J7.5 Democracy in policy making: Implementing the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

Thursday, 27 January 2011: 9:30 AM
4C-4 (Washington State Convention Center)
Karen Michele Hoffman, University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, PR

In this presentation I report on research on the questions How have pollution prevention advocates been able to influence the implementation of the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006? What have been their limits in doing so? (The California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is one of the first state laws to regulate greenhouse gases, and is currently being implemented.) I will present my methodology, which is qualitative and interpretive, and includes: - analysis of documents, including plans and regulations proposed by the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which is the agency that is implementing the law, public comments on those proposals, and finalized regulations. - tracking legal actions brought against CARB by parties that are for and against individual regulations and the idea in general of regulating greenhouse gases. - interviews with CARB staff and greenhouse gas prevention advocates - interpretive analysis of these qualitative data I will also discuss my theoretical perspectives which involve using a “follow the actors” approach, drawn from social studies of science and technology, which I use to understand the social construction of technoscientific objects, in this case, the way the law gets translated into regulations or other policy tools (for example, market mechanisms, such as a cap and trade system), which then influence the technologies the industries use and develop. In this work, I also use a cultural Marxist theoretical perspective, which attunes to the fact of inequality, in this case, in ability to influence policy makers, efforts to un-do this inequality (for example, through the democratic mechanisms of public participation and citizen suits, democracy-enhancing innovations established only in the 1970s), and how this inequality is being reproduced and/or transformed.
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