Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2006


Climate change is a pervasive, yet controversial, problem. During the six months leading up to the Kyoto negotiations, President Clinton faced a major challenge when he tried to rally support at home for binding reductions on GHG emissions. Despite political and industry concerns about its potential economic impacts, the United States signed the Kyoto Protocol; however, the Bush administration withdrew from the Protocol in 2001. Part I of the Article analyzes the U.S. federal regulatory approach to climate change. Part II explores representative state, regional, and local attempts to combat climate change, whereas Part III describes voluntary compliance initiatives in the regulated community to monitor and reduce GHG emissions. Part IV focuses on federal lawsuits brought by states, cities, and nongovernmental organizations filed against 1) the federal government seeking to compel a mandatory climate change program or 2) the regulated community seeking to hold companies accountable for the effects of GHG emissions. The Article concludes that climate change litigation is a more effective tool to bring about a mandatory federal regulatory program than are legislative efforts at the state, regional, and city levels, or voluntary initiatives within the regulated community.