Vol. 41 No.2

By:  Michael Wara The world needs a new approach to achieving international progress on climate change. Despite prodigious diplomatic efforts over two decades aimed at limiting emissions of climate change pollutants, relatively little in the way of effective global governance has been achieved. This lack of progress has led some, including the U.S. government, to seek climate deals outside of the climate negotiations, leading to fragmentation of the Climate Regime. In Part II, I present one of the key dilemmas faced by U.S. climate negotiators over the past decade—whether to pursue reductions of a super-greenhouse gas within the Ozone Regime or within the Climate Regime. In Part II, I also argue that this dilemma is a symptom of a larger problem—the structure of climate negotiations. The negotiations currently place a narrow legal, economic, and political focus on the hardest part of the climate change problem—energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. This focus […]

Building an Effective Climate Regime While Avoiding Carbon and Energy Stalemate

By:  Karl S. Coplan The scientific community agrees that release of over 565 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalents into the atmosphere through 2050 would cause global warming in excess of the maximum tolerable level. The Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (“IPCC”) is even more pessimistic with regard to the maximum tolerable level. We have already burned through 570 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent (“CO2e”)—out of one teraton available—leaving only 430 gigatons of burnable carbon remaining. Ever. Currently, attempts to reduce the greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions rate—both domestically and globally—have focused on gradual reductions to achieve a sustainable rate by 2050. To date, these efforts have proven completely unsuccessful: carbon emissions global rates continue to increase. Although the IPCC has concluded that global greenhouse gas emissions must be cut between fifty and eighty percent by 2050,5 neither the now-lapsed Kyoto Protocol nor the most recent voluntary national commitments have come close.6 There is no realistic prospect that sustainable global controls on greenhouse gas emissions […]

Fossil Fuel Abolition: Legal And Social Issues