Journal Article

Above and Below the Surface: The Status of Sub-National Authorities in EU Climate Change Regulation

Michèle Finck

in Journal of Environmental Law

Volume 26, issue 3, pages 443-472
Published in print November 2014 | ISSN: 0952-8873
Published online September 2014 | e-ISSN: 1464-374X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jel/equ027
Above and Below the Surface: The Status of Sub-National Authorities in EU Climate Change Regulation

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European Union (EU) legal studies generally picture the Member States’ local and regional authorities as implementers of national and supranational norms rather than independent regulators. Yet, sub-national authorities (SNAs) have become active regulators in the context of climate change mitigation and adaptation, a role not foreseen by EU primary law, which this article understands to constitute the surface of EU law. This article examines regulatory activity of SNAs from the perspective of EU law. It illustrates that sub-national, national, supranational and international actors are engaged in a process of mutual learning and experimentation and that, below its surface, EU law recognises that SNAs are not mere implementers of norms but also independent regulators.

Keywords: climate change mitigation and adaptation; sub-national authorities; EU law; polycentricity; porosity

Journal Article.  14914 words. 

Subjects: Environment and Energy Law

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