Federalism is the sharing of power between national and local levels of government such as states, provinces, territories, counties, and cities and is thus a system characteristic that creates considerable opportunities for experimentation in environmental politics. The term is derived from the Latin term foedus, meaning league or covenant, and allows the development of multiple channels of authority that, in turn, enlarge the policymaking process along a range of environmental issues from acid rain to climate change.

Although applied in countries as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, and the United States, federalism is relatively uncommon across the globe today. Unitary systems such as those found in Cameroon, France, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, to name but ...

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