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Unpublished Paper
  • Dorothy Daley, University of Kansas
  • Troy D. Abel, Western Washington University
  • Mark Stephan, Washington State University
In the United States, the political and governance challenges embedded in climate change
are perhaps the most daunting. While conventional logic holds that national and international
action is needed to address a problem of this magnitude, within the United States, subnational
governments have been considerably more active in pursuing climate change mitigation policy
compared to their federal counterparts. We take up Elinor Ostrom's charge to consider
polycentric climate governance and evaluate the extent to which subnational policy initiatives
improve GHG emission trends. In this paper, we explore different types of subnational policy
approaches to minimize GHG emissions. We capitalize on seven years of facility-level emission
data in the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to
test hypotheses that explore: (1) multilevel institutional nesting; (2) policy diversity, (3) analytic
deliberation; and their relation to (4) Greenhouse Gas Emission (GHG) reduction efficacy. In
diverse and complex institutional settings, thousands of industrial facilities and hundreds of
subnational US governments are at the forefront of American climate risk governance. Our
results suggest that even when controlling for past emissions levels, certain aspects of
subnational climate risk governance are associated with decreases in GHG emissions.
Publication Date
Spring April 18, 2019
Prepared for delivery at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association,
April 18 – 20, San Diego, CA. This material is based upon work supported by the National
Science Foundation under Grants 1431487, 1431082, and 1431378, a Western Washington
University Faculty Project Development Award, and a University of Kansas General Research
Fund (Award # 2301866). We are grateful to Ellen Rogers who helped us develop one of our key
variables, Derek Glasgow and Saatvika Rai for their help with data collection, and Brian Cook
and Michael Hannan for guidance and clarification on EPA’s GHGRP data. This is a work in
progress; please do not cite without the authors’ permission. Any opinions, findings, and
conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not
necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
Citation Information
Dorothy Daley, Troy D. Abel and Mark Stephan. "DaleyD_AbelT_StephanM_2019_US_climate_risk_governance_efficacy_WPSA_final.pdf" (2019)
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