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

14 Pages Posted: 17 Mar 2010 Last revised: 23 Jul 2015

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Robert B. McKinstry Jr.

Ballard Spahr LLP

Thomas D. Peterson

Center for Climate Strategies

Date Written: March 12, 2010

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.

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

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: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1569641

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

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

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