Sub-Federal Laws and Policies in the United States
States have long been the ‘laboratories of democracy’ for US lawmaking; states and other sub-federal actors are proving particularly important to the development of climate change law and policy. Through reference to key regional, state, and local efforts, this chapter explores how, why, and to what effect sub-federal actors are influencing climate policy in the US. It examines whether in confronting the federal government's failure to discharge its customary role as the principal architect of environmental policy, sub-federal entities have stepped in to fill the policy void. In doing so, it considers whether sub-federal climate change initiatives are merely symbolic in nature, ie, lacking substance and enforceability, or whether they are in fact having significant impact on the way that the domestic and private sectors and, ultimately, the federal government think about and respond to climate change in legal and political forums.
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