Mitigating Global Climate Change in the United States: A Regional Approach

33 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2006

See all articles by Kirsten H. Engel

Kirsten H. Engel

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law


In this essay, Professor Kirsten Engel discusses the potential for cooperative regional efforts to counteract the federal government's failure to address global climate change. Such regional cooperation is occurring primarily among states that are addressing climate change, itself something of an anomaly given standard economic theory. While encouraged by the regulatory activity, Professor Engel argues that, due to the relatively small amount of greenhouse gases reduced through such measures, the true significance of state and local action on climate change is its potential for triggering potentially larger greenhouse gas emissions cuts at the federal or regional level. Professor Engel discusses some of the reasons for the regional cooperation that is occurring as well as the unanswered empirical questions concerning the scope of the environmental benefits resulting from regional cooperation. Recognizing that, absent congressional ratification, cooperative ventures between states are not favored under our federal structure of government, Professor Engel examines the possible conflicts between this emerging regional trend and various constitutional doctrines. Professor Engel concludes that strict adherence to these doctrines will hinder the full potential of regional interstate arrangements to address climate change.

Keywords: environmental law, environment, climate change, global warming

Suggested Citation

Engel, Kirsten H., Mitigating Global Climate Change in the United States: A Regional Approach. NYU Environmental Law Journal, Vol. 14, p. 54, 2005, Arizona Legal Studies Research Paper No. 06-01, Available at SSRN:

Kirsten H. Engel (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
520-621-5444 (Phone)

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