Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series
Edited by Geert Van Calster, Wim Vandenberghe and Leonie Reins
Chapter 15: Legal regimes for land use, land use change, and forestry in the United States
As a Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or Convention), the United States (US) is formally obliged to limit greenhouse gas emissions and protect and enhance greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs. The Convention’s emphasis on sinks and reservoirs is based on a recognition of significant climate mitigation potential in the sector of land use, land use change, and forestry (LULUCF). This chapter provides an overview of LULUCF in the US and the primary domestic legal regimes that structure US progress toward climate mitigation through LULUCF means. It also articulates points of legal and policy intersection between LULUCF and two other key sectors for climate mitigation, energy and transportation. In the context of climate change mitigation law and policy, LULUCF references key aspects of land use that advance or hinder climate mitigation goals. Land use can affect the climate in a number of important ways.