Climate Change Limitations of the Legal System in Addressing the Threats, IAFOR International Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment 2019(2019)
From clean air regulations that affect cars and the transportation industry to government subsidies/incentives for renewable energy (solar & wind) to protecting the first amendment rights of scientists and journalists who maintain that climate change really exists and is caused by human activity, the American legal system is an integral part of the response to climate change and the public policy of sustainability and resilience.
The importance of legal rules to deal with the threats posed by Climate Change cannot be overstated. At the federal, state and local levels of government regulations reducing air pollution and controlling energy that increases greenhouse gases, taxes on emissions, required insurance on flooding hazards and the like have been enacted to deal with Climate Change by reducing the causes and by adapting to reduce the physical risks to promote resilience.
Yet, the U.S. legal systems has limitations that affect the impact. Legislation requires a political situation supporting regulation of the causes of climate change, financial support for alternative fuels and the will to develop and get laws passed that will be effective and acceptable to political bodies. Then there are the courts. Litigation is a slow process and the law created by appellate cases or federal district court decisions may be narrow and not comprehensive. Additionally, there are arguments that the public policy reflected in statutes, regulations and court decisions may not be based upon valid economic analysis.
In a capitalist environment the response of business may be critical not only because of the severe limits of the legal system but also because government alone cannot work to meet the basic goals of dealing with the threats of climate change.
Citation InformationCeleste M. Hammond. "Climate Change Limitations of the Legal System in Addressing the Threats, IAFOR International Conference on Sustainability, Energy & the Environment 2019" (2019)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/celeste_hammond/54/