Notes from a Climate Change Pressure-Cooker: Sub-Federal Attempts at Transformation Meet National Resistance in the USA
59 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2010
Date Written: July 1, 2008
Global climate change poses one of the most pressing environmental, economic, and social problems of the 21st Century. The United States of America bears a disproportionate burden for contributing to global climate change and has the capacity - if not the will - to be a world leader in combating climate change. Local, state and civil society efforts to transform climate change policy-making in America, however, have met with persistent resistance at the federal level, spurring a new era in American environmental policy. While the federal government was once the leader in environmental policy-making, it is now - at times - the laggard. Meanwhile, sub-federal actors find increasingly inspired ways to push for more progressive climate change policies. Much has been written about sub-federal efforts to adopt climate change policies, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. From adopting local policies, to employing common law and tort-based litigation, to using existing federal environmental laws, to invoking the jurisdiction of international institutions, civil society is utilizing every possible mechanism to overcome stagnation and resistance at the national level and thereby drive a progressive climate change policy agenda from the bottom up. This Article examines new and creative uses of local, national and international law to overcome federal resistance and to force legal transformations in climate change policy-making in America.
Keywords: Climate Change
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