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Full-Text Articles in Law

Climate Zoning, Christopher Serkin Apr 2024

Climate Zoning, Christopher Serkin

Notre Dame Law Review

As the urgency of the climate crisis becomes increasingly apparent, many local governments are adopting land use regulations aimed at minimizing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The emerging approaches call for loosening zoning restrictions to unlock greater density and for strict new green building codes. This Article argues that both approaches are appropriate in some places but not in others. Not all density is created equal, and compact multifamily housing at the urban fringe may actually in-crease GHG emissions. Moreover, where density is appropriate, deregulation will not necessarily produce it. And, finally, green building codes will increase housing costs and so …


Rebutting 33 False Claims About Solar, Wind, And Electric Vehicles, Matthew Eisenson, Jacob Elkin, Andy Fitch, Matthew Ard, Kaya Sittinger, Samuel Lavine Apr 2024

Rebutting 33 False Claims About Solar, Wind, And Electric Vehicles, Matthew Eisenson, Jacob Elkin, Andy Fitch, Matthew Ard, Kaya Sittinger, Samuel Lavine

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Achieving the United States’ ambitious emissions reduction goals depends in large part on the rapid adoption of wind and solar energy and the electrification of consumer vehicles. However, misinformation and coordinated disinformation about renewable energy is widespread and threatens to undermine the transition. In this report, the Sabin Center identifies and examines 33 of the most pervasive false claims about solar energy, wind energy, and electric vehicles, with the aim of promoting a more informed discussion.


Building A Cleaner, More Resilient Energy System In Cuba: Opportunities And Challenges, Korey Silverman-Roati, Daniel Whittle, Romany M. Webb, Jeffrey P. Fralick, Lila Harmar Apr 2024

Building A Cleaner, More Resilient Energy System In Cuba: Opportunities And Challenges, Korey Silverman-Roati, Daniel Whittle, Romany M. Webb, Jeffrey P. Fralick, Lila Harmar

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Cuba’s energy sector is at a crossroads. The country’s mostly fossil fuel-fired energy system faces a number of longstanding and serious challenges, including breakdowns at aging power plants, decreasing fuel imports and fuel shortages, and the growing threat of climate change-related disruptions. In recent years, Cuba has seen frequent electric blackouts and brownouts that have affected residents, businesses, and government institutions island wide.

Compounding these problems, Cuba is facing a severe economic crisis. In 2022, year-on-year inflation was 39% (down from 77% in 2021). While inflation is estimated to have dropped to 30% in 2023, the price of food increased …


Energy Justice And Renewable Rikers, Rebecca Bratspies Jan 2024

Energy Justice And Renewable Rikers, Rebecca Bratspies

University of Miami Law Review

Unsustainable energy practices generate the lion’s share of global carbon emissions as well as staggering levels of deadly particulate pollution. Replacing the current dirty, fossil fuel-based system with affordable, clean energy is both a human rights imperative and a climate change necessity. This transition, which has already begun, creates the opportunity to do things differently. By confronting the structural racism embedded in existing energy structures, we can build a just transition rather than just a transition. This Article uses New York City’s Renewable Rikers project as a case study to explore how we might take advantage of the intersections between …


Catalyzing Climate Resilience In The Electric Utility Sector: Investor-Backed Utilities Must Prepare For The Approaching Storm, Jose J. Gonzalez Jan 2024

Catalyzing Climate Resilience In The Electric Utility Sector: Investor-Backed Utilities Must Prepare For The Approaching Storm, Jose J. Gonzalez

Emory Corporate Governance and Accountability Review

Communities and businesses that fail to take proactive measures will be devastated by the impacts of climate change. Across the United States, public and private entities have taken steps to protect companies and communities from climate change. However, financial restrictions and shareholder concerns have slowed such a response from the electric utility sector. This inaction has devastated communities such as Paradise, California and Lahaina, Hawaii. This Comment identifies how electric utility companies should utilize recently passed federal legislation, including the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act, to finance large-scale projects to update America's power grid. This Comment also argues …


The Structure Of U.S. Climate Policy, Michael Pappas Jan 2024

The Structure Of U.S. Climate Policy, Michael Pappas

Publications

Urgent emission reduction and community adaptation efforts are necessary to avert catastrophic climate-change harms. To assess our nation’s progress toward such efforts, this Article develops a comprehensive structural analysis of U.S. climate policy at the federal, state, and local levels. It observes that current climate policies reflect disparate federal, state, and local strategies around emissions regulation, emission reduction subsidies, adaptation, and liability approaches. The Article then analyzes the dynamics between federal, state, and local strategies in these policy areas.

This examination leads to some surprising conclusions. Under current policy alignments, further emission regulation measures do not appear to be realistic …


Virtual Energy, Joel B. Eisen, Felix Mormann, Heather E. Payne Jan 2024

Virtual Energy, Joel B. Eisen, Felix Mormann, Heather E. Payne

Faculty Scholarship

From employment to education, many areas of our daily lives have gone virtual, including the virtual workplace and virtual classes. By comparison, the way we generate, deliver, and consume electricity is an anachronism. And the electric industry’s outdated business model and regulatory framework are failing. For the last century-and-a-half, we have relied on ever larger power plants to generate the electricity we consume, often hundreds of miles away from the point of production. But the outsized carbon footprint of these power plants and the need to transmit their output over long distances threaten the electric grid’s reliability, affordability, and long-term …


Carbon Pricing For A Just Transition, Jeff Todd Jan 2024

Carbon Pricing For A Just Transition, Jeff Todd

University of Colorado Law Review

The legal tools to avoid the potential disasters of climate change are already available, at least according to economists. Economists overwhelmingly prefer carbon pricing tools like carbon taxes and cap-and-trade programs to combat climate change and guide the energy transition. Carbon pricing is more cost effective at lowering carbon and other greenhouse gases (GHGs) than other legal options such as efficiency standards, renewable portfolio standards, subsidies, and tax credits and deductions. Unlike those other options, carbon pricing targets both the supply of and the demand for GHG-emitting products and services; moreover, it gives firms and consumers flexibility in how best …


Big Oil Liability In Canada: Lessons From The Us And The Netherlands, David W-L Wu Oct 2023

Big Oil Liability In Canada: Lessons From The Us And The Netherlands, David W-L Wu

Dalhousie Law Journal

The number of nuisance and negligence tort claims in the US against “Big Oil” companies have grown significantly in the last five years. The Netherlands case of Milieudefensie et al v Royal Dutch Shell represents the first major success of such a claim internationally. While the US cases and Milieudefensie demonstrate starkly different approaches as to how to seek accountability from Big Oil for climate change harms, the increasing judicial engagement on these issues may mean the time is right for similar lawsuits in Canada. Three Canadian common law causes of action are examined: nuisance, negligence, and unjust enrichment. Defences …


Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under The Endangered Species Act, Eric Biber Sep 2023

Regulating Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under The Endangered Species Act, Eric Biber

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Despite the devastating impact climate change will have on biodiversity, most legal scholars and policymakers are skeptical that the flagship statute for protecting biodiversity in the United States, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), should be deployed to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. This skepticism has been driven by the concern that using the ESA to regulate greenhouse gases could lead to administrative issues, legal chaos, and political backlash that might endanger the Act overall.

In this article, I draw on three different elements to argue that the ESA could plausibly be used to regulate greenhouse gases. Specifically, I draw on recent …


Why Stop Grazing The Climate Commons?, Brigham Daniels Sep 2023

Why Stop Grazing The Climate Commons?, Brigham Daniels

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Many have argued that climate change is the textbook example of a tragedy of the commons. Assuming that is correct, to make headway on climate change, we would expect an enforceable agreement that provides for global collective action. The tragedy of the commons assumes that those who cut back when others do not are—to use the formal language of game theorists—suckers. So, the last thing we would expect is a surge of unilateral action. Contrary to theory, for the past decade, unilateral climate action has flourished among governments, businesses, other organizations, and individuals.

Is the number of climate suckers growing …


Permitting Co2 Pipelines, Martin Lockman Sep 2023

Permitting Co2 Pipelines, Martin Lockman

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Both emissions reductions and removal of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere are essential if we hope to minimize the damage caused by climate change and globally reduce our net emissions of greenhouse gasses to zero. Some CO2 removal techniques, like “direct air capture” that uses chemical and electrochemical processes to capture atmospheric CO2 at relatively low concentrations, generate a stream of captured CO2 that is then injected into underground rock formations referred to as “geologic storage.” CO2 pipelines represent the most efficient way to transport high volumes of captured CO2 to geologic storage locations. However, while …


The Great Climate Migration: A Critique Of Global Legal Standards Of Climate-Change Caused Harm, Mariah Stephens Jul 2023

The Great Climate Migration: A Critique Of Global Legal Standards Of Climate-Change Caused Harm, Mariah Stephens

Sustainable Development Law & Policy

Approximately 2.4 billion people, or about forty percent of the global population, live within sixty miles (one hundred kilometers) of a coastline. The United Nations (“U.N.”) determined that “a sea level rise of half a meter could displace 1.2 million people from low-lying islands in the Caribbean Sea and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, with that number almost doubling if the sea level rises by two metres.” The U.N. also reports that “sudden weather-related hazards” have internally displaced an annual average of 21.5 million people since 2008. Within the next few decades, this number is likely to continue to increase. …


Editors' Note, Rachel Keylon, Meghen Sullivan Jul 2023

Editors' Note, Rachel Keylon, Meghen Sullivan

Sustainable Development Law & Policy

For more than two decades, the Sustainable Development Law and Policy Brief (“SDLP”) has published works analyzing emerging legal and policy issues within the fields of environmental, energy, sustainable development, and natural resources law. SDLP has also prioritized making space for law students in the conversation. We are honored to continue this tradition in Volume XXIII.


Introduction, Gabriella Mickel, Samantha Blend Jun 2023

Introduction, Gabriella Mickel, Samantha Blend

Pace Environmental Law Review

No abstract provided.


Centrality And Compliance: Unitary Vs. Federalist Political Systems In The Implementation Of The Kyoto Protocol In Argentina And Uruguay, Aidan Homan May 2023

Centrality And Compliance: Unitary Vs. Federalist Political Systems In The Implementation Of The Kyoto Protocol In Argentina And Uruguay, Aidan Homan

Baker Scholar Projects

When Uruguay and Argentina first gained their respective independence in the early 1800s, they appeared to be following the same path of development As countries that came from the same Spanish colonization, share almost identical agricultural economies, and retain a close relationship, it is logical that they would follow similar trajectories. This assumption proves to be inaccurate in more ways than one, but most prominently within the environmental sphere. One way to analyze this difference in policy implementation lies in compliance with international environmental treaties which contain specific goals and limits for all parties involved. The Kyoto Protocol presents a …


Grid Governance In The Energy-Trilemma Era: Remedying The Democracy Deficit, Daniel E. Walters, Andrew N. Kleit May 2023

Grid Governance In The Energy-Trilemma Era: Remedying The Democracy Deficit, Daniel E. Walters, Andrew N. Kleit

Faculty Scholarship

Transforming the electric power grid is central to any viable scenario for addressing global climate change, but the process and politics of this transformation are complex. The desire to transform the grid creates an “energy trilemma” involving often conflicting desires for reliability, cost, and decarbonization; and, at least in the short run, it is difficult to avoid making tradeoffs between these different goals. It is somewhat shocking, then, that many crucial decisions about electric power service in the United States are made not by consumers or their utilities, nor by state public utilities commissions or federal regulators. Instead, for much …


Oil, Indifference, And Displacement: An Indigenous Community Submerged And Tribal Relocation In The 21st Century, Jared Munster Apr 2023

Oil, Indifference, And Displacement: An Indigenous Community Submerged And Tribal Relocation In The 21st Century, Jared Munster

American Indian Law Journal

Coastal land loss driven by erosion and subsidence, and amplified by climate change, has forced the abandonment and resettlement of the remote Louisiana Indigenous community of Isle de Jean Charles. This relocation, to a relatively ‘safer’ site inland has led to division among the residents and will inevitably cause irreparable damage to the culture and traditions of the Houma and Biloxi Chitimacha Confederation of Muskogees peoples who called this small, isolated island home. Driven to the water’s edge by European colonization of south Louisiana, this community developed a dynamic subsistence lifestyle based on agriculture, hunting, and fishing which survived undisturbed …


About Sdlp, Sdlp Mar 2023

About Sdlp, Sdlp

Sustainable Development Law & Policy

The Sustainable Development Law & Policy Brief (ISSN 1552-3721) is a student-run initiative at American University Washington College of Law that is published twice each academic year. The Brief embraces an interdisciplinary focus to provide a broad view of current legal, political, and social developments. It was founded to provide a forum for those interested in promoting sustainable economic development, conservation, environmental justice, and biodiversity throughout the world.


The Case Against Regional Transmission Monopolies, Kristen Van De Biezendos Jan 2023

The Case Against Regional Transmission Monopolies, Kristen Van De Biezendos

Faculty Scholarship

Over the next decade, the United States will need to build significant regional transmission infrastructure to achieve the country’s goal of net-zero power by 2035. However, there is a significant barrier: the transmission system is almost entirely owned by private monopolies. As a result, the grid has grown not to serve the public interest but in accordance with the economic priorities of these monopolies, which are not incentivized to innovate, find efficiencies, or lower costs. Past attempts to encourage competitive bidding for regional transmission projects have been stymied by laws intended to protect the monopolies, including the right of first …


Climate Choice Architecture, Felix Mormann Jan 2023

Climate Choice Architecture, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

Personal choices drive global warming nearly as much as institutional decisions. Yet, policymakers overwhelmingly target large-scale industrial facilities for reductions in carbon emissions, with individual and household emissions a mere afterthought. Recent advances in behavioral economics, cognitive psychology, and related fields have produced a veritable behavior change revolution. Subtle changes to the choice environment, or nudges, have improved stake-holder decision-making in a wide range of contexts, from healthier food choices to better retirement planning. But the vast potential of choice architecture remains largely untapped for purposes of climate policy and action. This Article explores that untapped potential and makes the …


Accounting For Climate Change In United States Regional Ocean Planning: Comparing The Obama And Trump National Ocean Policies To A Climate-Forward Approach, Taylor Goelz Mar 2022

Accounting For Climate Change In United States Regional Ocean Planning: Comparing The Obama And Trump National Ocean Policies To A Climate-Forward Approach, Taylor Goelz

Sustainable Development Law & Policy

No abstract provided.


“At What Cost?’: The Future Of Securities Enforcement In Climate Change Litigation, Angela Washington Mar 2022

“At What Cost?’: The Future Of Securities Enforcement In Climate Change Litigation, Angela Washington

Sustainable Development Law & Policy

No abstract provided.


Climate Gentrification: An Imminent Threat To Oceanfront Cities, Marcel Apple Mar 2022

Climate Gentrification: An Imminent Threat To Oceanfront Cities, Marcel Apple

Sustainable Development Law & Policy

Overview

Traditionally, gentrification occurs when real estate prices appreciate, leading to significant cultural change in low-income communities and involuntary displacement of low-income residents. In recent years, Miami, Florida is beginning to feel the impacts of “climate gentrification.” High-income buyers, who historically develop property close to the ocean, are affected by rising sea levels and increasingly look inland to develop areas on higher ground. The influx of real estate investments in these is expected to lead to spiking home prices and property taxes, forcing many longtime community members to abandon their homes.

Homeowners in these communities already report approaches from developers …


Energy Grid Decarbonization: A Tale Of Resistance And Compliance In Florida, Rachel Tennant Jan 2022

Energy Grid Decarbonization: A Tale Of Resistance And Compliance In Florida, Rachel Tennant

Mitchell Hamline Law Journal of Public Policy and Practice

No abstract provided.


Regulating For Energy Justice, Alexandra B. Klass, Gabriel Chan Jan 2022

Regulating For Energy Justice, Alexandra B. Klass, Gabriel Chan

Articles

In this Article, we explore and critique the foundational norms that shape federal and state energy regulation and suggest pathways for reform that can incorporate principles of “energy justice.” These energy justice principles—developed in academic scholarship and social movements—include the equitable distribution of costs and benefits of the energy system, equitable participation and representation in energy decision making, and restorative justice for structurally marginalized groups.

While new legislation, particularly at the state level, is critical to the effort to advance energy justice, our focus here is on regulators’ ability to implement reforms now using their existing authority to advance the …


Evaluating Climate Risk In Nepa Reviews: Current Practices And Recommendations For Reform, Romany M. Webb, Michael Panfil, Stephanie H. Jones, Dena Adler Jan 2022

Evaluating Climate Risk In Nepa Reviews: Current Practices And Recommendations For Reform, Romany M. Webb, Michael Panfil, Stephanie H. Jones, Dena Adler

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

In recent years, policymakers, practitioners, and scholars have increasingly considered how climate change should factor into existing environmental review obligations, including review of U.S. federal agency actions under the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). Attention thus far has focused primarily on the critical question of how to account for an action’s contribution to climate change via direct, indirect, or cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. However, less focus has been given to the equally critical question of how actions will be affected by, and can prepare for, the impacts of climate change. This paper combines an extensive review of previously conducted …


Tightening The Legal ‘Net’: The Constitution’S Supremacy Clause Straddle Of The Power Divide, Steven Ferrey Dec 2021

Tightening The Legal ‘Net’: The Constitution’S Supremacy Clause Straddle Of The Power Divide, Steven Ferrey

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

This article analyzes Constitutional Supremacy Clause tensions in preempting state law that addresses climate change and the rapid warming of the Planet. Net metering laws, enacted in 80% of U.S. states, are a primary legal mechanism to control and mitigate climate warming. This article analyzes three recent federal court decisions creating a preemptive Supremacy Clause stand-off between federal and state law and presents a detailed state-by-state analysis of which those 80% of states’ laws could be preempted by legal challenge.

If state net metering laws affected only ordinary technologies, this issue would not be front and center with global warming. …


The Case For Corporate Climate Ratings: Nudging Financial Markets, Felix Mormann, Milica Mormann Dec 2021

The Case For Corporate Climate Ratings: Nudging Financial Markets, Felix Mormann, Milica Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

Capital markets are cast as both villain and hero in the climate playbill. The trillions of dollars required to combat climate change leave ample room for heroics from the financial sector. For the time being, however, capital continues to flow readily toward fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive industries. Drawing on the results of an empirical study, this Article posits that ratings of corporate climate risk and governance can help overcome pervasive information asymmetries and nudge investors toward more climate-conscious investment choices with welfare-enhancing effects.

In the absence of a meaningful price on carbon, three private ordering initiatives are trying to …


Held V. State, Alec D. Skuntz Oct 2021

Held V. State, Alec D. Skuntz

Public Land & Resources Law Review

On March 13, 2020, a group of 16 Montana children and teenagers filed a complaint in the First Judicial District, Lewis and Clark County against the State of Montana and several state agencies. These young Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief against Defendants for their complicity in continuing to extract and release harmful amounts of greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change. Plaintiffs premised their argument on the Montana Constitution’s robust environmental rights and protections. The Defendants filed a motion to dismiss which the District Court granted in-part and denied in-part. Held provides a roadmap for future litigation by elucidating …