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The Fading Relevance of the Feds
Jamais Cascio, 23 Nov 05

We've long noted the growing importance of local and state officials in the effort to halt global warming, and now research shows that these sub-national political bodies are making a real difference. In a "Brief Communication" in the November 17 edition of Nature, Brendan Fisher and Robert Costanza from the University of Vermont show that, in the United States, up to a third of the US population lives in areas that either already have or will soon adopt policies in accord with the Kyoto protocols. Moreover, the Kyoto-friendly regions account for nearly one-half of the total US GDP -- a total economic output greater than that of Japan, currently the world's second-largest economy.

The catch is that there are few mechanisms to enforce compliance at the sub-national level, so meeting the policy commitments will be even more difficult than under a national system. Conversely, as the authors note, "the local nature of these initiatives could make it possible to develop adaptable, site-specific plans for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions."

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Exciting post.

>The catch is that there are few mechanisms to enforce
> compliance at the sub-national level...

Well, there is purchasing power, bond-issuing authority, permitting preferences, public education, and so much more. Half the US GDP represents a fair bit of leverage, even without national policy.

Posted by: Gil Friend on 23 Nov 05



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