Chapter | A Handbook of Globalisation and Environmental Policy: National Government Interventions in a Global Arena | 2005

Environmental Federalism in the European Union and the United States

by David Vogel, Michael W. Toffel and Diahanna Post

Abstract

The United States (US) and the European Union (EU) are federal systems in which the responsibility for environmental policy-making is divided or shared between the central government and the (member) states. The attribution of decision-making power has important policy implications. This chapter compares the role of central and local authorities in the US and the EU in formulating environmental regulations in three areas: automotive emissions, packaging waste, and global climate change. Automotive emissions are relatively centralised in both political systems. In the cases of packaging waste and global climate change, regulatory policy-making is shared in the EU but is primarily the responsibility of local governments in the US. Thus, in some important areas, regulatory policy-making is relatively centralised in the EU. The most important role local governments play in the regulatory process is to help diffuse stringent local standards through centralised regulation, a dynamic which has become more common in the EU than in the US.

Keywords: Governing Rules, Regulations, and Reforms; Policy; Government Legislation; Natural Environment; Pollution and Pollutants; Weather and Climate Change; European Union; United States;

Citation:

Vogel, David, Michael W. Toffel, and Diahanna Post. "Environmental Federalism in the European Union and the United States." Chap. 9 in A Handbook of Globalisation and Environmental Policy: National Government Interventions in a Global Arena, edited by F. Wijen, K. Zoeteman, and J. Pieters, 247–276. Cheltenham, U.K.: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2005.