The Legal and Administrative Risks of Climate Regulation

13 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2021 Last revised: 1 Jun 2021

See all articles by Jonathan H. Adler

Jonathan H. Adler

Case Western Reserve University School of Law; PERC - Property and Environment Research Center

Date Written: 2021

Abstract

Dramatic and rapid reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are necessary to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases (GHGs) at acceptable levels. Prioritizing federal environmental regulation as the primary means of achieving these goals may be a strategic mistake. Regulatory mandates, particularly if based upon existing statutory authority, will be vulnerable to legal attack, obstruction, and delay. Climate legislation can reduce the legal risks and accelerate the rate of policy implementation, but only on the margin. Adopting regulatory controls, sector-by-sector, technology-by-technology will be immensely resource intensive for the EPA and other federal agencies. Even with authorizing legislation, federal regulatory strategies may remain more time-consuming, conflict-ridden, and legally vulnerable than fiscal measures. A carbon tax, in particular, would be more legally secure and administratively easier to implement than regulatory controls on energy use and GHG emissions.

Keywords: Climate Change , EPA, Carbon Tax, Global Warming, Administrative Process, Agency Delay

JEL Classification: K32

Suggested Citation

Adler, Jonathan H., The Legal and Administrative Risks of Climate Regulation (2021). 51 Environmental Law Reporter 10485 (2021), Case Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2021-6, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3805892

Jonathan H. Adler (Contact Author)

Case Western Reserve University School of Law ( email )

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