The subject of this paper is the importance of the diffusion of environmental innovations between countries for the global development of environmental policy. Empirical observation has shown that national environmental initiatives are often rapidly adopted by other countries; thus, these initiatives spread internationally. The conditions for and restrictions on the international diffusion of environmental innovations are examined on the basis of five case studies: environmental agencies and ministries, ecolabels, national environmental plans, CO2/energy taxes, and soil protection legislation. The key determinants of policy diffusion include (1) national factors (capacities for action in environmental policy, the demand for problem solutions), (2) the dynamics of the international system (the significance of front-runner countries for global policy diffusion, international organisations, transnational networks), and (3) aspects of the specific policy innovation (characteristics of policy innovation, availability of appropriate policy models, etc.).
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