Posted by: Patricia Salkin | November 12, 2009

New Article on Climate Change and Local Planning and Regulations

A series of articles are being published from a number of different law reviews representing research conducted at the Government Law Center earlier this year.

In Sustainability and Land Use Planning: Greening State and Local Land Use Plans and Regulations to Address Climate Change Challenges and Preserve Resources for Future Generations,  the point is made that although a coordinated national policy on climate change should be developed, initiatives at the local government level through the land use planning and regulatory control processes have tremendous potential to dramatically contribute to the reduction of green house gas emissions, leading to a reduction in the carbon footprint and ultimately to a more sustainable environment. Part I of this article discusses opportunities for using the comprehensive land use planning process to address sustainability and provides examples of how this is being accomplished across the country. Part II mentions the growing number of state and local climate action plans (and cross-references a forthcoming article from the Houston Environmental & Energy Law and Policy Journal that details current developments in this area). Part III focuses on addressing emissions through the use of environmental impact reviews, and Part IV highlights how sustainability is being addressed through zoning and other land use regulations. Part V examines how green building standards are addressing sustainability, and Part IV illustrates how stormwater and landscaping initiatives are also being employed to accomplish these goals.

Watch the blog for several other articles that focus on different aspects of land use and climate change.

The article can be downloaded at:

Click on download on the left and then SSRN.


  1. After reviewing this article I am convinced that there should be a greater push for building more sustainable communities on the local level. However, it is one step to convince local goverments that there needs to be action on the local level to promote this goal, and it is another step to convince them to spend money on this goal. This issue is especially relevant today when the economy is struggling and municipalities are searching everywhere for funds that just don’t seem to be available. The idea that a more sustainable community today would be better for everybody in the future does not seem so appealing when the price tag for making such steps is laid on the table. Convincing strapped local governments to spend money on sustainability is a difficult task, but it may be acheived through a well planned initiative throughout local communities. Incentives given to private entities to invest in sustainable growth, by the government, has promise of being more appealing than asking the government for an outright check for promises in the future. Overall, this article, and more like this, could be the starting point for “lighting a fire” in some local communities to push for local intiatives.

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