Improving the Environment Using Performance Information, Market-Based Tools, and Collaboration

Publication Date: March 2008

Publisher: IBM Center for The Business of Government


Research Area: Energy; Environment

Keywords: Presidential transition; Environmental regulations; Environment

Type: Brief

Coverage: United States


Solving environmental problems depends on collective action. No single player can influence global climate or pollution problems. However, collectively many players can reinforce changed behaviors that can make a difference. There are no boundaries for most forms of environmental pollution--air blows across the earth. Water flows across the landscape. Solids may stay in one place, but often they don't. And there are almost an infinite number of points for pollution--water drains, cars, garbage, lawn mowers, and more.

Regulatory tools have limitations; other economic incentives offer much promise. Solutions to pollution in past decades focused on cleaning up pollution - cleaning rivers and other bodies of water, restoring the brownfields, putting filters on smoke stacks. Now the emphasis is shifting to prevention: "green" buildings, energy-efficient appliances, and low-impact housing developments.