Document Type


Publication Title

Nature Climate Change

Publication Date




Page Number



climate regulation, greenhouse gas emissions, EPA


Environmental Law | Law


In a rare move, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in a new draft rule known as 'The Clean Power Plan', has signalled that it will allow states and utilities to meet emissions standards by reducing electricity demand. The details of this regulation will have a substantial impact on its effectiveness, creating a tremendous opportunity to put integrated, multidisciplinary science to the practical end of mitigating climate change. Huge untapped potential exists for using knowledge about how the public responds to new technology, financial incentives and regulations. Financial incentives for home weatherproofing, for example, have varied tenfold in their impact on rates of adoption, depending on a range of features of programme implementation beyond the financial incentives offered. Incorporating insights generated from such integrated science could reduce compliance costs and achieve emissions reductions with minimal intrusion. But achieving these objectives will challenge the thinking of regulators who have more experience with mandating best available technologies than with programmes that target decision-making and voluntary behaviour. It will also challenge behavioural scientists to engage seriously with the practical issues of energy policy development and implementation. Finally, it will require a coordinated research agenda and greater collaboration between industry and academia.



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