Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future [August 20, 2014]   [open pdf - 514KB]

"This report surveys 'existing' law for legal issues that have arisen, or may arise in the future, on account of climate change and government responses thereto. At the threshold of many climate-change-related lawsuits are two barriers--whether the plaintiff has standing to sue and whether the claim being made presents a political question. Both barriers have forced courts to apply amorphous standards in a new and complex context. Efforts to mitigate climate change--i.e., reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions--have spawned a host of legal issues. The Supreme Court resolved a big one in 2007: the Clean Air Act (CAA), it said, authorizes EPA to regulate GHG emissions. Most of EPA's subsequent efforts to carry out that authority have been sustained by the D.C. Circuit. In 2014, however, the Supreme Court held that EPA's regulation of GHG emissions from motor vehicles does not categorically bring GHG emissions from power plants and factories under the permitting sections of the Act. EPA's alternative track for regulating GHG emissions from such 'stationary sources,' standards of performance for new and existing sources, also raises issues. Still other mitigation issues are (1) the role of the Endangered Species Act in addressing climate change; (2) how climate change must be considered under the National Environmental Policy Act; (3) questions raised by carbon capture and sequestration; and (4) constitutional constraints on state actions to control GHG emissions."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R42613
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
Media Type:
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