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Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Regulating Greenhouse Gases in a Climate of Uncertainty

Carbon and Climate Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 89-104, 2007

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/42

38 Pages Posted: 15 Apr 2008 Last revised: 30 Apr 2008

Rosemary Lyster

The University of Sydney Law School

Abstract

This article explores the difficulties faced by regulators when they decide to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. For a long time, there was sufficient scientific uncertainty as to encourage a 'wait and see' approach. More recently, as the science has hardened with the release of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, the case for regulation has become an urgent imperative. As with climate change science, there has also been considerable disputation around the economics of climate change as witnessed by the Carter-Byatt critiques of the Stern Review Report. Even absent these contestations, there are various regulatory approaches which could be adopted to curb emissions. Although emissions trading has emerged as the instrument of choice, the variety of schemes either established or proposed around the world, demonstrates that choosing the parameters of a scheme is not a simple matter. This article concludes with a study of these issues in the Australian context.

Keywords: Climate science, the 'Hockey Stick' debate , IPCC Assessment Reports, Stern Review Report, the Carter-Byatt critique of Stern, Stern's responses, options for regulating greenhouse gases, designing an emissions trading scheme

JEL Classification: K32, K30, K10, Q20, Q28, N50, N57

Suggested Citation

Lyster, Rosemary, Separating the Wheat from the Chaff: Regulating Greenhouse Gases in a Climate of Uncertainty. Carbon and Climate Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 89-104, 2007; Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 08/42. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1120705

Rosemary Lyster (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

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