Law 165 - Responses to Climate Change When the Federal Government Retreats
Ann E. Carlson
Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
J.D. Harvard, 1989
This course will examine how states, non-profit organizations, the global community, and the private sector have responded to the retreat by the federal government from climate leadership. This includes repealing the Obama Administration’s signature climate policies and withdrawing from the Paris Agreement. The Trump Administration’s retreat from climate leadership is in some respects not novel: President George W. Bush also refused to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and pulled the United States from the Kyoto Protocol. The responses to the recent withdrawal range from filing lawsuits against the federal government, filing lawsuits against large greenhouse gas emitters, regulating emissions at the state and local levels, committing to voluntary reductions of greenhouse gases in the private sector, and state and private commitments to continue supporting the Paris Agreement. This course will examine these responses, the extent to which they offer successful substitutes to federal action, and how these actions compare to the earlier responses to the Bush Administration’s retreat from climate leadership.