U.S. Legislation and Regulations to Address Climate Change: Experiences at the Federal, Regional, and State Level to Inform China's Climate Change Law


China is in the process of drafting national legislation to address climate change. The laws and regulations drafted and implemented in the United States over the past decade, at the state, regional, and federal level, can inform this process by illustrating both successes and failures in the formulation of climate policy. While the challenges the two countries face are different, there are certainly lessons and ideas from the U.S. approach that transcend those differences and can provide value when tailored to the Chinese context.

This paper begins with an overview of the U.S. approach to climate change regulation and legislation. It then sets forth a series of case studies, which are organized into the following categories: regulatory systems; market mechanisms; planning and environmental impact assessments; and registration, monitoring, and evaluation. Each case study provides any necessary background information, a discussion of the mechanisms and means of implementation, the results of such implementation (except for recent laws), and key takeaways from the experience of implementing the law or regulation.