Climate Change and Environmental Assessment Law

63 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2007 Last revised: 17 Apr 2014

See all articles by Dave Owen

Dave Owen

University of California - Hastings College of the Law


This article considers the ability of environmental assessment laws to bolster legal responses to climate change. Using the California Environmental Quality Act as an example, it explains that environmental assessment laws already impose legal limits upon greenhouse gas emissions. It then evaluates whether those legal limitations are desirable. It concludes that while environmental assessment laws do not provide comprehensive or independently sufficient mechanisms for limiting climate change, they can substantially improve regulatory portfolios for addressing the problem, and can limit greenhouse gas emissions while allowing creative and reasonably efficient compliance methodologies.

Keywords: Climate Change, Environmental Assessment, California Environmental Quality Act, National Environmental Policy Act

Suggested Citation

Owen, Dave, Climate Change and Environmental Assessment Law. Columbia Journal of Environmental Law, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN:

Dave Owen (Contact Author)

University of California - Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

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