Climate Law and Policy in North America: Prospects for Regionalism

40 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2009 Last revised: 20 Apr 2009

Alastair Neil Craik

University of Waterloo - School of Environment, Enterprise and Development; Balsillie School of International Affairs

Joseph F. DiMento

University of California, Irvine - School of Law, Planning, Policy & Design, and Transportation Studies

Date Written: February 24, 2009

Abstract

This paper surveys the current bilateral and tri-lateral initiatives aimed at GHG emission reductions in North America, with a view to assessing the nature and potential role of regional (North American scale) climate change law and policy within the broader global framework. In pursuit of this objective, this paper seeks to identify, first, how climate change mitigation may usefully be regulated on a regional scale, and second, the governance structures and institutions that may be drawn upon to create and implement regional cooperation on climate change. Particular consideration is also given to the capacity of regional approaches to climate change cooperation to meet the different climate change objectives that Mexico has identified given the less developed state of its economy. Our conclusions suggest that regional climate governance is likely to arise, but in a decentralized fashion and oriented more towards implementation than commitment creation. The absence of strong regional institutions and a fragmented system of resource and environment regulation militates against a law-based and hierarchical system of regional climate governance. However, a regional approach may be attractive in those sectors that are highly integrated within the NAFTA trade area, where leakage and competitiveness concerns are higher. The common focus on developing innovative technologies through direct research and development funding provides further opportunities for cooperation.

Keywords: climate change, north america, environmental governance, regionalism

Suggested Citation

Craik, Alastair Neil and DiMento, Joseph F., Climate Law and Policy in North America: Prospects for Regionalism (February 24, 2009). CEDAN Working Paper No. 2009/1; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2009-21. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1348580 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1348580

Alastair Neil Craik (Contact Author)

University of Waterloo - School of Environment, Enterprise and Development ( email )

200 University Av. W.
Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G1
Canada
519.888.4567, Ext. 36578 (Phone)

Balsillie School of International Affairs ( email )

67 Erb Street West
Waterloo, ON N2L 6C2
Canada

Joseph F. DiMento

University of California, Irvine - School of Law, Planning, Policy & Design, and Transportation Studies ( email )

Irvine, CA
United States
(202) 466 1135 (Phone)

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