IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

13.4 Insights from and interactions with private, local and non-governmental initiatives

This section addresses voluntary actions taken by sub-national governments, corporations, NGO’s and others that are independent of national government programs or policies. See Box 13.9. Note that in contrast, section 13.2 addresses voluntary agreements between national governments and private parties.[46]

13.4.1 Sub-national initiatives

Local, state, provincial or regional governments have developed GHG policies and programmes that are either synergistic with national policies or are independent of these policies. Several reasons are given in the literature as to why sub-national entities undertake independent policies on GHGs or other environmental issues. Oates (2001) and Vogel et al. (2005) highlight the influence that State governments in the USA have had on national policy by experimenting with innovative initiatives. Rabe (2004) argues that some US states have enacted GHG policies to create incentives for new emission reduction technologies or to facilitate the recognition of emission reductions by companies in the event of future national regulations. Regional or local GHG reductions may also be motivated by the desire to achieve additional environmental co-benefits, such as reductions in air pollution.

On the other hand, sub-national actions to address climate change may be viewed as a ‘free rider’ problem because non-participating regions may benefit from the actions of the participating areas without paying the costs (Kousky and Schneider, 2003). Regional or local initiatives may also cause ‘leakage’ if mandatory requirements in one jurisdiction cause a shift in economic activity and emissions to other jurisdictions without mandatory requirements (Kruger, 2006).

Sub-national governments in the USA and Australia, two countries that are not Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, have been among the most active on GHG policy, with a number of US states having adopted or proposed a variety of programmes to address GHGs, including renewable energy portfolio standards, energy efficiency programmes, automobile emissions standards and emissions registries. Perhaps the most notable examples of such an initiative are those of eight states in north-eastern and mid-Atlantic USA announcing their intent to adopt a regional cap-and-trade programme, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI); three western states – California, Washington and Oregon – may explore a similar initiative (McKinstry, 2004; Peterson, 2004; Pew Center, 2004; Rabe, 2004). Australian states have developed a broad array of programmes to reduce, sequester or measure GHG emissions (see http://www.epa.qld.gov.au/environmental_management/sustainability/greenhouse/greenhouse_policy/other_states_and_territories/). For example, the Australian state of Victoria has adopted a series of programmes to support renewable energy projects and the development of a ‘green power’ market (Northrop, 2004), while that of New South Wales has developed a credit-based emissions trading scheme for electricity retailers, generators and some electricity users. (Fowler, 2004; Baron and Philibert, 2005; MacGill, et al., 2006). Finally, the Australian states have announced their intention to explore the development of a multi-jurisdictional emissions trading system (see http://www.cabinet. nsw.gov. au/ greenhouse/report.pdf).

Northrop (2004) reports that more than 600 cities worldwide have participated in programmes to implement measures aimed at reducing local GHG emissions.[47] These include cities in developing countries. In total, 18 cities in South America,[48] 12 cities in South Africa[49] and 17 cities in India[50] are becoming more active in developing environmental measures at the local level. Kousky and Schneider (2003) find that cities have primarily adopted GHG policies with co-benefits, including more efficient energy use. Fleming and Webber (2004) describe a variety of GHG measurement and energy efficiency measures undertaken at the regional and local level in the UK, and Pizer and Tamura (2004) summarize measures undertaken by the Tokyo city government to reduce GHGs and control the ‘heat island’ effect. These types of initiatives may influence sub-national and national government policies and serve as incubators for new approaches to achieve GHG emission reductions.

  1. ^  See Higley et al. (2001), OECD (2003e) and Lyon and Maxwell (2004) for typologies of different types of approaches and initiatives.
  2. ^  These cities participate in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), Cities for Climate Protection (CCP) programme. See http://www.iclei.org.
  3. ^  http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=528.
  4. ^  http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=700.
  5. ^  http://www.iclei.org/index.php?id=1089.