Amending the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Bill to Harness Individual Behavior

16 Pages Posted: 29 May 2008 Last revised: 23 Jul 2015

See all articles by John C. Dernbach

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Date Written: May 28, 2008


This article attempts to answer a question about the design of Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 2191) that has not received significant attention: How should Congress engage individuals in the effort to address climate change? Individuals outside of their work are responsible for one-third of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and the U.S. has a higher per capita energy consumption rate than virtually any other country. The article recommends a broad range of provisions, including public participation, targets and timetables, numerous forms of public information, and a variety of incentives and pathways for individual action. The purpose of such provisions is to complement, not substitute for, provisions addressing major emitters. A congressional effort to engage individuals would take advantage of some of the nation's key strengths - individual initiative, engaged citizenship, and collective sense of purpose. Such legislation would more likely be at least equal to the challenge in front of us.

Keywords: climate change, legislation, energy efficiency, energy conservation, allowances, offsets, U.S. legislation, climate change, sustainable development, Warner-Lieberman Climate Security Act

JEL Classification: Q20, Q28, Q30, Q38, Q48, 022, 020, Q01

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., Amending the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Bill to Harness Individual Behavior (May 28, 2008). Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 08-42. Available at SSRN: or

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

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