This is the second part of Professor John R. Nolon’s two-part series on climate change mitigation through sustainable development law. Part I ran in October 2009 http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/646/. In Part I, I argued that local governments should be partners with federal and state governments in managing climate change. This may sound incongruous to the ears of those listening to the debates over cap-and-trade legislation. In that context, state and local programs that cap, auction, tax, regulate, track, or otherwise attempt to manage greenhouse gas emissions are criticized on a number of grounds. The same can be said when the debate turns to standards for alternative fuels and vehicles. There is force to the argument that a comprehensive, national program is needed to prevent inefficiencies, inequities, and irregularities in a program that affects industries that function at a national and global level. From this, a generalization is framed: The emission of greenhouse gas causes global, not local, impacts, hence these are matters for national, not local or state, regulation.
John R. Nolon, Climate Change and Sustainable Development: The Quest for Green Communities, Part II, Plan. & Envtl. L., Nov. 2009 at 3, http://digitalcommons.pace.edu/lawfaculty/645/.