Regulatory Shaming and the Problem of Corporate Climate Obstruction
46 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2022 Last revised: 18 Jun 2023
Date Written: September 14, 2022
This Article examines the rationales and justifications for regulatory climate shaming—a nascent approach to climate policy involving the governmental publication of information regarding corporate contributions to climate change, with the aim of generating public pressure on companies to comply with climate change norms. Regulatory climate shaming is employed by national and subnational regulators inside and outside the United States through tools such as naming-and-shaming lists and rankings, environmental databases, climate labels, and corporate disclosure obligations. Generally, regulation by shaming is considered controversial, as it involves public condemnation and targets corporate reputation. However, this Article’s main argument is that regulatory climate shaming is an important tool that can and should be utilized by regulators not only for inducing compliance with climate change norms but also for fighting crucial meta-regulation problems like corporate climate obstruction. Building on regulatory shaming theory and climate obstruction scholarship, this Article offers a normative theory of regulatory climate shaming and discusses the ways in which shaming can fight climate denial, climate washing, and other climate obstruction practices employed by the fossil fuel industry and other industries.
Keywords: climate change, shaming, regulation, ESG, corporate compliance, climate washing, climate denial, climate obstruction, oil & gas companies, climate litigation, regulatory shaming, soft law, soft regulation
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation