The Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law is a landmark reference work, providing definitive and comprehensive coverage of this dynamic field. The Encyclopedia is organised into 12 volumes around top-level subjects – such as water, energy and climate change – that reflect some of the most pressing issues facing us today. Each volume probes the key elements of law, the essential concepts, and the latest research through concise, structured entries written by international experts. Each entry includes an extensive bibliography as a starting point for further reading. The mix of authoritative commentary and insightful discussion will make this an essential tool for research and teaching, as well as a valuable resource for professionals and policymakers.
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Edited by Kenneth R Richards and Josephine van Zeben
Edited by Michael Faure
Abstract Behavioral instruments – tools for regulating behavior that build on empirical research about how people actually behave – can contribute to environmental law in at least two ways. First, behavioral research can be used descriptively to understand and to interrogate the behaviors that generate environmental impacts. This is useful because it can help flag where environmental law is most likely to run aground on behavioral phenomena, and because it can highlight areas where legal interventions may be most and least effective. Second, behavioral research is useful prescriptively for helping to identify effective mechanisms for shaping behavior towards preferred ends. The chapter gives an overview of three key findings in law and behavior (dual-process cognition, loss aversion, and time inconsistency), and describes two key instruments (default rules and framing) that build on the insights of behavioral research, and which can be used to shape people’s behavior towards environmental ends.
Daniel H Cole and Peter Z Grossman
Abstract The choice of instrument for environmental protection has typically focused on which instrument will create the lowest costs of compliance. This has led to a preference among policymakers for cap-and-trade quotas and effluent tax programmes rather than more traditional policy instruments, such as technical standards or non-tradeable emissions quotas, often categorised as command-and-control instruments. However, there are additional costs besides compliance to environmental protection before, during, and after instrument choice. Any instrument involves the costs of monitoring, enforcement, and administration – costs that are every bit as important as that of compliance. Economic instruments also require functioning markets and reliable contract enforcement as well as careful policy design, making them ill-suited to pollution control in much of the developing world. The goal of any regime of environmental protection should be to choose the instrument with the lowest total social cost. In some instances that will mean command-and-control.
Edited by Michael Faure
Abstract A deposit-refund imposes a fee for purchase of a good that is rebated when the good is returned for proper disposal or recycling. Governments around the world apply these instruments to a variety of materials, including beverage containers and some types of hazardous household waste. Deposit-refunds can replicate the desirable incentives of a direct corrective tax on waste disposal without the perverse incentives that direct taxes create for illegal disposal. Empirical research has found that deposit-refunds are successful and cost-effective instruments for reducing waste, although some improvements might enhance their effectiveness. They may even be the foundation of a broader paradigm for incentive-based policies when enforcement is difficult or costly.
Michael Howlett and Ishani Mukherjee
Abstract Stakeholder and public participation occur ‘naturally’ or accidently, but are also designed by governments through the use of policy tools which enhance or curtail specific kinds of activities by specific sets of actors. The avenues of participation by different policy actors in policy processes, and their behaviour within them, are affected in particular by a specific class of policy tools, or ‘procedural instruments’ used to manipulate policy processes. These tools are distinct from those with a more substantive aim to deliver policy goods and services although they exhibit many of the same dynamics and can be analysed through the use of analogous methods. Procedural instruments, including freedom of assembly and information legislation, or the provision of funding and differential tax treatment for charities and various kinds of interest groups, focus and modify the interactions and activities of different policy actors, affecting their behaviour in articulating, developing, choosing, or supporting particular policy activities like public participation.
Abstract This contribution focuses on how distributional concerns may be understood with respect to an environmental policy instrument. Distribution is identified as a separate analytical category that reveals criteria for policymaking and instrument design. Subsequently, a typology of distributional concerns is developed that would inform a policy instrument, concentrating on the distribution of benefits and burdens, distribution of membership, distribution of responsibilities, and distribution of capabilities. This typology is then applied to reveal distributional choices in a specific policy instrument, namely the European Union Emission Trading System.
Edited by Michael Faure
Abstract Emissions trading is a market-based instrument aimed at achieving environmental targets in a cost-effective way by allowing legal entities, primarily firms, to buy and sell emission rights. The limited but steadily growing international diffusion of emissions trading schemes underlines the political relevance of this instrument. There are three basic design variants of emissions trading: cap-and-trade, credit trading, and international offsets. They operate differently in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, and political acceptability. A few greenhouse gas emissions trading schemes have already been linked to increase low-cost abatement opportunities and to work towards a global carbon price. Nevertheless, doubts about emissions trading schemes remain, mainly due to the many implementation problems they face, including an emissions price that is either too volatile or too low to incentivise environmentally-friendly technologies. Despite these drawbacks, emissions trading schemes are functioning with moderate success and continue to spread across the globe.