Johns Hopkins Global Security Center

March 12, 2010

Environmental Law Reporter, 2010
Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-08

Abstract:     
This article explains why states and localities need to be full partners in a national climate change effort based on federal legislation or the existing Clean Air Act. A large share of reductions with the lowest cost and the greatest co-benefits (e.g., job creation, technology development, reduction of other pollutants) are in areas that a federal cap-and-trade program or other purely federal measures will not easily reach. These are also areas where the states have traditionally exercised their powers - including land use, building construction, transportation, and recycling. The economic recovery and expansion will require direct state and local management of climate and energy actions to reach full potential and efficiency.

This article also describes in detail a proposed state climate action planning process that would help make the states full partners. This state planning process - based on a proven template from actions taken by many states - provides an opportunity to achieve cheaper, faster, and greater emissions reductions than federal legislation or regulation alone would achieve. It would also realize macroeconomic benefits and non-economic co-benefits, and would mean that the national program is more economically and environmentally sustainable.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 14

Keywords: climate change, Clean Air Act, federalism, legislation, Massachusetts v. EPA, greenhouse gas emissions, states, sustainable development, sustainability

JEL Classification: K32, Q01, Q20, Q25, Q28, Q30, Q38, Q48, Q54

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Date posted: March 17, 2010 ; Last revised: October 19, 2014

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C. and McKinstry, Robert B. and Peterson, Thomas D., Making the States Full Partners in a National Climate Change Effort: A Necessary Element for Sustainable Economic Development (March 12, 2010). Environmental Law Reporter, 2010; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-08. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1569641

Contact Information

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)
Widener University - School of Law ( email )
3800 Vartan Way
P.O. Box 69382
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9382
United States
717-541-1933 (Phone)
Robert B. McKinstry Jr.
Ballard Spahr LLP ( email )
1735 Market St
Philadelphia, PA 19103
United States
215-864-8208 (Phone)
215-864-8999 (Fax)
Thomas D. Peterson
Center for Climate Strategies ( email )
1899 L Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
(202) 540-9121 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://www.climatestrategies.us
Johns Hopkins Global Security Center ( email )
1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
HOME PAGE: http://advanced.jhu.edu/academic/government/global-security//index.cfm
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