In many states, a disjoint can be seen between action being taken on climate change at the state or provincial level and inaction at the federal level. Some people argue that such approaches are fundamentally inefficient because they increase uncertainty and the cost of compliance. While this is true in a static sense, it ignores an important element of game theory. Generally, the moment at which it becomes possible to effectively regulate an environmental problem is the moment when industry decides that some form of regulation is inevitable. It then switches its attention from lobbying for total inaction to lobbying for the kind of regulatory regime that suits business best: something as large-scale as possible, with long enough time horizons to guide investment decisions.
This is certainly the pattern that was observed with ozone depletion. Industry went from saying: “There’s no problem” to saying: “There’ a bit of a problem, but it would bankrupt us to fix” to realizing that regulation was inevitable, lobbying for a kind that suited them, and developing superior alternatives to CFCs within a year.
As such, it is entirely possible that grumbling about a “patchwork of regional approaches” signals the approach of an inflection point, beyond which effective regulation and large-scale industry and consumer adaptation occurs.