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Courts in key climate change cases have abdicated their constitutional responsibility to protect a prejudiced and disenfranchised group (nonvoting minors and future generations) and remedy an insidious pathology in public discourse and the political process: the industry-funded climate disinformation campaign. This Article posits that this abdication results from courts’ uneasiness about displacing the prerogatives of democratically elected bodies.
Parties to the Paris Agreement can engage in voluntary cooperation and use internationally transferred mitigation outcomes towards their national climate pledges. Doing so promises to lower the cost of achieving agreed climate objectives, which allows countries to increase their mitigation efforts with given resources.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is the centerpiece of federal environmental law. This “broadest and perhaps most important” of environmental laws requires federal agencies to publicly weigh environmental impacts before proceeding with federal actions. NEPA has been criticized because it can delay development. Other critics describe NEPA as “bureaucratic red-tape” and claim that repealing NEPA “would not make a whit of difference to the environment or public health.”
Just four years after the adoption of the Paris Agreement, there are serious warning signs that the Agreement could unravel in the 2020s. Not only did President Trump’s 2017 withdrawal announcement damage the universality and reciprocity of the Agreement, but many parties are not on track to reach their own voluntary carbon reduction pledges.