Although the public discourse about efforts to address global climate change understandably focuses on national- and international-level efforts, in the United States much of the authority for regulating greenhouse gas emitting activities resides with state and local governments. Many local governments have initiated efforts to address global climate change in some fashion. But this article argues that there remains a disconnect between the local causes and global consequences of climate change sufficient to prevent the adoption of durable and effective local efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In other words, individuals remain largely unable to connect their personal decisions with broader global consequences-they have yet to convert the warranted assertions of the scientific community regarding climate change into beliefs that have enough value to motivate personal and institutional change. Consequently, the best path to developing effective and durable local climate change programs is to connect those programs to local benefits that sacrificing residents can readily experience.
49 Nat. Resources J. 743 (2009)