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Article
What’s It to You?: The Difficulty of Valuing the Benefits of Climate- Change Mitigation and the Need for a Public-Goods Test Under Dormant Commerce Clause Analysis
Iowa Law Review (2009)
  • Mary B. Russell
Abstract
ABSTRACT: In an effort to minimize its contribution to climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, California enacted California Senate Bill 1368. The bill prohibits utilities from purchasing electrical power from plants that emit more greenhouse gases than natural-gas-fired power plants. This burdens interstate commerce by prohibiting power purchases from out- of-state coal-fired plants and is likely to lead to a constitutional challenge under the dormant Commerce Clause. To address the validity of California Senate Bill 1368 under traditional dormant Commerce Clause analysis, one necessary step is to answer a question that has troubled scientists and economists for decades: What is the value of California’s interest in reducing its contributions to climate change? This Note examines that interest and argues that its value is a political question that makes traditional dormant Commerce Clause analysis inappropriate. It proposes an alternative, threshold test under dormant Commerce Clause analysis to avoid inappropriate judicial valuations of public goods: Is the statute’s burden necessary to create a public good that is most appropriately valued by the political process?
Keywords
  • Dormant Commerce Clause,
  • California S.B. 1368,
  • climate change,
  • global warming
Publication Date
2009
Citation Information
Mary B. Russell. "What’s It to You?: The Difficulty of Valuing the Benefits of Climate- Change Mitigation and the Need for a Public-Goods Test Under Dormant Commerce Clause Analysis" Iowa Law Review Vol. 94 Iss. 2 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/mary_russell/2/