The popularity of 'New' Environmental Policy Instruments (NEPIs) has prompted widespread claims that contemporary environmental policy is undergoing a deep seated and long lasting revolution, characterised by a shift from environmental government to environmental governance. This study compares the adoption of NEPIs in the eight case study countries. It reveals that there are common drivers of change, but that the resulting pattern of use is highly differentiated across instrument types and countries. Very few countries are actually innovating in the way they use NEPIs; in most countries, certain types of NEPIs are either not being used or are being used but in a relatively incremental and evolutionary manner. These patterns of change are related to popular theories of comparative politics and public policy. It is concluded that a close empirical analysis of how NEPIs are actually being deployed in different national contexts, suggests that environmental governance is at best supplementing environmental government, not comprehensively supplanting it.