Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Reader 1

Bowman Cutter

Reader 2

Char Miller


In order to save current and future generations from devastating environmental circumstances, the public needs to support every reasonable policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These policies will call for major societal changes. Automobiles will have to become zero-emission or near zero-emission, and public transportation will have to be a primary choice for the public. The renewable energy sector will require massive support and ubiquitous expansion, to the point where windmills and solar fields are background noise. The landscape of labor, finance, and development industries must change dramatically, and good skilled workers will have to be retrained in new fields. In summary, to ensure a habitable and sustainable world in the future, we will be obliged to change our current one entirely.

In this paper I examine the recent adoption of economy-wide climate action policies from California and New York state. First, I introduce a theory from Roger Karrapin of nation-state structure and political opportunity to examine the circumstances that enabled these states to pass climate acts. Then I extrapolate from this theory an intrastate framework to examine how both states adopt policies that reflect their unique government structure and political opportunity. I will explore the unique emission profiles of the two states, and the major policies they will use to achieve emission reductions. Finally, I isolate one climate policy from each state that the other lacks that could amend a market failure around emissions reductions. For California, I encourage the adoption of increased government subsidies to strengthen renewable energy markets inspired by New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision. For New York, I encourage the adoption of a carbon price to spur carbon-reducing investments.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.