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Evolution of U.S. Climate Policy

Global Climate Change and the U.S. Law, American Bar Association Book Publishing, Second Edition, 2014

Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-38

35 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2013 Last revised: 28 Jul 2015

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School

Robert Altenburg

PA Department of Environmental Protection

Date Written: July 2, 2013

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of U.S. government law and policy concerning climate change. It is from Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (American Bar Association, Second Edition) (Michael B. Gerrard and Jody Freeman eds., 2014). U.S. efforts to address climate change can be grouped into five categories: (1) measures promoting federal climate change research, which provided the foundation for later developments; (2) statutes and policies that were in place before climate change emerged as a prominent issue but which have been deployed to address climate change, including the Clean Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, energy efficiency statutes, and corporate disclosure laws; (3) additional laws and policies by which Congress has sought to address climate change without requiring the reduction of greenhouse gases (GHGs), including measures requiring reporting, monitoring, and education, as well as initiatives promoting technological innovation and adaptation; (4) U.S. role in international agreements concerning climate change, including the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and subsequent accords; and (5) Congressional efforts to pass comprehensive climate change legislation to reduce GHGs, most prominently through a cap-and-trade approach.

Keywords: climate change, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, global warming, greenhouse gas emissions, fossil fuels, environment, Kyoto Protocol, climate change science, Clean Air Act, energy efficiency, National Environmental Policy Act, cap and trade legislation

JEL Classification: K20, K29, K32, K33, Q20, Q25, Q28, Q30, Q40, Q48, Q01

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C. and Altenburg, Robert, Evolution of U.S. Climate Policy (July 2, 2013). Global Climate Change and the U.S. Law, American Bar Association Book Publishing, Second Edition, 2014; Widener Law School Legal Studies Research Paper No. 13-38. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2288789

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

Robert Altenburg

PA Department of Environmental Protection ( email )

Rachel Carson State Office Building
400 Market Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
United States

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