Panel: Innovation in Local Environmental Policy: Climate Change and Sustainability Actions
(Natural Resource, Energy, and Environmental Policy)

Friday, November 9, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Taylor - Mezz Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Chairs:  Tatyana Ruseva, Appalachian State University
Discussants:  Stuart Bretschneider, Arizona State University and Richard Feiock, Florida State University

Examining a Non-Stationary Approach to Policy Diffusion: Exploring the Municipal Spread of Climate Action Policies within Southern California
Brian Y An, University of Southern California, Adam Butz, California State University, Long Beach and Joshua Mitchell, University of Arkansas

Bridging Policy Adoption and Policy Implementation – an Exploration of Local Governments’ Sustainability Actions
Lu Liao1, George Homsy2 and Mildred E. Warner1, (1)Cornell University, (2)Binghamton University

Explaining Regional Environmental Policy Innovation in China: Internal Determinants or Regional Diffusion?
Shiming Zheng1 and Guimin Zheng1,2, (1)South China University of Technology, (2)Korea University

Local governments engage in various innovative environmental policies for sustainable and equitable future in their communities. Climate change policy and sustainability actions have received much attention from policy community and they are increasingly important policy areas in the United States as well as in developing countries around the world. While climate policy has been traditionally thought as of national or international collective action problems, recently, many local governments have actively participated in the climate change discussions, sought for serious commitment, and adopted the policy actions. When and why do the local governments and regional agencies engage, commit, and ultimately enact such innovative policy actions? What benefits do local governments obtain through their membership and commitment in the collective bargaining process? What challenges do they face in the policy implementation phase after adoption and how do they address them?

This panel provides novel explanations to these important questions by using various cutting-edge methodologies and present new evidence. The first paper examines how local governments use trans-municipal networks and strategically position themselves in pursuit of sustainability and climate change policy innovations. Using two-mode network analysis, the paper shows how local governments positions themselves as a local and regional leader in their networks. The second paper asks why many local governments in Southern California voluntarily adopted climate policy actions in recent decade. The study illuminates this question from a policy diffusion perspective, particularly using an intra-regional and metropolitan diffusion angle. Using spatial exploratory analysis and spatial regression modeling, the authors present new evidence for the adoption of local climate policy. The third paper goes beyond the local adoption of sustainability actions and it examines the factors that influence the implementation of the actions. The paper finds that the factors influencing sustainability policy adoption and implementation are different, with the latter driven by a political process that involves bargaining among stakeholders. Lastly, the fourth paper studies the local adoptions of innovative environmental policies in China. The paper shows that the development level of local economy and the level of citizen participation and expertise play a great role in the local adoption of environmental policy. It also suggests that the degree to which the central government is committed to the environmental policy innovation and the actions of neighboring provinces significantly influence the local policy innovation.

In the spirit of this year's emphasis on “evidence for action: encouraging and innovation and improvement,” our panel uses new methodologies and data analysis to answer important questions about the local adoption and implementation of innovative environmental policies.