The Emperor’s New Clothes: The Variety of Stakeholders in Climate Change Regulation Assuming the Mantle of Federal and International Authority
William & Mary Law School Research Paper No. 09-378
30 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2018
Date Written: June 27, 2018
In June 2017 President Donald Trump announced the United States would be withdrawing from the Paris Climate Accord. President Trump believes the United States should be more focused on its economic well-being than on environmental concerns. Since being elected President Trump has, with the help of the Environmental Protection Agency, been rolling back, or attempting to roll back, major climate change regulations. However, this article points out that due to factors such as international law, the United States Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, one cannot just simply withdraw from an international agreement, such as the Paris Accord, or take back previously created environmental regulations, such as Obama’s Clean Power Plan; Congress has also played a roll in blocking some of President Trump’s objectives. According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement, no party is allowed to withdraw until three years after the agreement went into force for such party; the withdraw then does not take effect for an additional year. Thus, the United States’ withdraw cannot legally take effect until November 2020. Additionally, when it comes to final regulations, various factors including the notice-and-comment rules of the Administrative Procedure Act provide blocks and strict guidelines when attempting to overturn such regulations; reversals can be a long and drawn out process.
As will be further discussed, as a result of recent attempted federal government rollbacks and changes, states, other countries, such as China, and the public in general have been stepping up and taking on the initiative to fight climate change and reduce emissions, thus altering the historical pattern of environmental regulation. There is a definite increase in state participation when it comes to climate change. Yet, despite local progress there are still federal roadblocks that must be overcome.
Keywords: Paris Climate Accord, Parexit, Administrative Procedure Act, United Nations, Environmental Protection Agency, Clean Power Plan, Environmental Law, Constitutional Law, International Agreement, International Law, Climate Change, Emissions, Regulations
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