Continuity and Transformation in Environmental Governance

29 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2019

See all articles by Daniel A. Farber

Daniel A. Farber

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Date Written: February 20, 2019


Almost since the modern era of environmental regulation began in the 1970s, there have been arguments for replacing it with something else. Surely, critics argued, it was possible to improve on a rigid hierarchy from the issuance of federal uniform standards to state implementation to firm compliance. Conventional regulation, it has been said, is too clumsy, too slow, too inefficient. The critics offered various replacements for federal “command and control” regulation, including use of alternative regulatory tools such as emissions trading or collaborative governance and a massive shift of regulatory authority to the states. There have been significant incremental changes, but little in the way of transformation – except in the arena of climate change. States, cities, and private firms have all undertaken aggressive climate change initiatives. This paper argues that the complex national and international networks and interactions involving these efforts are best understood as constituting a governance ecosystem.

Keywords: Climate Change, Environmental Law, Emissions Trading, Collaborative Governance, Federalism, State Climate Change Regulation, Network Governance

Suggested Citation

Farber, Daniel A., Continuity and Transformation in Environmental Governance (February 20, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Daniel A. Farber (Contact Author)

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

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Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
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