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Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 


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Governing the global climate commons: The political economy of state and 
local action, after the U.S. flip-flop on the Paris Agreement 

Mark Cooper 

Institute for Energy and the Environment, Vermont Law School, United States 




Paris agreement 

Climate change subnational actions 

Economy of state policies 

United States withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, which follows well-known principles of common pool re¬ 
source management, poses a serious challenge, but it could provide a golden opportunity to cement and advance 
the efficacy and legitimacy of the Agreement. The Agreement encourages subnational units to participate in a 
polycentric, multistakeholder governance structure. As many as two dozen states have policies that could put 
them in compliance. These states represents over 40% of U.S. emissions, making them the 4th or 5th largest 
emitter. Subnational compliance would give the Agreement a major boost particularly if they seek observer 
status and are exempted from sanction. Even without such rewards, the states have strong reasons to follow this 
path. As non-fossil fuel producing states, they have clear interests in developing local resources as the basis for 
their electricity sector. As a large group, they gain economies of scale and network effects. As part of the 
American Federalist system, they would be defending their right of independent action. At COP 23, the U.S. 
subnational entities played a prominent role and the treaty participants reacted strongly against the Trump 
administration position, while embracing the activities of U.S. subnational entities. The U.S. presence was 
limited and isolated. 

1. Introduction 

After months of agonizing, frequently in very public debates be¬ 
tween members of the administration, President Trump declared his 
intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement. The defini¬ 
tiveness of the decision was always clouded by the fact that the actual 
withdrawal could not take place for three years, so the U.S. could still 
participate in events, and hints that the administration might re¬ 
consider, if the U.S. got a better deal. 

The reaction of the signatories to the Agreement was more decisive. 
There were strong and broad statements that supporters were unshaken 
in their resolve. In the U.S. units of local government (individual states 
and cities) affirmed their commitment to the goals of the agreement. 
California, which has the sixth largest economy in the world, seized the 
mantle of U.S. leadership in supporting the agreement. Many U.S. 
corporations also affirmed their commitment to the goals. 3 

This paper analyzes the policy actions and debates that developed 

both in the U.S. and globally around the decision of the Trump 
Administration to withdraw U.S. participation in the Agreement. 4 This 
debate raised issue that touch key elements of the structure of the 
Agreement. First, it highlights the tension between national and local 
energy policy authority - under both American federalism and the 
subsidiarity principles of the Paris Agreement that encourage action by 
subnational entities. Second, it describes how these governance con¬ 
flicts play out in the context of the unique institutional and governance 
structure of the Agreement. Third, it examines the underlying economic 
forces that drive groups of U.S. states and other subnational entities in 
opposite directions (potentially compliant v. non-compliant), which 
underscores the dramatically different economic interests that motivate 
policy choices. 

The paper focuses on the actions leading up to the decision to 
withdraw to stress the underlying fundamentals at play. We also point 
out that the immediate actions after the decision to withdraw are 
consistent with those prior dispositions. For the purposes of the 

E-mail address: 

1 Trump (2017). 

2 Resistance was instantaneous, with California in the lead, Leslie (2017); Davies (2017); Davenport and Nagourney (2017); Meyer (2017); Reilly (2017c); local governments were 
represented too. Wattles (2017); Graeber, 2017; Kahn, 2017; Plumer, 2017; Renews, 2017. 

3 America’s Pledge (2017), claims almost 1400 corporations (C2ES; Cusick, 2017a; Fairley, 2017; Hirji, 2017a; Hulac, 2017b; Reilly, Sean, 2017c). 

4 Cooper (2017), framed the challenge of transforming the electricity sector as requiring policy to pass through the horns of a global dilemma - development with decarbonization. The 
structure of the Paris Agreement was explained as a response to this dilemma. This paper elaborates on the development of a new challenge, the Trump administration’s refusal to accept 
decarbonization as a problem to be solved and withdrawal from the Agreement (Friedman, 2017d; Joselow, Maxine, 2017b; Smith-Schoenwalder, 2017). 


Received 1 March 2017; Received in revised form 1 February 2018; Accepted 13 March 2018 

Available online 24 April 2018 

0301-4215/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 

M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

analysis, we consider the initial reaction to fall in the period from the 
announcement of the intention to withdraw until the first meeting of 
the parties after the announcement. Therefore, the entire period ana¬ 
lyzed covers a little over a year with three subperiods of intense activity 
- the lobbying to influence the Administration’s decision (election day 
until June 2017), the announcement of the decision itself (early June 
2017), and the meeting at which the U.S. was “on the way out” 
(November 2017). We focus on the first two subperiods to build a map 
of the political economy of the decision, then asses the actions in the 
third period as a reflection of the underlying political economy. The 
paper focuses on three sets of actors who will deeply affect the early 
phase of the development of the Agreement - the U.S. Federal level, the 
parties to the Agreement, and the U.S. subnational entities that are 
supporting the agreement. 

Explaining and predicting actions of key players does not, however, 
predict an outcome. On the contrary, with complex and powerful forces 
pushing and pulling the implementation of the Agreement in different 
directions, even challenging its very existence, the outcome is un¬ 
certain. This paper argues that, ironically, an unintended consequence 
of the U.S. withdrawal could be to strengthen the Agreement. 

The paper is divided into four parts. The first section outlines the 
contemporary debate and tension between two horns of the dilemma 
the Trump administration faced - participation vs. federalism. 

Section 2 describes climate change as a common pool resource 
problem and discusses how the Paris Agreement is a response to this 
unique challenge. It also briefly describes how the analysis of the digital 
revolution can be applied to the electricity sector to support the con¬ 
clusion that the Paris Agreement can be, and is, perhaps, the only, ef¬ 
fective institutional response to climate change. 

Section 3 shows why American Federalism may play a key role that 
reinforces the Agreement, even after the U.S. decision to formally 
withdraw from the Agreement because the subnational entities have 
strong economic interest and a significant amount of political in¬ 
dependence to act on those interests. 

The paper concludes in Section 4 with a brief discussion of the 
policy options for each of the main actors and the direction of policy 
development. Having taken the position that the U.S. withdrawal could 
have the ironically positive, unintended consequence of strengthening 
the Agreement, I evaluate the options/likely actions of the parties from 
the point of view of seizing on the moment to promote the success of the 

2. Trumps' climate change dilemma 

2.1. The Paris Agreement 

Over the first half year of the Trump administration, arguably the 
most public, long running policy soap opera was the decision of whe¬ 
ther to withdraw from the Paris Agreement or not. Individual members 
of the cabinet had taken public positions on opposing sides. 5 6 7 The Pre¬ 
sident’s closest advisers were severely divided. White House staff 

5 Hess (2017a, 2017j), Cushman and Lavelle (2017), Chemnick and Lehman (2017b); 
the hand wringing became so profound and public that Chemnick and Evans (2017a), 
likened Trump’s indecision on participation to Hamlet. While others fretted about par¬ 
ticipation being put on and taken off the table (Chemnick, 2017c). This is not to suggest 
that there were not other issues that involved very loud division. However, they were 
much more external -between the Administration and the Congress, the Courts, the Re¬ 
publicans and the Democrats (Battelle, 2017a; Bowlin, 2017; Colman, 2017; Davenport, 
2017; Koss, 2017; Lavelle, 2017b; Loris and Schaefer, 2017; Mooney and Eilperin, 2017; 
Mooney et al., 2017). 

6 The State Department favored participation including Tillerson and his No. 2, as well 
as the head of USAID (Banerjee et al., 2017, Hess, 2017k, Chemnick, 2017k). Perry, at 
Energy (Irfan, 2017, Walton, 2017) favored participation, while the defense/intelligence 
community saw climate change as a threat including Coates in intelligence (Mintz, 2017). 
Pruitt, at Environment (Heikkinen, 2017a) was opposed (Waldman, 2017). 

7 Kushner, Ivanka in favor Bannon and Ebell opposed (Chemnick, 2017j, Lehmann, 

2017a, 2017b; Chemnick, 2017n). 

meetings were cancelled and rescheduled, but ultimately failed to re¬ 
solve the issue. 8 The Administration was being lobbied to participate 
and comply by advanced industrial nations 9 and corporations, 10 while 
conservative think tanks were pushing it towards withdrawal. One of 
the central points of debate raised by the advocates of participation was 
the loss of America’s international leadership role combined with the 
questioning of the willingness and ability of other nations to fill the 

With policies to promote the production of fossil fuels already im¬ 
plemented and the primary policy to reduce carbon emissions from 
existing electricity generation facilities (i.e. the Clean Power Plan) a 
high visibility target for weakening or abandonment, 1 ' it was clear that 
the U.S. would have great difficulty complying with the Agreement. The 
decision not to fund the U.S. commitment to the United Nation’s Green 
Climate Fund was a clear indication of the Trump administration’s 
unwillingness to actively participate in the global effort to combat cli¬ 
mate change. 11 Therefore, a strategy of participating in order to lower 
the targets and reallocate the burdens was floated. 16 

This not only magnified the divisions within the Administration, it 
also quickly elicited a vigorous response from officials closely asso¬ 
ciated with the Agreement and nations that intended to comply. They 
rejected that idea. 1 The rationale that the U.S. had been treated un¬ 
fairly in the treaty was also contested. 20 One important issue that plays 
a key role is the very different understanding that the Parties have of 
how the process is intended to operate. Some advocates in the U.S. 
debate argued incorrectly, as discussed below, that the Agreement was 
meaningless since it was voluntary and could not be enforced. 22 

2.2. American federalism 

The ‘toing-and-froing’ on participation interacted with a second 

8 Chemnick and Evan (2017a), Hess (2017i). 

9 Germany (Battelle, 2017b), France (Balaraman, 2017c), the UK (Balaraman, 2017a) 
and Nordic Nations (Hobson, 2017) in the unique context of the Arctic nations (Hess, 
2017k; Volcovici, 2017). 

10 Those pushing for participation and compliance included large money managers 
(Casey, 2017) and corporations (Chemnick, 2017a, 2017g; Lehmann, 2017b; Hirji, 
2017b; Hess, 2017e). 

11 American Energy Alliance (2017); Homer and Lewis (2017), Hess (2017b). 

12 China was the leading contender by far (Battelle, 2017c) and Moody’s (2017) 
pointed out that the three largest emitters (China, the EU, and India) had all reaffirmed 
their commitment to the Agreement (Lavelle, 2017c) and taken shots at the shift in 
American policy (Balaraman, 2017f; Chemnick, 2017f, 2017m). The potential costs to the 
U.S. covered a range of issues from loss of diplomatic leadership (Hess, 2017a, 2017g, 
Ifran, 2017; to jobs, (Reuters, 2017b)) to renewable technology (Ferris, 2017; Chemnick, 
2017e; Hulac, 2017a; Selin and Najam, 2016; Sengupta, 2017). 

13 Hafstead (2017), concluded that Obama policies were likely to fall short by a small 
margin under a best-case scenario, while Trump’s would miss by a wide margin. 

14 The most strident strategy involved reversing the endangerment finding Hess 
(2017a); American Energy Alliance (2017); Artz, 2017; Reilly, Sean, 2017c; Trauzzi, 
2017; Wamsted, 2017. 

15 Hess (2017d); Friedman (2017b). 

16 Horner and Lewis (2017). A letter from a “major American coal company” outlined 
the concessions the U.S. should seek for participation including changing the rules at 
international financial institutions to fund coal projects, a major focus of the Green Cli¬ 
mate Fund on cutting-edge coal technologies, renegotiating the nationally determined 
contribution (NDC), which was deemed to be “de facto done anyway,” with the executive 
order killing the power rule.” (Chemnick, 20171) Domestic policy would amend the Clear 
Air Act to give time for carbon capture technology to develop, with increased funding 
subsidies and incentives for coal. Similar demands had been made by Trump advisors 
(Hess, 20171). 

17 Chemnick (2017a). 

18 Irfan (2017); Walton (2017a, 2017b); Chemnick and Lehman (2017a); Balaraman 
(2017d, 2017e, 2017g, 2017i); Battelle, 2017d; Chemnick, 2017h; Doughy, 2017; 
Reuters, 2017a. 

19 Chemnick (2017a), Cushman and Lavelle (2017); Lehmann (2017a), Hess (2017f), 
Chemnick, 2017d. 

20 Chemnick and Lehman, 2017b; Irfan, 2017; Walton, 2017a, 2017b. 

21 Irfan, 2017; Chemnick and Lehman, 2017b. 

22 Cushman and Lavelle (2017); Hess, 2017f; Balaraman (2017b); Chemnick and 
Lehman (2017b). 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

policy dilemma, American federalism. While the federal government 
was promoting fossil fuels, a substantial number of states were heading 
in the opposite direction, toward much greater reliance on renewable 
resources and aggressive supply-demand integration and manage¬ 
ment. 2 A dozen individual states declared their belief that they could 
comply with the Agreement, while a growing number of cities had 
announced their intentions to rely on a very high level of renewables. 24 

The Federal government has jurisdiction over interstate commerce 
and the treaty making power under the U.S. constitution, but all other 
policy areas are reserved to the states. Where this line is drawn is a 
source of constant debate, and the early days of the Trump 
Administration exhibited this very dilemma. The headline issues in the 
tug of war over local rights involved contradictions like the Trump 
Administration aggressively arguing that cities should not become 
sanctuaries for immigrants, but simultaneously attempting to devolve 
authority for key health care decisions to local authorities. 

There are similar examples in the energy space. For example, the 
Trump administration granted North Dakota the right to regulate sto¬ 
rage of captured carbon, 2 ' but fretted over how to deal with California’s 
right under the Clean Air Act to write its own set of standards to reduce 
air pollution. 26 California had long been pursuing an expanded western 
grid that would provide important geographic and technological di¬ 
versity and facilitate operating the grid at much higher levels of pe¬ 
netration of renewables." However, the advent of an extremely hostile 
administration in Washington gave it pause because wholesale trans¬ 
actions between Western states participating in a joint grid manage¬ 
ment organization that would cover a wide geographic area and cross 
state lines would be subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy 
Regulatory Commission (FERC). 6 The FERC was being reshaped to 
reflect the Trump administration’s preference for coal and hostility to 
renewables, 2 but here too there were tensions. The FERC, which is 
responsible for energy markets and committed to competition, hesitated 
to embrace a Department of Energy proposal to build subsidies for 
baseload (coal and nuclear) into market transactions' 11 and ultimately 
rejected the proposal, asking the regional transmission operators to 
explain how they work to ensure reliability. 31 Its action in abandoning 
the Clean Power Plan (CPP) did not go as far as some supporters wanted 
and sounded this localism theme in doing so. A number of states and 
localities challenged federal authority in a variety of ways. 

This dilemma interacts broadly with the Paris Agreement, which is a 
treaty among nations that encourages action by subnational entities and 
offers them a route to participation as “observers” under the treaty, as 
discussed in the next section. The intense, public discussion and un¬ 
certainty are testimony to the importance of these matters, globally and 

23 Hess, 2017c; Cooper, 2012a. 

24 Hess (2017c), Moody’s (2017), Walton (2017a, 2017b). 

25 Holden (2017); Ayres, 2017; Heikkinen, 2017b, 2017c. 

26 Meyer (2017). A similar inconsistency triggers a huge flap when Florida was in¬ 
cluded, then exempted from the lifting an Obama-era offshore drilling ban (Shankman, 

27 See Cooper (2017), Chapter 6. 

23 Joselow (2017a). 

29 The differences were obvious, but to underscore the magnitude of the divide, Hess, 
2017a, reports that the League of Conservation Voters had given Obama a B + , while 
Trump received an F; Chemnick, 2017a; Balaraman (2017h); Cama (2017). 

30 The effort of the Trump administration to force electricity ratepayers to pay base¬ 
load operators above market costs, on the theory that the market was not “properly” 
reflecting the value of baseload, unleashed furious opposition. Bade, 2017b, Bade, 2017c, 
Gilmer, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c; Coffman-Smith, Andrew (2017); Bifera (2017); Northey 
(2017); Fowlie (2017); Orvis and Boyle (2017); St. John (2017). Even compromises, were 
hotly debated, Silverstein (2017); PJM (2017), Heidom (2017). 

31 Bade and Maloney, 2017; Base. 

32 EPA (2017); Friedman and Plumer (2017); E&E (2017c); Artz, 2017; Trauzzi, 2017. 

33 For example, challenging federal rules affecting coal production (Gilmer, 2017a, 
2017b, 2017c); putting up data the Trump administration wanted to restrict (Weston, 
2017); demanding more input (Streater, 2017); Adopting clean power plans (Holden and 
Kucro, 2017; Plumer, 2017). 

3. Governing a global commons 

3.1. The Paris Agreement as common pool resource management 

The Paris Agreement is an Addendum (hereafter Agreement) to 
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 
(UNFCCC) Report (hereafter Report) of the Conference of the Parties on 
its twenty-first session. The Report and the Agreement are roughly of 
equal length and deserve equal attention, since the former provides 
justifications for and fleshes out policy prescriptions in the latter. 

Climate change is a global commons problem. Individual actions 
that emit greenhouse gases affect all people who live in the commons. 
Individual emitters are responsible for dramatically different levels of 
cause and have very different levels of capability to respond. Moreover, 
there is no overarching authority to set limits and order actions. These 
characteristics make a polycentric, multi-stakeholder, collaborative 
governance structure necessary. The approach the parties arrived at 
in Paris can be described in terms of well-known principles of "common 
pool resource management." The definition of common pool resources 
and their management are firmly established in the economic literature 
thanks to the work of Elinor Ostrom, who received the Nobel Prize in 
economics in 2009. Her acceptance speech provides the analytic fra¬ 
mework used in this paper for characterizing the Paris Agreement. 

Ostrom notes that for a quarter of a century, Samuelson’s (1954) 
identification of two types of goods - public and private - was 
dominant. Beginning in the 1960s, scholars identified hundreds of local 
and regional governance arrangements that do not fit into either cate¬ 
gory (see Table 1). Common pool resources were “overtly added” to the 
framework in the 

Public goods, like national defense, involve outputs from which it is 
difficult to exclude individuals (all people in the defended territory 
benefit) and the enjoyment by one person does not detract from the 
enjoyment by another (the output is non-rivalrous or non-subtractable). 
Private goods are the opposite of public goods; easy to exclude and 
highly subtractable (I eat my apple and you cannot). Club goods are 
excludable but not highly subtractable (artwork in a museum), al¬ 
though they may be subject to congestion. Common-pool resources are 
difficult to exclude, like the atmosphere, but subtractable or con- 
gestible. Your pollution may impact all users and, with many polluters, 
the impact on the resource may be severe. 

The objective of the analysis of common-pool resource systems is “to 
understand the broader institutional regularities among the systems 
that were sustained over a long period of time and were absent in the 
failed systems.” 31 A basic set of design principles came to be defined as 
sets of “rules in use” that communities develop to manage a common- 
pool resource without recourse to an external, governmental authority. 
The list of key principles to define effective common poll resources 
management had evolved with field research. Ostrom provided an up¬ 
dated list in her Laureate speech, which is reorganized slightly and 
applied to the Paris Agreement in Table 2. 

The implication of this line of analysis was to demonstrate that the 
assumption of a “tragedy of the commons,” 39 e.g. the classic problem of 
overgrazing by individual sheep owners, was not an inevitable outcome 
and did not require either the privatization of the commons or the 
dictates of some central government to eliminate the problem. Needless 

34 UNFCCC (2015b). 

35 UNFCCC (2015a). 

36 Cooper, 2013. The third industrial revolution of which the transformation of the 
electricity/energy sector can be seen as a part (Cooper, 2017), has several other key 
aspects that can be analyzed as common-pool resource management. These include the 
Internet protocol and its governing institutions (Cooper, 2013); many of the physical 
(Cooper, 2006, 2005) and intellectual property (Cooper, 2006) systems that make up the 
communications resources system. 

37 Ostrom (2009), p. 410; Samuleson (1954). 

38 Ibid., p. 9. 

39 Hardin (1968). 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

Table 1 

Expanding the typology in the 1970s (new types in bold). 

Extent of Rivalry, Subtractability of Use 

High rivalry 

Low rivalry 

Difficulty of Excluding Potential 



Common-pool resources local: irrigation systems 
regional: fisheries global: Atmosphere 

Private goods: food, clothing automobiles 

Public goods: peace and security of community, national defense, 
knowledge, fire protection, weather forecasts 

Toll goods: theaters, private clubs, daycare centers 

Ostrom, Elinor, 2009. Beyond Markets and States: Polycentric Governance of Complex Economic Systems. Prize Lecture, 
economic-sciences/laureates/2009/ostrom_lecture.pdf. p. 413. 

Table 2 

The design principles of the paris agreement as a collaborative common-pool resource management institutional arrangement. 

Sources: Adapted and updated from Mark Cooper, 2017. The Political Economy of Electricity: Progressive Capitalism and the Struggle to Build a Sustainable Power 
Sector (Santa Barbara, Praeger) pp. 26-28. 

CPR Rules Necessary for a Viable Structure Rules Embodied in the Paris Agreement 

Constitutional rules govern the way the overall resource system is constituted; 

particularly how collective choice rules are defined. How does the resource system 
come into existence? 

Collective choice rules embody the procedures by which the operational rules are 
changed. How can the operation of the system adapt? 

Operational rules govern the activities that take place within the borders of the 
resource system. How does the system work? 

Boundary rules specify how participants enter or leave their positions. How are users 
awarded rights? 

Position rules associate participants with an authorized set of actions. Who gets to use 
the resource and who oversees it? 

Aggregation rules specify the transformation function to map actions into outcomes. 
How is the resource measured and controlled? 

Authority rules specify which sets of actions are assigned to positions and how those 
actions will be overseen. How are users allowed to exploit the resource? 

Payoff rules specify how benefits and costs are required, permitted, or forbidden in 
relation to players based on the full set of actions taken and outcomes reached, as 
well as how the provisioning and maintenance of the resource system will be 
provided. What are the incentives, taxes, and fines that elicit proper behaviors? 
Scope rules specify the set of outcomes that may be affected. How do actions impact 
the resources and other users? 

Information rules specify the information available to each position for purposes of 
monitoring and enforcing compliance with the rules. What flow of information best 
encourages, manages, and distributes the resource? 

Monitoring: Users and resources. 

Enforcement: Conflict resolution. Graduated Sanctions 
Border relationship to larger socio-economic systems: 

Resource border conditions 
Local Rights 
Nested Enterprises 

The governance of the common pool resource system is created by the United Nations 
Framework Convention on Climate Change 

The Parties, acting through the Conference of the Parties have the authority to adapt 
and improve the operational rules (as happened in Paris in 2015). 

Being based on a convention, it has the trappings of a traditional international 
agreement, but the dynamics of its governance—the operational rules—resemble the 
institutions of a traditional common pool resource system. 

The set of commoners is defined as the Parties to the Convention, which is the province 
of nations. Nations also have primary responsibility for local energy policy. 
Contributions to decarbonization are required. Strategies are defined by individual 
Parties and must be consistent with the shared goal. Progressive burdens and 
obligations are outlined. 

The responsibility attached to each commoner is both individual and shared. The 
nations define their contributions and are subject to a collaborative review of the 
appropriateness of the contribution. Consideration is given to the capabilities of the 
individual nation and the likelihood that the combined effect of the individual 
contributions will achieve the shared goal. 

The Agreement follows the principle of subsidiarity, delegating responsibility to self- 
organized, self-governing policy sectors (i.e., nation states). 

At a high level, the principles for the distribution of both burdens and rewards are laid 
out. The Agreement is aggressively progressive, in both laying a heavier burden on 
developed Parties to reduce emissions, and in helping developing Parties achieve the 
dual goals of development and decarbonization. 

The Agreement adopts a more aggressive target for minimizing temperature increases, 
which drives the steps necessary to achieve the outcome. 

The Agreement seeks to hold the Parties accountable by establishing effective 
monitoring and accountability. It outlines a great deal of continuous reporting and 
information exchange to promote transparency and facilitate the application of social 
pressures to elicit compliance. In this regard, the Agreement calls for immediate and 
ongoing efforts to continually assess and refine the goals and relationships. 

Intense transparency and information sharing 
Critique by community 

The Agreement intends to facilitate a flow of technology and resources across borders 
Subnational units and non-governmental entities are encouraged to participate actively 
and give direction in the implementation of the agreement. 

to say, given the location of these institutions between the market 
(property) and the state, 0 this is an intensely studied and debated 
framework. Here suffices it to say that collaborative, self-organizing 
solutions are possible and frequent. 

The challenge of developing effective common-pool resource man¬ 
agement approaches varies depending on the nature of the resource. 
While there are “many subtypes of goods that vary substantially in 
regard to many attributes,” 41 in her Laureate speech, Ostrom identified 
key characteristics that suggest pollution of the global climate resource 
is particularly challenging. There is high mobility of resource units and 
significant difficulty in measuring impacts, if not output. The resource 

40 Cooper (2013), emphasizes this aspect in contributing to the strength of the solution 
and the problems of governance that it creates. 

41 Ostrom (2009), p. 412. 

base takes a long time to regenerate, if, in fact, it can. It covers a very 
large spatial range. It has a large and constantly growing number of 
users. 42 Several of these key elements of the Agreement’s common pool- 
resource model that play prominent roles in the policy debate are the 
focal point of this analysis. 

3.2. Governance 

Common pool resource management institutions are collaborative 
and not imposed by some external authority. Those who declare the 
model meaningless misunderstand the nature of the enterprise. In these 
models, legitimacy is built through the consensus process; it is not 
imposed by forces from the outside or above. The governance solution 

42 Ibid. p. 8. 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

had to be geographically polycentric and vertically coherent, affording 
flexibility to the parties involved. This required collaborative solutions 
and reciprocity around shared goals building up norms of responsibility 
through the transparency of a vigorous information/evaluation frame¬ 
work and developing mechanisms for conflict resolution. Ultimately 
imposition of graduated light-touch sanctions for inappropriate or in¬ 
adequate actions would have to be developed. As with any multi-sta¬ 
keholder approach that relies on the principle of subsidiarity and de¬ 
legates responsibility, the success of the Paris Agreement will be 
determined by practice. The Paris Agreement got the theory right, but it 
is practice that determines success or failure. 

Starting with a confrontation with one of the most important and 
powerful commoners might not be ideal, but it did have three aspects 
that may be constructive. First, it led to an initial set of “light-handed” 
responses, like social disapproval, criticism and shunning, which fits the 
need for responses to be graduated. Second, it provided the opportunity 
to build solidarity by socially rewarding positive actions taken by 
subnational entities with praise and enhanced participation. Third, ra¬ 
ther than hashing out difference of opinion and nuances about com¬ 
mitments and plans to reduce emissions, which was certain to be con¬ 
tentious, the parties got to stand together to confront a common enemy 
and publicly affirm their commitment to the organization and its goals. 

3.3. Economic principles 

The Report and Agreement outline progressive policies that note the 
greater resources, technological skill, and the higher rate of emissions 
in the more advanced nations. The Report and Agreement call for 
commensurately greater obligations on these nations including reduc¬ 
tions in emissions and the funding and transfer of technology. The goal 
of sustainable development is balanced and progressive in the 
Agreement: “Developing countries ... are encouraged to move over time 
towards economy-wide emission reduction or limitation targets in the 
light of different national circumstances.” 43 Developed countries not 
only take the lead in financing and enhancing technology transfer, they 
“shall continue taking the lead by undertaking economy-wide absolute 
emission reduction targets.” 44 As larger emitters with more resources, 
they are held to a higher standard. 

The policies are market and efficiency-oriented in the sense that, 
while goals are set by governments, markets and public-private part¬ 
nerships are primary vehicles to achieve the goals. 1 They favor effi¬ 
ciency and renewables for economic reasons. 46 The lower the cost, the 
greater the ability to achieve the sustainable development goal. The 
Report points to the “need to promote universal access to sustainable 
energy in developing countries, in particular in Africa, through the 
enhanced deployment of renewables.” 47 The focus on renewables, 
which use local resources, also furthers other goals including a desire to 
promote the “development and enhancement of indigenous capacities 
and technologies. ... Exploring how developing country Parties can take 
ownership of building and maintaining capacity over time and 
space.” 48 

The Trump administration’s complaints go to the core values of the 
commitment to manage the resource in a cooperative and progressive 
manner and trigger intense rejection by the commoners, making ne¬ 
gotiations difficult, if not impossible. 

43 United Nations, Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2015. Report of the 
Conference of the Parties on its twenty-first session, held in Paris form 30 November to 13 

44 UNFCCC, Report, 21. 

45 Ibid. 23. 

46 Ibid. 2. 

47 Ibid. p. 3. 

48 Ibid. 9-10. 

3.4. Vertically supportive polycentric action: local, subnational and regional 

Because the Paris Agreement recognizes the need for a consensual 
framework in which authority is dispersed, it reaches out to subnational 
entities. Although it is typically nation-states that sign treaties, other 
governmental entities can have international relationships. The Paris 
Agreement gives this aspect as much attention as any other issue it dealt 

The Paris Agreement is an Annex to the “Report of the Conference of 
the Parties on its twenty-first session.” The Report recognizes and en¬ 
courages the participation of other entities 31 times including subna¬ 
tional entities (governmental and nongovernmental) 12 times, and 
encourages non-signatories to participate through observer status 12 
times. The preamble to the Report and the outreach to non-Party sta¬ 
keholders suggests the breadth of the effort to stimulate participation 
by these entities. 

Agreeing to uphold and promote regional and international co¬ 
operation in order to mobilize stronger and more ambitious climate 
action by all Parties and non-Party stakeholders, including civil society, 
the private sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational 
authorities, local communities and indigenous peoples. 49 

Welcomes the efforts of all non-Party stakeholders to address and 
respond to climate change, including those of civil society, the private 
sector, financial institutions, cities and other subnational authorities; 

Invites the non-Party stakeholders... to scale up their efforts and 
support actions to reduce emissions and/or to build resilience and de¬ 
crease vulnerability to the adverse effects of climate change... 

Recognizes the need to strengthen knowledge, technologies, prac¬ 
tices and efforts of local communities and indigenous peoples related to 
addressing and responding to climate change, and establishes a platform 
for the exchange of experiences and sharing of best practices on miti¬ 
gation and adaptation in a holistic and integrated manner. 50 

The Agreement identifies local impacts, local knowledge, and local 
capacity building as key concerns mentioning the subnational, regional 
and non-governmental groups that would not be “parties” to the con¬ 
vention. These entities are encouraged to provide expertise and parti¬ 
cipate as observers in meetings." Observer status is defined in terms of 
participation and financial relationships. These references are in the 
Preamble, and Articles 7, 11, 15, 16 and 18, which constitute one sixth 
of the Agreement. 

Ultimately, the Parties will define the nature and extent of activities 
for these non-Participants, but the language clearly favors more, not 
less involvement and engagement by entities. The participants are 
much more likely to give the expansion of participation by compliant 
observer entities a much friendlier hearing than to the efforts by non- 
compliant entities to lower the goal. 

On the one hand, the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement 52 
poses a serious challenge to those committed to dealing with climate 
change, not only because it would remove the second largest global 
carbon emitter from compliance with the treaty, but also because it 
could be a blow to the governance model adopted by the Agreement. 
On the other hand, the conditional tense is necessary because, it could 
also provide an opportunity to advance the legitimacy of the agree¬ 
ment. The resolve of the community might be strengthened. 

49 UNFCCC, Report, p. 3. 

50 Ibid. pp. 19-20. Non-Party entities have a separate section and are dealt with in 
paragraphs 106-135 of the Report, which constitutes almost a quarter of the Report. 

51 UNFCCC, Paris Agreement, Article 8: Anybody or agency, whether national or in¬ 
ternational, governmental or non-governmental, which is qualified in matters covered by 
this Agreement and which has informed the secretariat of its wish to be represented at a 
session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris 
Agreement as an observer, may be so admitted unless at least one third of the Parties 
present object. 



M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

particularly if there are subnational units within the U.S. that can and 
will comply. A decision to comply by local or regional entities with 
energy and climate making authority would send a strong counter 
message and could significantly enhance the legitimacy of the Agree¬ 

This runs into the Trump administration’s idiosyncratic attitude 
toward localism, which supports local authority when the locals agree 
with it, but opposes local authority when it does not agree. Thus, in the 
core economic and political values embodied in the Agreement, there is 
a fundamental conflict between the Trump administration and the 
principles of the Agreement. 

3.5. The third industrial revolution and the emergence of a 21st century 
electricity system 

An analogy to the development of the Internet adds depth to the 
description of the Paris Agreement and the emerging paradigm in the 
electricity sector. In the early 1990s, as the Internet began to move out 
of the university and national laboratory environment to penetrate 
society more broadly, it was seen as a global common pool resource. 
The location of much of the digital revolution (the internet and tech¬ 
nological development) outside of the state and separate from tradi¬ 
tional international organizations became a central feature of the in¬ 
stitutional structure,” 4 although governance challenges were significant 
as the digital communications system grew. 55 

As the digital economy became pervasive, scholars added two new 
types of goods to the typology discussed above. These were based on 
extensions of the underlying dimensions of rivalry and exclusion. As 
shown in the Table 3, anti-rivalry and inclusiveness were seen to be 
characteristics of the new economy giving rise to new types of goods. 
The identification of collaborative goods, which exhibit both anti-riv¬ 
alry and inclusiveness, is particularly important because the economic 
characteristics they possess and the processes the new traits trigger give 
them an economic advantage. 

Anti-rivalry occurs when the use and/or sharing of the production of 
the good by one person increases the value to others. Inclusiveness 
occurs when the value of a good increases as the number of people 
using and/or producing the goods increases.” 57 

It can be argued that the emerging 21st century electricity system 
exhibits these characteristics, which are identified in bold in Table 4. 
While the supply-side resource savings are unique to each resource, 
they share economic characteristics. Traditional technological progress 
in lowering the cost of electricity from alternative technologies has 
been the key launch pad for the transformation of the electricity sector. 
However, the ultimate success will depend on the application of in¬ 
formation, communications and advanced control technologies to 
manage the new, more complex system. The dynamic integration of 
supply and demand is akin to the idea of torrenting - distributing and 
storing resources in the local network, then calling on them in the most 
efficient manner when needed with embedded algorithms and knowl¬ 
edge. The ability to capture these sources of value and efficiency are 
made easier because declining communications costs facilitate and 
dramatically alter the logic of collective action. Digital communications 
facilitate control and integration of diverse elements of the network. 

and High Technology Law, 3:1, pp. 133, 138 and applied to the 

53 Golick, 1991; Kollach and Smith (1996); Hess, 1995a, 1995b; Bernbom (2000). 

54 Mueller (2010); Pavan, 2012; Malkin, 1994. 

55 Cooper (2013). As the Internet moved out of the academic world into society, 
participation in the governance of its core protocols implemented by the community 
through the Internet Engineering Task force, which was conducted through list serves and 
open conferences, exploded, doubling in a few years in the early 1990s. To socialize the 
mass of new participants a document entitled the “Tao of IETF,” with the hope that “this 
will give them a warm, fuzzy feeling and enable them to make the meeting more pro¬ 
ductive for everyone” (Malik, 1994, p. 1). 

56 Weber, 2004, Von Hippie, 2005. 

57 Cooper (2006), p. 133. 

characteristics of the emerging system as described in Cooper (2017). 
The Political Economy of Electricity: Progressive Capitalism and the 
Struggle to Build a Sustainable Power Sector (Santa Barbara, Praeger), 
Chapters 8, 10, 11. Other, non-digital examples are provided in Mark 
Cooper, 2011. Structured Viral Communications: The Political 
Economy and Social Organization of Digital Disintermediation. Journal 
on Telecommunications and High Technology Law, 9:1 

Characteristics that lower transaction costs and increase demand 
side value are shared across all resources. The emerging digital system 
emphasizes local resources, more local knowledge and local control, 
which are clear attributes of the emerging electricity system. 
Particularly important is the expanding role of end-users, not simply on 
the demand side, but also as producers (self-supplying “prosumers”). 
Direct and indirect network effects, also known as demand-side 
economies of scale, were seen as extremely important. 

In electricity, inclusion of wider geographic areas, complementary 
technologies, and participation of more users engaging in flexible 
supply and demand enhance system management possibilities. The 
large and diverse market makes it possible for firms to find profitable 
niches, even with an open source approach to property since valuable 
specialization could be built atop shared protocols without under¬ 
mining interoperability. Giving individuals and system operators a 
wider range of options at a local scale allows needs to be met at lower 
cost with fewer resources. This transformation of the organizing prin¬ 
ciples is estimated to yield an integration dividend of 15-20% of system 
capacity. This makes complementary resources and integration the 
second or third largest “resource” in the new system. 

The parallel and complementary development of the energy and 
communications sectors is more than a mere analogy. A new techno- 
economic paradigm imposes and requires consistency across inter¬ 
connected economic activities. The penetration of the core logic of the 
evolving paradigm into all aspects of the economy to capture the eco¬ 
nomic advantages they create is to be expected. 5 Moreover, the com¬ 
munications and energy sector are two of the most important “focal 
core resource systems” 59 of any society, so one would expect them to be 
organized according to similar principles. 

Given the global nature of the resource and the polycentric nature of 
policy authority that affect its exploitation, the ability to meet the 
challenge of climate change would be enhanced if these characteristics 
of the 21st century economy were brought to bear on it. 

4. The political economy of compliance: what’s in it for the states 

4.1. State actions in support of Paris and climate policy 

As noted above, a dozen states immediately informed the White 
House that they believed the U. S. should remain in and comply with 
the Paris Agreement. In fact, shortly after the Agreement was adopted, 
ten of these states joined the Under2 Coalition, which was an im¬ 
mediate affirmation of the effort of the Agreement to engage organi¬ 
zations at a variety of levels. 

The Under2 Coalition is a diverse group of governments around the 
world who set ambitious targets to combat climate change. Central to the 
Under2 MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) is an agreement from all 
signatories to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions 80-95% below 1990 
levels, or limit to 2 annual metric tons of C02-equivalent per capita, by 
2050. A total of 170 jurisdictions spanning 33 countries and six continents 
have signed or endorsed the Under2 MOU. Together, the Under2 Coalition 
represents 1.18 billion people and $27.5 trillion in GDP - equivalent to 
16% of the global population and 37% of the global economy. 

58 Cooper (2015), and 2017, argue that the two sectors are part of the third (digital) 
industrial revolution and rest on similar principles that are reflected in the Paris Agree¬ 

59 Cooper (2013); Cooper (2016a), presents an analysis of the communications sector 
in the same framework used in this paper to describe the electricity sector. 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

Table 3 

A digital information age view of the 21st century electricity system expanding typology of goods in the 21st century digital economy (new types in bold). 
Source: Mark Cooper, 2006, From WiFi to Wikis and Open Source. Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law, 3:1, p. 133. 

Extent of Rivalry, Subtractability of 

High Rivalry 

Low Rivalry 


Difficulty of Excluding Potential 



Inclusion is 




Private goods 

Public goods 

Toll goods 

Public/Private goods Private providers benefit more than free riders, so they 
“support open source” 

Collaborative goods Network Effects: Direct (users enjoy increased value due 
to their expanded Connection (telephone) Indirect network effect - users 
benefit because suppliers expand and diversify (software) 

Table 4 

Sources of Comparative Advantage of Collaborative Production (Bold entries apply to the emerging 21 st century electricity sector). 

Source : Adapted from Mark Cooper, 2006, From WiFi to Wikis and Open Source. Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law, 3:1, pp. 133, 138 and 
applied to the characteristics of the emerging system as described in Mark Cooper, 2017. The Political Economy of Electricity: Progressive Capitalism and the Struggle 
to Build a Sustainable Power Sector (Santa Barbara, Praeger), Chapters 8, 10, 11. Other, non-digital examples are provided in Mark Cooper, 2011. Structured Viral 
Communications: The Political Economy and Social Organization of Digital Disintermediation. Journal on Telecommunications and High Technology Law, 9:1 

Activity Shared Resource Process Benefits 

Supply Side Transformation Resource Savings 

Mesh Network 

Open Source Software 


21 st Century 

Electricity System 



Storage, Bandwidth 

Local & renewable 

Transaction Cost 


All Local Knowledge 

Demand-Side Value Creation 

All Network effects 

Embedded Coordination Algorithms 
Embodied knowledge in software 
Torrenting, Viral communications 

Integration of supply & demand with embedded coordination 
& embodied local knowledge Using diverse geographic & 
technology supply (akin (to torrenting) 

Dynamic occupation of spectrum 
Exploiting rich information in real time 
Reduction in cost and expansion of throughput, broad 

Dynamic use of grid & resources storage, exploiting 
information (e.g. weather) in real time Reduction in 
cost, improvement of throughput 

Consumer as producer 

Fit Between consumer needs and output improved 


Increased option value, supply-Side support for open 
source property due to specialization 

The Under2 MOU originated from a partnership between California 
and Baden-Wiirttemberg with the aim of bringing together ambitious 
states and regions willing to make a number of key commitments to¬ 
ward emissions reduction and to help galvanize action at the COP 21 
(Conference of the Parties) Paris Climate Change Conference in 
December 2015.' 

The early leadership role of California is important as it is the most 
populous state with the largest state economy by far 6 and one which 
has a unique degree of autonomy. The U.S. participants in the Under2 
Coalition included two of the largest four U.S. states and the group of 
ten U.S. states represented about one-third of U.S. GDP. The German 
participation was even more substantial, with all four of the largest 
German states and almost three-fifths of the German GDP. 62 

4.2. Potentially compliant states as a group 

The left side of Table 5 shows the policy positions (inputs) that 
identify the potentially compliant states. The final rows on the left side 
contrast the policy positions of the potentially compliant states with the 
non-compliant states. 

In addition to the Under2 Coalition states, another five states urged 
the Trump Administration to remain in the Paris Agreement because 
they were feeling the impact of climate change and were making pro¬ 
gress in responding. Another half dozen states have defended the Clean 
Power Plan. In all three of these policy actions, several major cities also 


61 Its economy is over 60% larger than the second ranked state (Texas) and seven times 
as large as the average state. P. 


joined in. Another important indicator of a willingness to follow ag¬ 
gressive local climate policies is the participation in the Clean Cars 
Program, which is the group of states that follows the California lead on 
vehicle emissions. Here the table identifies states that have taken steps 
toward joining California standards, but have not joined fully. Finally, 
Table 5 identifies the nine states in the Northeastern Regional Green¬ 
house Gas Initiative (RGGI) and one that withdrew. 

While one can debate how many states can comply and/or would 
formally seek observer status, the group of potentially compliant states 
is substantial. The right side of Table 5 shows some of the key “outputs” 
of the policies of the compliant states compared to the non-compliant 
states. The potentially compliant states would represent between one- 
third and two-fifths of U.S. emissions and more than half of U.S. GDP. 
Taken together, these states would rank in the top five globally as “an” 
emitter, just behind India, accounting for 6% of global emissions. The 
non-compliant states would still be the second largest emitter, below 

The share of emissions of the potentially compliant states is much 
smaller than their share of population and economic activity. This re¬ 
flects both the nature of economic activity in the states and the track 
record of reducing energy consumption and emissions. As shown in 
Table 5, the potentially compliant states have much higher rankings on 
efficiency in utility, buildings, transportation, solar, corporate and 
overall clean energy policy. Their efforts to promote renewables are 
much more aggressive, with higher targets for utilities to include in 
their resource mix, i.e. Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). The RPS 
targets in the potentially compliant states are three times as high as the 

63 Based on 2016 shares of C02 emissions, 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

Table 5 

The war between compliant and non-compliant U.S. states reproduces The U.S. war against the world. 

Sources: Under2 Coalition,; Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis, “Even in states suing over new climate regulations, coal use is 
shrinking,” Washington Post, May 3, 2016, 
climate-plans-is-burning-less-coal-anyway/?utmJerm= .617eaffe2859; Brent Kendal, “Coalition of 18 States to Move to Defend Carbon-Emissions Rules: Group 
expected to ask court to intervene in lawsuit challenging greenhouse-gas regulations. Wall Street Journal, Nov. 4, 2015; 
states-to-move-to-defend-carbon-emissions-rules-1446613261; US Environmental Protection Agency, "U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report: 1990-2014," 2015; 
U.S. Department of Commerce. Bureau of Economic Analysis. Gross domestic product (GDP) by state, 2015. United States Census Bureau. “National Totals: Vintage 
2015, 2016; Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. C02 time series 1990-2014 per region/country, 2015; ACEEE, State Energy Efficiency Scorecard, 2016,; Solar Power Rocks. Com, 2016 United States Solar Power Rankings, 
rankings/; Clean Edge, Corporate Clean Energy Procurement Index, State Leadership & Ranking 2016, 2017 U.S. Clean Tech, Leadership Index: State and Metro, May. 
Jocelyn Durkay, State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, National Conference of State Legislatures, December 28, 2016, 

State Compliant v. Non-Compliant State Policy Inputs Compliant v. Non-Compliant State Outputs 



































% of GHG 



























% of GDP 

























% of Production 
























Nat. Gas 

































































Energy Use 



New Hampshire 










million BTU/capita 

New Jersey 










New Mexico 










Elect. Use/year 

New York 








































Res. Only 



Rhode Island 
































































other states. All but one of the 22 states with a high probability of 
compliance, based on the efficiency/solar rankings, have an RPS. 
Among those states the range is 10-65% by 2025, with that average 
RPS target is in the range of 30%. The one state without an RPS (Iowa) 
already exceeds the average targets for the other states, which is at 

Among the states that are not good candidates for compliance, en¬ 
ergy policy is much less friendly to efficiency and renewables. Almost 
half have no RPS and the average target for the RPS for the non- 
compliant group is less than 10%. Average energy consumption in the 
non-compliant states is almost 60% higher than in the compliant states, 
even though the latter have much higher incomes. While a variety of 
factors can contribute to this difference, the noncompliant states pro¬ 
duce more fossil fuels, consume more and do not try as hard to lower 
consumption. In terms of electricity consumption, the potentially 
compliant states are much closer to the more efficient advanced in¬ 
dustrial societies that are supporting the Paris agreement. 

The most striking difference between the potentially compliant and 
non-compliant states is in their fossil fuel resources. The states identi¬ 
fied as potentially compliant account for a much smaller share of fossil 
fuel production than the non-compliant states; 14% v. 57% of oil, 17% 
v. 82% of coal and 25% v. 70% of gas output. Clearly, they would be 
much better off pursuing non-fossil fuel approaches. Interestingly, the 
distribution of production from renewables is much more evenly split 
with the potentially compliant states accounting for 60% of non-hydro 
renewables. The non-compliant states have chosen not to develop their 
renewable resources or to control their demand growth, but they have a 
substantial share of non-hydro renewables because their resource base 

is substantial and the cost is very attractive. 64 

To underscore the political economy of these differences domes¬ 
tically, whereas nine-tenths of the non-compliant group sued to block 
the CPP, three-quarters of the potential compliant group intervened to 
defend it. With respect to the Paris Agreement, Republican House 
members from nine states 65 and Senators from 5 states 66 introduced a 
resolution calling on the Trump Administration to withdraw from the 
Paris Agreement, followed by a letter from Republican Attorneys Gen¬ 
eral from 10 states. 67 Two-thirds of the non-compliant states were re¬ 
presented among those calling form withdrawal. On the other side, 40 
Democratic senators sent a letter urging the administration not to 
withdraw, 68 along with the governors from 12 states. 69 Five-sixths of 
the potentially compliant states were represented among those op¬ 
posing withdrawal. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, widely seen 
as “battleground” states, were represented in both groups. These three 
states generally sat in the middle on the policy measures even though 

64 Several of the non-compliant states have rich renewable resources whose current 
costs are quite low - particularly onshore wind - so they have exhibited significant de¬ 
velopment of those resources (e.g. Texas, Oklahoma) but fossil-fuel interests are much 
larger. In the case of Trump’s Secretary of Energy, former Texas governor Rick Perry, 
whose tenure had seen a huge expansion of wind power, the Trump Administration’s 
policy created a bit of a contradiction), particularly with respect to the expansion of the 
grid to accommodate wind (Thinkprogress, 2017; Tomich, 2017; Marshall, 2017). 

65 Quinones (2017). 

66 Hess (2017n). 

67 Siciliano (2017). 

68 Senate Democrats, 2017. 

69 Hess, 2017. 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

Pennsylvania has fossil fuel resources. Republican governors from 
Vermont and Massachusetts, two of the highest performing potentially 
compliant states, also argued against withdrawal. 1 Thus, this is not a 
war against coal, but a battle between two very different paths to the 
future, and the battle lines are sharply drawn. ' 

4.3. Economics 

Many of the potentially compliant states have expended consider¬ 
able political, policy, and legal resources to take these state policy ac¬ 
tions that are likely to lead to compliance, so why go to the trouble? 
There are political reasons and as suggested above, the potentially 
compliant states have a direct interest in relying on local resources, but 
there are many more economic reasons. 

First, a massive and growing number of economic entities within 
and outside of the energy sector are acting on this belief. The com¬ 
mons literature teaches that responding to the externality does not re¬ 
quire altruism, but a recognition of self and shared interests and an 
acceptance of responsibility. 

Second, the benefits of carbon emission reduction, which are very 
diffuse owing to the truly global nature of the problem, are not the only 
public health benefits. Replacing fossil fuels reduces emissions of local 
and regional pollutants. A recent estimate for the states participating in 
the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) a multistate agreement 
in the Northeastern U.S. to promote reduced emissions with a cap on 
emissions that allows trading of emission permits, is pertinent here 
because the participating states make up a significant part of the po¬ 
tentially compliant group. The analysis puts the value of non-carbon 
pollution reduction at just under $6 billion, which pays for the entire 
cost of RGGI. In the Jacobson, et al. analysis of a 100% renewable 
sector, the non-carbon environmental benefits are larger than the cli¬ 
mate change related benefits. 

Third, a technological revolution has made acting like a responsible 
user of the commons much easier with a dramatic decline in cost of low 
carbon, low pollution approaches to meeting the need for electricity on 
both the supply and the demand side/ There is a widespread and 
growing understanding that the main building blocks of the alternative 
electricity system, efficiency, onshore wind, utility photovoltaics, and 
storage are already cost competitive with conventional fossil fuels and 
much lower in cost than new or aging nuclear technologies. 80 Cost 
trends suggest that the palate of cost competitive options is expanding 
quickly. The Trump Administration’s effort to expand the use of fossil 
fuels is widely seen as misguided and doomed to fail in the face of the 

70 Georgetown Climate Center (2017). 

71 Mark Hensch, “Pence: Trump will ’end the war on coal,”’ The Hill, October 8, 2016, 


72 Cooper (2017), Chapter 8. 

73 The diametrically opposed comments of California and Texas filed in response to an 
EPA request for suggestions on how to revisit Obama EPA standards adds another di¬ 
mension (Reilly, 2017b). These are the two largest states in the potentially compliant v. 
non-compliant groups and they are as different as night and day in their energy policy, 
resource endowments, and reliance on renewables. Texas accounts for over one-third of 
U.S. oil production, over one-quarter of natural gas production, and one-twentieth of coal 
production. California accounts for just over one-twentieth of U.S. oil production and 
virtually no gas or coal production. 

74 Trabish (2017a, 2017b, 2017c), Bade (2017a) (2017b); Fresh energy (2016). 

75 Moody’s (2017), Cusick (2017b); Casey (2017). 

76 Over two-thirds of the Under 2 group, half of the Pro-CPP group, and two-fifths of 
the max potential group. 

77 Abt (2017). 

78 Jacobson et al., 2015a, 2015b, present results for 139 nations; while 2015b, presents 
results for all 50 states. 

79 Cooper (2017), Part III. 

80 Combining non-carbon health benefits of reduced reliance on coal with direct 
pocketbook cost savings (RGGI, The Investment of RGGI Proceeds through 2014, September 
2016), which are both driven by energy efficiency, yields a benefit cost ratio of just under 
3.5-to-l, without include any value for reduce carbon emissions. 

dramatically superior economics of the alternatives and the global shift 
away from fossil fuels. 81 

Fourth, cost competitive alternatives and local resource reliance and 
development highlight another attractive economic characteristic for 
the potentially compliant states - macroeconomic gains. The alter¬ 
natives, particularly efficiency and solar PV, are widely recognized to 
deliver more jobs and bigger gains in economic output per dollar of 
investment/expenditure. 82 For every dollar of direct cost savings, there 
is a second dollar of increased, indirect economic output. The impact 
is magnified since these resources are local, 84 which is the fundamental 
premise of the Paris Agreement. 

Fifth, the economic benefits will be magnified with larger numbers 
of states complying. Economies of scale and learning will be greater if 
the total market is larger. The coordination of resources in general and 
across the interstate grid (if federal authorities allow renewable/de¬ 
mand side friendly policies) is an important factor that affects the 
economics of the alternative system. Similarly, a global market would 
lower input costs and increase output opportunities. Consumption ex¬ 
ternalities are also important, particularly for natural gas and oil. The 
greater the reduction in consumption, the greater the downward pres¬ 
sure on prices, thus increasing the disposable income of households. 

Politics and policy: public opinion and federalism 

From a political perspective, the growing acceptance of climate 
change as a problem is a central political fact. First, concern about the 
causes and consequences of climate change has grown to near unani¬ 
mity in the scientific community. Second, a substantial and growing 
majority of the public believes the problem is large and in urgent need 
of a solution. This majority was manifest in every state and across po¬ 
litical lines. 86 

Beyond the Paris Agreement, the early energy headlines tended to 
be dominated by the electricity sector because of the Trump 
Administration’s focus on promoting coal and expunging it nemesis, the 
Clean Power Plan. However, the transportation sector witnessed a si¬ 
milar debate with respect to petroleum use. Not only had transportation 
become an equal source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., 85 but 
the federal-state line of conflict was highlighted in this sector. 

The dilemma has a specific manifestation under U.S. the Clean Air 
Act, one of the primary drivers of U.S. climate policy and it puts a 
spotlight on California, which is justified. Not only is California large, 
but it also has a unique role in environmental policy and the conflict 
with the Trump Administration gave it great prominence. As reported 
in a front-page New York Times story on the eve of the G-7 meeting that 
had been identified as the key moment for the Trump Administration’s 
decision on Paris, “California is not only fighting to protect its legacy of 
sweeping environmental protection, but also holding itself out as a 

81 Hess, 2017h; Chemnick (2017i); Moody’s (2017) Coal, Oil, Nuclear (Cooper, 2012b, 
2016c; Cooper, 2014; Hwang and Peak, 2006; International Council on Clean 
T r ansportation). 

82 Cooper (2017), Part III, p. 117 shows social producing about nine-times central 
station generation (gas, coal and nuclear) and efficiency almost four times (Lavelle, 

83 The multiplier effect of “respending” the money saved on use of more efficient 
equipment has been extensively studied (see Ryan and Campbell, 2014; Volkery, 2013; 
Holmes and Mohanty, 2012. Lutz, Lehr and Pehnt, 2012; Wei, Patadia and Kammen, 
2010. Frondel et al., 2009). Less often studied, but equally important are the ways in 
which the adoption of energy saving technologies (frequently instigated by policies like 
standards) drives innovation more broadly in the affected industry (International Council 
on Clean Transportation; Whitefoot, Fowler and Skerlos, 2012; Dale et al., 2009; Kuik, 
2006; Sperling et al., 2004; Worrel et al., 2001). 

84 For European nations, where fossil fuels are frequently imported, the literature 
emphasizes reduction of imports as a national security, competitiveness and economic 
benefit. This provides context for the potentially compliant states that have relatively 
little fossil-fuel production. 

85 Cooper (2016b), discusses ten years of polling on fuel economy standards which are 
by far the most important energy efficiency standards, although lighting is becoming a 
huge source of conservation due to the growth of LED lighting (Davies, 2017). 

86 Davenport and Connelly (2015); Marlon et al. (2017). Nace (2017). 

87 Randall, 2017. 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

model to other states - and to nations - on how to fight climate 
change. 88 

Under a 40-year old amendment to the Clean Air Act, the state of 
California has the right to issue its own standards, subject to the 
granting of a waiver from the Federal government. 7 If California and 
the Federal government adopt different standards, individual states can 
choose which standard to follow. This allows for a federal or state so¬ 
lution, while compelling the industry to comply with at most two 

California had been granted a waiver by the federal government to 
regulate emissions from vehicles and had led the Clean Cars Program. 
Shortly after the start of the 21st century, California had adopted a Low 
Emission Vehicle (LEV) standard. A dozen states had chosen to follow 
California, which made the coalition of Clean Cars states the fifth or 
sixth largest auto market in the world. Over the objection of the auto¬ 
makers, one of the primary impacts was to create a market for hybrid 
vehicles. Although the hybrid had started as a niche product, a decade 
and a half later it was mainstream, with every automaker who offered a 
full line of vehicles marketing hybrid for each of the main models that 
consumers drive (small, medium and large cars as well as SUV). ’ 1 

The Obama Administration ordered the federal agencies responsible 
for auto standards - the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and 
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) - to co¬ 
operate and coordinate with California, i.e. the California Air Resource 
Board (CARB). It can be argued that this was a good example of co¬ 
operative federalism by the administrative bodies with the responsi¬ 
bility for setting policy. 92 

The National Program that they arrived at to set standards for 
2017-2025, was the most aggressive in U.S. history. Moreover, nine 
states had chosen to follow the California Zero Emission Standard, 
which will require significant penetration of electric vehicles. At the 
end point, for the first time ever, the U.S. standards would have been 
close to the standards imposed by other major vehicle market nations. 

Because the National Program was a long-term program, it involved 
a mid-term review. EPA and CARB had determined that the rule should 
stay in place, but NHTSA had not. 93 The Trump Administration with¬ 
drew the EPA determination and opened a full-scale review, while 
CARB not only supported the existing rule, but also proposed more 
stringent regulation for the 2025-2030 period. Battle lines were quickly 
drawn, as the automakers, who had overwhelmingly supported the 
National Program, were the first sector to reach out to the new Ad¬ 
ministration to ask for relaxation of regulatory requirements. , ! As 
noted above, the Trump Administration withdrew the EPA’s final de¬ 
termination to keep the standard and was considered withdrawing the 
California waiver. 

Another important field of battle is energy efficiency policy. This is 
not only likely to be one of the centerpieces of climate policy, but in the 
U.S. it enjoys a remarkable tradition of bipartisan support that stretches 
back almost fifty years. 95 The federal government has pre-empted state 
action on efficiency standards, where the federal government has 

88 Davenport Nagourney (2017), p. A-l; Reuters (2017c); Leslie (2017). 

89 Reilly (2017a, 2017b, 2017c); Reuters (2017c); Davies, 2017; Chemnick, 2017o. 

90 The ownership rate of electric vehicles in California is over six times the national 

91 Cooper and Gillis (2017), Attachment II (Smiechowski, 2014). 

92 There was considerable debate about what the concept meant and whether some 
states wanted more responsibility (Kahn and Mulkern, 2017). 

93 NHTSA was legally obligated to conduct a second complete rulemaking; the other 
agencies were not (Cooper, 2012a). 

94 Henry (2016), reporting letter to the White House two days after election day. 
Another letter was sent on February 10, 2017. 

95 Nine of the ten major pieces of legislation mandating increases in energy efficiency 
were signed by Republican presidents. At least sixty percent of every house of Congress 
has voted in favor this legislation on final passage and, on average in over a dozen votes, 
over 85% of the member of congress supported enactment of legislation that authorized 
regulation to improve energy efficiency (Global Automakers, 2017; Williams, 2017). 

enacted a standard. 16 Nevertheless, efficiency standards were a primary 
target of the conservative think tanks. The Trump Administration 
issued both specific and general attacks on standards with an executive 
order to review all standards and a severe limit on the conditions under 
which new standards could be issued.' 

Thus, potentially compliant states have a clear political interest in as¬ 
serting and preserving their right to act independently, not to mention a 
strong economic interest in moving policy in a direction that serves their 
direct economic interest and the interest of the participants in the global 
climate commons. 

4.4. Conclusion 

Ultimately, the debate over U.S. participation is at best a distraction, at 
worst a scam. It is not participation that matters, but compliance. Common 
pool resource systems rely on voluntary compliance induced by social pres¬ 
sures. Having point to the fundamental conflict between the Trump 
Administration and the participants, one would expect continued and in¬ 
tensified conflict as the Agreement was implemented. This is what took place 
at COP23. 

4.5. Subnational U.S. entities 

The subnational entities in the U.S. have been extremely active in ex¬ 
panding their base and demonstrating their resolve. 9 “Official” support in¬ 
creased to majority levels and became a selling point to reassure the parti¬ 
cipants. 101 ' Thirteen of the 22 potentially compliant states are officially on 
record as supporting. Another four have major cities supporting (Dubuque, 
LA; Chicago, IL; Santa Fe, NM; Philadelphia, PA,). Three more that have not 
specifically supported the Agreement are deeply involved in supporting other 
activities. Clean Cars, RGGI and the CPP (Maine, MD, NH). New Jersey was 
RGGI and is in Clean Cars. Michigan is the only outlier. North Carolina signed 
on in support. The original list of potentially-compliant states is affirmed by 
these actions. 

At the same time, the dispute over the Agreement has solidified a 
potentially larger base of support, with major cities in a dozen other 
states declaring support (Phoenix, Tucson, AZ; Fayetteville, Little Rock, 
AR; Miami, St. Petersburg, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Tallahassee, FL; 
Atlanta, GA; Kansas City, KS; St Louis, MO; Reno, NV; Columbia, SC; 
Nashville, Knoxville, TN; Dallas, Houston, Austin, TX; Salt Lake, Park 
City, UT; Milwaukee, WI). Analysis by America’s Pledge puts the GDP of 
the “officially” supporting entities well above half of the U.S. total. 
Combining the “official” count with the potentially compliant list, 
would push the total to close to 60% of the U.S. economy. 

At COP 23, the non-governmental participants expected a larger 
voice and the leadership has been treated as equals, suggesting in¬ 
novative ideas, e.g. a global carbon market, zero growth in the transit 
sector, as well as picking up the tab for the U.S. share. 11 A variety of 
benefits of support were touted including economic benefits 1 ' in 

96 Important energy policies, like building codes, utility efficiency programs and re¬ 
newable portfolio standards are state-based. 

97 American Action Forum (AAF), 2017, identifies over 1100 rules as imposing ex¬ 
cessive costs of over $1.2 trillion. Of these about one quarter of energy efficiency stan¬ 
dards which account for almost half of the total cost. The calculation measures costs, not 
benefits Hess, 2017b. 

98 The AAF approach was taken by the Trump Administration Executive Orders of 
reducing regulation and the imposition of a regulatory budget, an approach that was 
severely criticized by 95 regulatory experts, led by a pro-market think tank, Lin and 

Krupnick (2017); Cooper, 2014. 

99 Wattles (2017); U.S. Climate Action Center, 2017; We Are Still In (2017); Hensen 
(2017), Stupp (2017). 

100 E&E News, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, 2017d, 2017e, 2017f, 2017g; U.S. Climate Action 
Center; U.S. Climate Alliance, 2017; United States of America, 2017. 

101 Maryland added its name to the list in early 2018, Dance (2018). 

102 Stupp (2017), America’s Pledge (2017), Wattles (2017). 

103 Gilpin (2017), Lee and Klump, 2017, McKenna (2017), Hess, 2017m. 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

general and specific states, 11 and political benefits, supported by the 
polling result. 105 The flood of commitments from industry cannot be 
overlooked, particularly the increasing commitment to electrify the 
transportation sector. 106 

4.6. The Trump administration 

The Trump administration made it clear that it would not be pres¬ 
sured into complying in the cooperative manner of the Agreement. The 
hostility of the administration to multi-lateral agreements, not to 
mention polycentric governance, suggests that it will simply not con¬ 
tribute to the emergence of consensus and norms. The Trump 
Administration’s rejections of a progressive obligation, in spite of the 
fact the U.S. is one of the wealthiest nations and one of the largest 
emitters on a per capita basis, highlights the conflict with the central 
premise of the Paris Agreement’s progressive mechanism for achieving 
development with decarbonization. 

At COP 23, the Trump administration simply reiterated its initial 
position, no matter what developments are. As the senior administra¬ 
tion official put it. “There has been no change in in the United States 
Position on the Paris Agreement. As the President previously stated, the 
United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms more 
favorable to our country.” 10 Having done so, it lost its influence over 
the process. Looking at the actions of the other two sets of actors, one 
can argue that the U.S. quickly became isolated, confused and irrele¬ 
vant, exactly what those in the administration who had argued for 
participation had feared. 

The isolation can be seen in a number of ways, some by choice, 
some by action of others. The U.S. had no pavilion, which the subna¬ 
tional U.S. entities had a prominent pavilion right outside the gate. 
The U.S. was not invited to a follow up meeting in Paris. 1 ' Syria signed 
the Agreement on the eve of COP 23, leaving the U.S. as the only 
member of the U.N., not supporting, a fact that was repeated loudly and 
frequently. 111 ’ 

The confusion and, consequently, weakness in the U.S. position was 
evident at COP 23 and in key policy areas leading up to it. Mixed 
messages were sent at the meeting in terms of the depth of the hostility, 
if not the direction of U.S. policy. 111 This paralleled analysis coming out 
of the administration, which seemed to show, contrary to its policy, that 
climate change was having an impact. 2 The difficulty in arriving at 
policy conclusions, much like the “toing and froing” over participation 
dogged the administration, including problems with implementing 
subsidies at the FERC and the repeal of the Clean Power Plan. The 
courts got in the way of other decisions, one of particular importance 
being the effort to roll back regulations on methane. 11 

To be sure, the Trump administration had the capacity to create 
pressure in the direction it wanted the U.S. to go by pushing subsidies 
for fossil fuels, reducing subsidies to alternatives or putting tariffs on 
the importation of equipment, 1 lowering or eliminating the size and 
use of the social cost of carbon in policy analysis, and eliminating the 
conduct of research or the dissemination of its results. 115 In a sense, 

104 Rahim (2017), renews, 2017. 

105 Marlon et al. (2017). 

106 With the major Asian automakers asking California to use the money from the VW 
settlement of fraudulent test results to expanding charging stations, which would support 
it Zero Emission Vehicle program. 

107 Siciliano (2017). The President reaffirmed this position several month after COP 23 
(Reuters, 2018). 

108 Delurey (2017). 

109 E&E News, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, 2017d, 2017e, 2017f, 2017g; Browne, 2017. 

110 Stupp (2017); Siciliano (2017). 

111 Friedman (2017c). 

112 Shankman, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c; Cushman (2017); Energy.Gov, 2017; Freidman, 

113 Friedman (2017e). 

114 Restuci and Palmer, 2018. 

there was a standoff between the power of the federal government and 
state and local governments. 

For the Parties to the Agreement, the point had been made that the 
U.S. position was divided and far less threatening than an uncontested 
symbolic act of withdrawal would have been. The Trump administra¬ 
tion may have its hands tied and be stuck with a very significant part of 
the U.S. acting independently under American Federalism and its own 
rhetoric about local autonomy interacting with the Agreements strong 
commitment to subsidiarity and sub national and non-governmental 

4.7. The participants 

The pattern of reactions has become clear. Participants pat them¬ 
selves on the back, while activists and scientists complain that progress 
is not fast enough. 16 Success, like beauty is in the eye of the beholder, 
especially in a process including almost 200 nations with goals across 

The parties responded to the U.S. withdrawal by continuing their 
rejection of the U.S. claims 1 and vigorous competition for global 
leadership between advanced industrial nations, with China and 
India “stepping” up with more vigorous reduction commitments, 11 and 
efforts to coordinate and build leadership showing no signs of 
abating. While the activity around the U.S. withdrawal were largely 
at the level of defending constitutional and choice rules, the main focus 
of COP 23 was very much at the level of operational rules. Three things 
are clear from the self-evaluations. 

First, subnational entities were a focal point of attention. Of four¬ 
teen major accomplishments singled out, almost half dealt with sub¬ 
national and non-participant entities. Table 6 shows the description 
offered for the four most prominent of these. 

Second, the U.S. presence at the subnational level is acknowledged. 
America’s Pledge was listed in the coordination accomplishments and 
three of the four corporation singled out for corporate emissions cuts 
were American. U.S. participation was also clear in the cities and be¬ 
yond coal activities. 

Third, a clear effort was made to build an institutional history and 
identity by linking accomplishments back to the Marrakech meeting 
and commitment, which were non-Party oriented. 1 The claimed ac¬ 
complishments include coordination of non-Party action with the 
Agreement, expanding action by subnational entities, business trans¬ 
formation and improved reporting. 

Focusing on a pariah challenge and positive developments makes 
sense in the early days, but a day of reckoning is likely to come. Sticking 
with positive measures, it would be possible to craft a set of rules that 
allows compliant, subnational entities (state and local governments, 
corporations and civil society groups) to participate in the substantial 
flows of resources that the global response to climate change is likely to 
create. Non-participants and non-compliant entities could be fore¬ 
closed. In a sense, this is the second step in a scheme of graduated 
sanction (i.e. rewarding good behavior). Negative sanctions, like taxes 
and carbon intensive products could also be adopted. 

5. Conclusion 

A successful reaction to the threat of U.S. withdrawal from the 
treaty, or the steadfast resistance of subnational units to the effort of the 

115 Plummer, 2017, Cushnman, 2017, Heikkinen and Kaenel (2017). 

116 Euronews (2017). 

117 Chemnick (2017a); Sengupta, 2017; Mulkern (2017). 

118 Sengupta, 2017; E&E News, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, 2017d, 2017e, 2017f, 2017g; 
Chemnick (2017b). 

119 E&E New, 2017a, 2017b, 2017c, 2017d, 2017e, 2017f, 2017g; Sengupta, 2017. 

120 McDonald (2018). 

121 UNFCC (2017a). 


M. Cooper 

Energy Policy 118 (2018) 440-454 

Table 6 

Local and Non-Party Accomplishment of COP 23. 

Source : United Nations, Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 
(2017b), Key Achievement from COP 23, November, 18. 

2018 Talanoa Dialogue: After extensive consultations, the Fijian COP23 Presidency 
announced an inclusive and participatory process that allows countries, as well 
as non-state actors, to share stories and showcase best practices in order to 
urgently raise ambition - including pre — 2020 action - in nationally determined 
contributions (NDCs). This is ultimately to enable Parties to collectively move 
closer to the more ambitious Paris Agreement goal of keeping the rise in global 
temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

Finalisation of the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform: This 
platform will provide direct and comprehensive means to give a greater voice to 
indigenous people in the climate negotiations and allow them to share their 
traditional knowledge and best practices on reducing emissions, adapting to 
climate change and building resilience. 

America’s Pledge: A delegation of sub-national leaders led by Gov. Jerry Brown of 
California and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg presented a 
report on the ongoing efforts by American states, cities, businesses and civil 
society to uphold the emissions reduction target of the United States under the 
Paris Agreement. 

Bonn-Fiji Commitment: Local and regional leaders gathered to officially adopt the 
Bonn-Fiji Commitment of Local and Regional Leaders to Deliver the Paris 

Agreement at All Levels, a pledge that signals their commitment to bring forward 
a critical shift in global development. The Bonn-Fiji Commitment highlights the 
pledge to raise collective ambition for climate action. 

First Open Dialogue between Parties and Non-Party Stakeholders: The Fijian 
COP23 Presidency presided over the first ever Open Dialogue between Parties 
and Non-Party Stakeholders (NPS) within the formal climate negotiations. 
Discussions were held surrounding two important topics. The first was how NPS 
can help Parties design and implement more ambitious NDCs and the second was 
how to better integrate NPS into the climate negotiations process. Based on the 
success of the dialogue, there was strong enthusiasm to continue similar 
discussions at future COP meetings. 

Trump Administration to undermine the goals and collaborative model, 
might provide a critical test that enhances the efficacy and legitimacy of 
global climate policy. Looking back several decades, this could be seen 
as a critical juncture or a turning point on the path to a successful re¬ 
sponse to the challenge of climate change. Acemoglu and Robinson use 
the former term and Perez uses the latter to describe these moments 
in the development of an economy. These critical junctures or 
turning points have been historically marked by intense conflict, as the 
interests grounded in the declining techno-economic paradigm can see 
that, if the economy continues in the ongoing direction, their skill sets 
and assets will be severely devalued and their power diminished. This is 
the moment to fight a rearguard action and use policy to reverse the 
direction of change. These authors argue that rejecting the past and 
turning policy in a progressive direction have been the keys to success. 
They hasten to add that the outcome is far from certain. Needless to say, 
this moment and the conflict between the participants and the Trump 
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