Zero-Sum Games in Pollution Control: Ecological Thresholds, Planetary Boundaries, and Policy Choices
Chapter 2 in Sarah Krakoff, Melissa Powers, & Jonathan Rosenbloom, eds., Beyond Zero-Sum Environmentalism 11-32 (May 2019).
21 Pages Posted: 28 Jun 2017 Last revised: 9 Jun 2019
Date Written: June 5, 2019
Pollution regulation often lands us in what are perceived to be zero-sum games, but these games can differ depending on whether we are seeking to avoid ecological thresholds, such as can occur with nutrient pollution and eutrophication, or whether we are pursuing anthropocentric pollution-control goals. Focusing on the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and climate change, this draft chapter for a forthcoming book by the Environmental Law Collaborative for the Environmental Law Institute discusses how pollution regulation often invokes limits and thresholds, creating regulatory zero-sum games in which "pies" of pollutant loads are divided among the relevant polluters. It also explores the concepts of ecological thresholds and planetary boundaries in this context before exploring climate change both as a zero-sum game in and of itself and as a zero-sum game changer.
Keywords: Pollution, Zero-Sum Game, Planetary Boundaries, Ecological Threshold, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Climate Change
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation