Thursday, July 12, 2007

State Efforts on Climate Change

Florida’s governor released drafts of three new executive orders that would attempt to address the state’s greenhouse gas emissions more aggressively. One of them is modeled on California’s vehicle emissions regulations, an approach that an increasing number of states are attempting. These regulations face preemption problems, an issue that California has tried to address through a long-neglected waiver request to the EPA. Governor Schwarzenegger has indicated that he will file suit under the Clean Air Act and Administrative Procedure Act if the EPA fails to act upon its request by the end of October, 2007.
As noted on the Warming Law blog, the Supreme Court’s ruling Massachusetts v. EPA helps to create a more fertile environment for state action on climate change. But these developments, especially in the broader context of state and local behavior, raise interesting questions about international and transnational regulation of climate change, as I have argued in recent scholarship. Namely, when we face problems like climate change that are foundationally multiscalar and can only be addressed through action by a range of state and nonstate actors at multiple levels of governance, what is the most appropriate way for law to treat them? And more specific to this example, how should executive, legislative, and judicial action by states—combined with their participation in national and international policy networks—fit within a model of international legal governance?

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