Quick Fixes or Real Remedies? The Benefits and Limitations of Climate and Energy Fast Policy


Melissa Powers, Edward Jewell, & Joni Sliger


Faculty editor: Tim Duane
Publication: Journal of Climate & Energy Law
Volume: 8
Start Page: 67
Month: June
Year: 2017
Type: Article


To avoid these shortcomings, this article recommends that Oregon and other states lacking meaningful climate mitigation and energy decarbonization strategies slow down their policymaking so that they can first develop a long-term plan. These states should also ensure that their governance structures are in order. Specifically, states should ensure they have a governance system capable of designing, from the ground-up, a comprehensivestrategy to decarbonize the energy system and substantially reduce greenhouse gases by the middle of the century.[1] An adequate governance structure would also ensure that regulatory and planning agencies have the expertise, independence, and capacity to evaluate existing laws, propose new ones, monitor implementation, and make adjustments where necessary to reflect changing conditions.[2] With a clear mission, adequate funding, and technical expertise, states can move out of the policy fast lane and into a pathway of strategic and effective policy design and implementation. Part II of this Article briefly describes the current status of climate change to illustrate the urgency of effective solutions. Part III then introduces the basic concepts of fast policy, as described in Jamie Peck and Nik Theodore’s book, Fast Policy: Experimental Statecraft at the Threshold of Neoliberalism. This Part then explains how climate and energy policy has many of the markings of fast policy. Part IV summarizes Oregon’s attempts to address climate change through a wide array of policies and laws.This Part also examines the outcomes of Oregon’s various programs, identifies fast policy shortcomings present in Oregon’s programs, and explains why Oregon’s reputation as a climate leader may not be warranted. Part V then uses Oregon’s experience to explain the shortcomings, as well as some benefits, associated with fast climate and energy policy at the state level. Finally, Part VI concludes by recommending that states shift into a slower, yet steady pace to get out of the fast policy lane and chart a clearpathway to effectively address climate change and energy decarbonization.