21st Century Regulatory Reform

Environmental protection and energy policies need to be updated to meet the needs of the 21st Century. YCELP is helping to advance a sustainability agenda by focusing on new regulatory tools and strategies, including market mechanisms, economic incentives, Big Data analytics, information disclosure, policies that spur innovation, finance for clean energy and environmental investments, and the changing roles of business and government.

In his recent article, Red Lights to Green Lights: From 20th Century Environmental Regulation to 21st Century Sustainability, Dan Esty calls for a new 21st century sustainability strategy that overcomes the ideological, structural, and operational issues that have led to political gridlock and blocked environmental policy reform. It makes the case for a transformed legal framework that prioritizes innovation, requires payment of “harm charges” and an “end to externalities,” and shifts toward market-based regulatory strategies that expand business and individual choices rather than government mandates. 

This new approach would go beyond the “red lights” and stop signs of the existing framework of environmental law that centers on telling people what they cannot do, to a broader structure of incentives and “green lights” that would engage the public and the business world in environmental problem solving.