Climate Change Compliance

47 Pages Posted: 1 Sep 2021 Last revised: 18 Aug 2022

See all articles by Susan S. Kuo

Susan S. Kuo

University of South Carolina - School of Law

Benjamin Means

University of South Carolina School of Law

Date Written: August 30, 2021


Unless corporations prioritize climate change mitigation, efforts to control global warming will fail. Yet, the strategies that have been proposed for enlisting corporations are insufficient to the task. In our era of political polarization, a comprehensive “Green New Deal” to transition the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels is a nonstarter. Nor can we expect corporate risk management or social responsibility to fill the gap; there are practical limits to how far corporate managers can depart from strategies designed to maximize profits for investors.

This Article contends that climate change is a compliance issue. Scholars have overlooked compliance as a solution because they believe it achieves nothing more than fidelity to existing laws and regulations. This is a mistake. Once neglected as a backwater of corporate governance, the field of compliance has evolved and now involves forward-looking strategic analysis of legal and business risks as well as ethical considerations. A compliance-based approach best captures the rationale for holding corporations responsible for climate change and provides a robust framework for achieving results.

Keywords: climate change, compliance, corporate governance, CSR, ESG, risk management, disaster law and policy

Suggested Citation

Kuo, Susan S. and Means, Benjamin, Climate Change Compliance (August 30, 2021). 107 Iowa L. Rev. (2022, Forthcoming), Available at SSRN:

Susan S. Kuo

University of South Carolina - School of Law ( email )

1525 Senate St.
Columbia, SC 29208
United States

Benjamin Means (Contact Author)

University of South Carolina School of Law ( email )

1525 Senate Street, Room 314
Columbia, SC 29208
United States
(803) 777-3616 (Phone)


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