Climate Change Regulation and Litigation: A "Lost Decade" of Controversy and Confrontation

By Faulk, Richard O.; Gray, John S. | Defense Counsel Journal, April 2013 | Go to article overview

Climate Change Regulation and Litigation: A "Lost Decade" of Controversy and Confrontation


Faulk, Richard O., Gray, John S., Defense Counsel Journal


This article originally appeared in the January 2013 Environment and Energy Law Committee newsletter.

"Whether one believes, as a matter of science, that the problem of climate change is real or imagined, exaggerated or understated, there is no doubt that the storm has already broken--and those legal issues present real risks and real benefits that can only be ignored at our clients' peril." (1)

These words commenced our first article regarding climate change. In it, we foresaw "stormy weather ahead," but we attempted to begin a "constructive dialogue" about the issues raised by global climate change. Today, we can look back over a decade of controversy and confrontation regarding climate change in virtually all legal forums and institutions--and say, without hesitation, that the issue of global climate change has truly experienced a "lost decade."

Whatever one's perspective may be regarding the issue, the controversy remains unresolved in virtually every governmental body where it has been addressed. In regulatory agencies, in the halls of Congress and state legislatures, in state and federal trial and appellate courts, including the US Supreme Court, in international treaty negotiations and in the United Nations itself--the science and regulation of climate change continues to be a controversial--but unresolved--subject.

The Earth's climate is a global public resource. That principle is axiomatic. No single person or nation has a divisible "ownership" interest in the atmosphere, but all people everywhere have an interest in its preservation and resources. Since every greenhouse gas ("GHG") emission cumulatively contributes to the overall impact on the atmosphere, nations and peoples are affected by an incalculable array of factors--only some of which exist as persons who can be regulated and held responsible for contributing to the global warming phenomenon.

Many such persons live in societies that are either incapable--because of economic deprivation--or unwilling--because of adverse economic impacts or political inertia--to reduce emissions in proportion to their respective contributions to the problem. On the other end of the spectrum, even if relatively affluent countries reduce emissions substantially, they will still have to suffer from emissions released by countries that fail, for whatever reason, to match their progress. Thus, the planet remains in "gridlock" regarding climate change--even when it comes to measures needed to adapt to warming temperatures, such as those necessary to assist Pacific islanders increasingly threatened by rising seas.

Finally, nations which are sufficiently prosperous to embrace climate change measures are now afflicted by a prolonged and severe economic recession. Even before the recession began in 2007-2008, many developed countries were concerned that unilateral reductions in greenhouse gases would significantly harm the economies of participating nations--in exchange for uncertain benefits. As the economic crisis deepened, political and economic incentives for unilateral greenhouse gas reductions became even less popular. Even when large emitters such as the United States impose regulations by administrative measures, as opposed to Congressional statutes, the regulations are vigorously opposed--and they are often delayed or diluted substantially.

At such times, it seems appropriate to survey the history of this frustrating controversy, and to comment, however briefly, upon what, if any, resolution can be forecast for the future. Although the limited space available here is not sufficient for an exhaustive review, we will survey selected issues that illustrate the controversy's confrontational history--a history that, despite deep concerns, extraordinary efforts, and tremendous costs, has achieved little, if any, true benefits for the global environment.

Congress appears hopelessly deadlocked on the issue, thereby, leaving it to the Obama Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") to chart and navigate the course our county will follow. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Climate Change Regulation and Litigation: A "Lost Decade" of Controversy and Confrontation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.