1.4 Environmental Policy and Regulation

Even the instruments of environmental policy have become increasingly diverse. Initially sovereign law-making with mandatory standards, approval procedures, do's and don'ts (command -and-control) stood in the foreground, so the over-regulation threatened to overwhelm the state and also the willingness of those affected. Instruments that allow greater customization scope and focus on the personal responsibility of the polluter, therefore play an

increasing role. This applies to emissions trading in climate, which requires mandatory caps on emissions, but allows a flexible adaptation. The now often imitated German instrument of feed-in tariffs (Einspeisevergütung) for electricity from renewable energy sources is another example. The nevertheless continuing importance of mandatory government regulation is evident from the fact that new instruments of this type - but those with high flexibility - spread internationally. A particularly impressive example is the Japanese top-runner approach: energy-intensive products such as refrigerators, computers and air conditioners have to reach within a certain time the consumption of the most energy-efficient product in its

line of business, otherwise threaten public warnings and eventually fines. For a whole range of products, the standards have been tightened even dynamically.

Modern environmental policy in Germany is controlled through a mix of instruments or strategic, verifiable targets (such as in climate change) that are tracked with a flexible instrument use. The "hard" instruments (such as laws, regulations) retain their importance - not least as a guarantee that "softer" instruments actually achieve effects.

An ambitious environmental policy that intervenes in interests is dependent on broadening of its social base. Environmental governance therefore takes place more on collaborative relationships, often in a broad network of state and non - state actors. In addition to the environmental groups, there is now a network of environmentally oriented business organizations, such as BAUM (German Working Group for Environmental Management), Future or the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. In the local area, additional actors are involved in the target formation or the implementation of measures - 2427 German municipalities have taken, for example, a decision on the Local Agenda 21.