Document Type

Research Report

Publication Date



National carbon policy, carbon policy


Given the failure of the federal governments of the U.S. and Canada to pass national carbon policy, the learning and dissemination of carbon policy in innovative states becomes increasingly important. This paper seeks to understand international carbon policy transfer, focusing on the cross-border dialogues between British Columbia and Washington State as a case study. The authors apply policy transfer literature to determine how knowledge and experience with carbon policy in British Columbia influences carbon policy considerations in Washington. The methodologies used were interviews with primary policy actors and qualitative coding of interviews, key reports, websites, blogs, and articles. The research reveals that the method for carbon policy implementation- either public initiative or legislative- shapes the policy learning process, including who participates, the salient topics discussed, and the timing of the implementation process. The case study results show that emergent groups, which form explicitly to get carbon policy passed, played key roles in the carbon policy dialogue. The discussions that have taken place in Washington as it considers a carbon policy are both similar and different than the discussion that took place in British Columbia when the province passed its carbon tax. These results show that rational policy actors can come to different conclusions regarding which policy is most appropriate for a jurisdiction. This paper contributes to both policy transfer theory and an understanding of how carbon policies can be transferred between subnational jurisdictions.

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Carbon dioxide mitigation--Government policy--Washington (State); Carbon dioxide mitigation--Government policy--British Columbia; Environmental policy--Washington (State); Environmental policy--British Columbia; Subnational governments--United States; Subnational governments--Canada

Geographic Coverage

United States; Canada; Washington (State); British Columbia