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Sustainable development is an international challenge that demands attention at all levels of government. The calls to action to achieve sustainability have varied over the last few decades. For example, in the 1970s and 1980s attention was focused on the need for environmental review and growth management strategies. In the 1990s the rhetoric shifted to smart growth and livable communities, and today, the issue has been reframed as advocates view sustainability through the lens of global warming and climate change. Regardless of the nomenclature, however, the end game is the same. While the United States as a whole speaks through the federal government, the voices and actions of local governments are critical to achieving truly sustainable communities, especially in the climate change arena. Although a coordinated national policy on climate change should be developed, initiatives at the state and local government level, even standing alone, have the potential to dramatically contribute to the international effort to slow the pace of global warming. Through the local land use regulatory regime, state and local governments can empower communities to implement regulatory strategies and programs that will reduce the carbon footprint and both capture and utilize renewable energy to meet measurable goals in the quest for sustainability. This article reviews examples of state and local climate action strategies to demonstrate the critical role that particularly local governments play in slowing the global warming and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

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4 Envtl. Energy L. & Pol’y 256

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Land Use Law Commons