This chapter describes how, for four decades, California has been at the forefront of national efforts to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These initiatives began with policies to reduce energy use in order to avoid the construction of additional power plants and went on to include progressively more stringent energy efficiency standards and renewable energy mandates, additional curbs on automotive emissions, and a cap-and-trade program designed to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions. The emergence and expansion of these efforts demonstrates the importance of the factors that have shaped environmental policy innovations in other areas. At the same time, these policies are also distinct from those described in the previous chapters. First, they developed more incrementally, with some backsliding, much conflict, and frequent compromises. Second, some of their policy triggers—most notably, the 1973 energy crisis and California's 2000–2001 energy deregulation fiasco—were unrelated to environmental risks or threats. Third, their scope, diversity, and economic impact have been more substantial than those of the state's regulations protecting land use, coastal areas, and automotive emissions. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, in marked contrast to the state's other environmental policy threats, California cannot protect itself from the risks of global climate change. This means that the state has a critical stake in promoting a “California effect” that will encourage other political jurisdictions both in and outside the United States to also restrict their greenhouse gas emissions.

Full Text
Published version (Free)

Talk to us

Join us for a 30 min session where you can share your feedback and ask us any queries you have

Schedule a call