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Environmental Law

Vanderbilt University Law School

Environmental law

Articles 1 - 16 of 16

Full-Text Articles in Law

Environmental Protection Requires More Than Social Resilience, Michael P. Vandenbergh Oct 2018

Environmental Protection Requires More Than Social Resilience, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Achieving the green economy requires taking into account divisive politics and distributive justice.


Keynote: Motivating Private Climate Governance: The Role Of The Efficiency Gap, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2018

Keynote: Motivating Private Climate Governance: The Role Of The Efficiency Gap, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In response to the shrinking federal role in environmental protection, many policy advocates have focused on the role of states and cities, but this symposium focuses on another important source of sustainability initiatives: the private sector, including corporations, households, civic and cultural organizations, religious organizations, private hospitals, colleges and universities, and other organizations. States, cities, and local governments are increasingly important, but the limited geographic reach of subnational governments and widespread concerns about the size and intrusiveness of the public sector constrain their ability to address many environmental problems. Private governance initiatives offer an opportunity to bypass concerns about big ...


The Brave New Path Of Energy Federalism, Jim Rossi Jan 2016

The Brave New Path Of Energy Federalism, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

For much of the past 80 years courts have fixated on dual sovereignty as the organizing federalism paradigm under New Deal era energy statutes. Dual sovereignty’s reign emphasized a jurisdictional “bright line,” with a fixed, legalistic boundary between federal and state regulators. This Article explores how recent Supreme Court decisions limit dual sovereignty’s role as the organizing federalism principle under energy statutes.

These recent decisions do not approach federal-state jurisdiction as either/or proposition, but instead recognize it is concurrent in certain contexts. Concurrent jurisdiction opens up a brave new path of possibilities for energy federalism but also ...


Supply And Demand: Barriers To A New Energy Future, Jim Rossi, Michael P. Vandenbergh, J. B. Ruhl Jan 2012

Supply And Demand: Barriers To A New Energy Future, Jim Rossi, Michael P. Vandenbergh, J. B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Like many fields, energy law has had its ups and downs. A period of remarkable activity in the 1970s and early 1980s focused on the efficiencies arising from deregulation of energy markets, but the field attracted much less attention during the 1990s. In the last decade, a new burst of activity has occurred, driven largely by the implications of energy production and use for climate change. In effect, this new scholarship is asking what efficiency means in a carbon-constrained world. Accounting for carbon has induced scholars to challenge the implicit assumption of the early scholarship that the price of energy ...


Macro-Risks: The Challenge For Rational Risk Regulation, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Jonathan A. Gilligan Jan 2011

Macro-Risks: The Challenge For Rational Risk Regulation, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Jonathan A. Gilligan

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Drawing on the recent financial crisis, we introduce the concept of macro-risk. We distinguish between micro-risks, which can be managed within conventional economic frameworks, and macro-risks, which threaten to disrupt economic systems so much that a different approach is required. We argue that catastrophic climate change is a prime example of a macro-risk. Research by climate scientists suggests disturbingly high likelihoods of temperature increases and sea level rises that could cause the kinds of systemic failures that almost occurred with the financial system. We suggest that macro-risks should be the principal concern of rational risk assessment and management, but they ...


Climate Change Governance: Boundaries And Leakage, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Mark A. Cohen Jan 2010

Climate Change Governance: Boundaries And Leakage, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Mark A. Cohen

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This article provides a critical missing piece to the global climate change governance puzzle: how to create incentives for the major developing countries to reduce carbon emissions. The major developing countries are projected to account for 80% of the global emissions growth over the next several decades, and substantial reductions in the risk of catastrophic climate change will not be possible without a change in this emissions path. Yet the global climate governance measures proposed to date have not succeeded and may be locking in disincentives as carbon-intensive production shifts from developed to developing countries. A multi-pronged governance approach will ...


Micro-Offsets And Macro-Transformation: An Inconvenient View Of Climate Change Justice, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Brooke A. Ackerly, Fred E. Forster Jan 2009

Micro-Offsets And Macro-Transformation: An Inconvenient View Of Climate Change Justice, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Brooke A. Ackerly, Fred E. Forster

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

We have been asked to examine climate change justice by discussing the methods of allocating the costs of addressing climate change among nations. Our analysis suggests that climate and justice goals cannot be achieved by better allocating the emissions reduction burdens of current carbon mitigation proposals — there may be no allocation of burdens using current approaches that achieves both climate and justice goals. Instead, achieving just the climate goal without exacerbating justice concerns, much less improving global justice, will require focusing on increasing well-being and inducing fundamental changes in development patterns to generate greater levels of well-being with reduced levels ...


Climate Change: The China Problem, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2008

Climate Change: The China Problem, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The central problem confronting climate change scholars and policymakers is how to create incentives for China and the United States to make prompt, large emissions reductions. China recently surpassed the United States as the largest greenhouse gas emitter, and its projected future emissions far outstrip those of any other nation. Although the United States has been the largest emitter for years, China's emissions have enabled critics in the United States to argue that domestic reductions will be ineffective and will transfer jobs to China. These two aspects of the China Problem, Chinese emissions and their influence on the political ...


Climate Change: The Equity Problem, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Brooke A. Ackerly Jan 2008

Climate Change: The Equity Problem, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Brooke A. Ackerly

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A substantial proportion of the United States population is at or below the poverty level, yet many of the greenhouse gas emissions reduction measures proposed or adopted to date will increase the costs of energy, motor vehicles, and other consumer goods. This essay suggests that although scholarship and policymaking to date have focused on the disproportionate impact of these increased costs on the low-income population, the costs will have two important additional effects. First, the anticipated costs will generate political opposition from social justice groups, reducing the likelihood that aggressive measures will be adopted. Second, to the extent aggressive measures ...


The Carbon-Neutral Individual, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Anne C. Steinemann Jan 2007

The Carbon-Neutral Individual, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Anne C. Steinemann

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Reducing the risk of catastrophic climate change will require leveling off greenhouse gas emissions over the short term and reducing emissions by an estimated 60-80% over the long term. To achieve these reductions, we argue that policymakers and regulators should focus not only on factories and other industrial sources of emissions but also on individuals. We construct a model that demonstrates that individuals contribute roughly one-third of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. This one-third share accounts for roughly 8% of the world's total, more than the total emissions of any other country except China, and more than ...


The New Wal-Mart Effect: The Role Of Private Contracting In Global Governance, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2007

The New Wal-Mart Effect: The Role Of Private Contracting In Global Governance, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

No abstract provided.


The Private Life Of Public Law, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2005

The Private Life Of Public Law, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article proposes a new conception of the administrative regulatory state that accounts for the vast networks of private agreements that shadow public regulations. The traditional account of the administrative state assigns a limited role to private actors: private firms and interest groups seek to influence regulations, and after the regulations are finalized, regulated firms face a comply-or-defy decision. In recent years, scholars have noted that private actors play an increasing role in the traditional government standard setting, implementation and enforcement functions. This Article demonstrates that the private role in each of these regulatory functions is far greater than others ...


Order Without Social Norms: How Personal Norm Activation Can Protect The Environment, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2005

Order Without Social Norms: How Personal Norm Activation Can Protect The Environment, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article tackles a leading problem confronting norms theorists and regulators: how can the law induce changes in behavior when the material costs to the individual outweigh the benefits and there is no close-knit community to impose sanctions for failure to change? Because private individuals and households are now surprisingly large contributors to environmental problems ranging from toxic pollution to climate change, environmental policy makers face compelling examples of these negative-payoff, loose-knit group situations. This Article suggests that internalized personal norms, rather than social norms, are the most important initial target of opportunity for influencing this kind of behavior.

Drawing ...


From Smokestack To Suv: The Individual As Regulated Entity In The New Era Of Environmental Law, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2004

From Smokestack To Suv: The Individual As Regulated Entity In The New Era Of Environmental Law, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

A debate between advocates of command and control regulation and advocates of economic incentives has dominated environmental legal scholarship over the last three decades. Both sides in the debate implicitly embrace the premise that regulatory measures should be directed almost exclusively at large industrial polluters. This Article asserts that for many pollutants the premise is no longer supportable, and that much of the focus of regulation in the future should turn to individuals and households. Examining a wide range of empirical data, the Article presents the first profile of individual behavior as a source of pollution. The profile demonstrates that ...


The Social Meaning Of Environmental Command And Control, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2001

The Social Meaning Of Environmental Command And Control, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

...This essay draws on the new social norms literature to examine one of the possible reasons for the public misperceptions about the sources of the remaining environmental problems. The essay suggests that one of the insights of the social norms literature, the influence of social meaning on social norms, may shed light on these misperceptions and may enrich our understanding of the difficulties encountered by efforts to control second generation sources. In particular, this essay examines two principal social meanings that appear to have been conveyed by the command and control system. The first social meaning is the conventional notion ...


Regulating The Regulators, W. Kip Viscusi Jan 1996

Regulating The Regulators, W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Since the 1970s, there has been a tremendous growth in government regulation pertaining to risk and the environment. These efforts have emerged quite legitimately because market processes alone cannot fully address risk-related concerns.' Without some kind of regulation or liability, for example, firms lack appropriate incentives to restrict their pollution. Similarly, when products or activities are extremely risky, if people are not cognizant of the risks they face, the firms generating the hazards may not have adequate incentives to issue warnings. To solve these problems, regulatory agencies have mounted a wide variety of efforts to improve the quality of the ...