The Search for Legal Remedies
Edited by Randall S. Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk
Chapter 2: Introduction to international and domestic climate change regulation
An urgent need to avert the ‘tipping point’ is the primary driver of efforts to establish a legal framework for mitigating climate change. However, several interrelated challenges have plagued efforts to create a coherent and effective legal framework to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Notable among these are scientific uncertainty, questions of equity and the economic implications of regulation. The legal framework that nations have established to address climate change reflects an effort to reconcile these issues, but the compromise has produced laws that have little potential to address the catastrophic threats that climate change presents to humanity. Effective legal intervention to mitigate climate change must achieve a balance between scientific uncertainty, equity and economic implications of action. At the international level, two major efforts have been undertaken to date: the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. At the domestic level, at least in the United States, legislative efforts have stalled and resulted in myriad regulatory efforts that have created patchwork climate action. This chapter provides an overview of international legal efforts that nations have undertaken in balancing competing interests in an effort to address climate change, as well as ongoing legal intervention in United States.
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