Abstract

At present, progress in mitigating global GHG emissions is impeded by political stalemate at the national level in the United States and the People's Republic of China. Through the conceptual lenses of multilevel governance and framing politics, the article analyzes emerging policy initiatives among subnational governments in both countries. Effective subnational emission-mitigating action requires framing climatic-stabilization policies in terms of local co-benefits associated with environmental protection, health promotion, and economic advantage. In an impressive group of US states and cities, and increasingly at the local level in China, public concerns about air pollution, consumption and waste management, traffic congestion, health threats, the ability to attract tourists, and/or diminishing resources are legitimizing policy developments that carry the co-benefit of controlling GHG emissions. A co-benefits framing strategy that links individual and community concerns for morbidity, mortality, stress reduction, and healthy human development for all with GHG-emission limitation/reduction is especially likely to resonate powerfully at the subnational level throughout China and the United States.

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