Surveying Climate Change Law

In only 25 years, a dynamic new field of law has taken root.

Climate Change Law, the first volume of Elgar’s Encyclopedia of Environmental Law has just appeared.  There are a number of excellent edited collections about aspects of climate change law. What distinguishes this one is that breadth of the coverage, including both international and domestic aspects of carbon reduction and adaptation to climate change.

The book confirms how quickly climate change has become the subject of a set of sprawling yet interconnected legal structure.  Virtually every country now has some domestic law on the subject, whether from the legislature, the executive, or the courts, and often subnational units like states and cities have taken adopted their own measures.  There are strong interconnections both vertically, between subnational, national, and international law, and horizontally, between individual states and countries across the world.  Moreover, climate change law has interpenetrated many other areas of law, including administrative law, water law, land use law, and energy regulation.

Even in over 750 pages it’s not possible to cover all of these developments in depth, but the chapter authors have managed to bring together a remarkable amount of information. I’m happy to have worked with Marjan Peeters at Maastricht University to assemble a really stellar group of more than fifty authors for this project. It’s the authors, of course, who deserve the real credit for the quality of the book.  We made an effort to get a broad range of authors, including leading scholars on climate change from the United States, the European Union, and Asia. I’m particularly pleased we got contributions from most of the top U.S scholars on climate change and energy law. Among that group is Sean Hecht, my fellow Legal Planet contributor, with a terrific chapter on climate change and insurance.

I’ve appended a list of authors and chapter titles after the fold to give a sense of the scope of the book.  You can also get free public access to the concluding chapter, which sums up the book, here. 

Climate Change Law has come of age as a field.  Given the very long-term effects of climate change, it’s clear that we’re going to be coping with the problem for many decades, if not centuries to come.  We can only hope that the developments discussed in this volume will be the foundation of a successful regime of climate change governance.


Daniel A Farber and Marjan Peeters

Part 1 General themes

Section A The goals of climate policy

I.1 The science of climate change: a legal perspective on the IPCC

Duncan French and Benjamin Pontin

I.2 The precautionary principle and climate change

Nicolas de Sadeleer

I.3 Setting the social cost of carbon

Michael A Livermore  

I.4 Human rights and climate change: building synergies for a common future

Sheila R Foster and Paolo Galizzi

Section B Approaches to addressing climate change

I.5 Climate policy instrument choices

David Benson and Andrew Jordan

I.6 Corporate social responsibility and climate change

Steven Ferrey  

I.7 Local authorities and climate change

Benjamin J Richardson

I.8 Individual behaviour, the social sciences and climate change

Michael P Vandenbergh and Benjamin K Sovacool

I.9 Criminal law and climate change

Matthew Hall

I.10 Research and scholarship on climate change law in developing countries

Xi Wang, Tang Tang, Kun Lu and Yan Zhang

Part 2 International law perspective

Section A General issues

I.11 The climate as a global common

Peter-Tobias Stoll

I.12 CBDR and climate change

Tuula Honkonen  

I.13 The potential roles of the ICJ in climate change-related claims

Christina Voigt

I.14 Unilateralism, extraterritoriality and climate change

Joanne Scott

I.15 Climate engineering and international law

Jesse Reynolds

I.16 Carbon capture and storage as a bridging technology

Navraj Singh Ghaleigh

Section B Treaties related to climate change

B.1 The UN negotiation process

I.17 The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: a framework approach to climate change

Lavanya Rajamani

I.18 The UNFCCC: negotiating towards climate protection (substantive issues)

Francesco Sindico

I.19 The Kyoto Protocol, with a special focus on the flexible mechanisms

Javier de Cendra de Larragán

I.20 The Kyoto Protocol’s compliance mechanism

Francesca Romanin Jacur

I.21 REDD+ as a climate change mitigation mechanism

Heline Sivini Ferreira and Diogo Andreola Serraglio

I.22 International treaty fragmentation and climate change

Cinnamon Carlarne

B.2 Alternative international approaches

I.23 ICAO and IMO: international sectoral approaches to greenhouse gas reductions in transport

Kati Kulovesi and Joanna Dafoe

I.24 Interlinkages between climate change, ozone depletion and air pollution:

the international legal framework

Harro van Asselt  

I.25 The WTO and climate change

Wybe Th Douma

I.26 Climate change and international investment treaties

Ximena Fuentes Torrijo

Part 3 National and Regional Perspectives on Reducing Greenhouse Gases

Section A General issues

I.27 Polycentrism and climate change

Hari M Osofsky

I.28 Climate change federalism

Kirsten H Engel

I.29 Environmental impact assessments and climate change

Jacqueline Peel

I.30 The role of the national courts in GHG emissions reductions

Michael B Gerrard and Meredith Wilensky

Section B Regional and national mitigation approaches

B.1 Emissions trading 

I.31 Greenhouse gas emissions trading in the EU

Marjan Peeters

I.32 North America greenhouse gas emission trading systems

David Hodas and Patrick DeArmey

I.33 Emissions trading in China

Qin Tianbao and Zhang Meng

B.2 Other regulatory approaches to reduce greenhouse gases

I.34 Traditional regulation’s role in greenhouse gas abatement

David M Driesen

I.35 Carbon taxes

Shi-Ling Hsu

I.36 Transportation as a climate wedge and challenge under United States law

William W Buzbee

I.37 Biofuel

Arnold W Reitze Jr

I.38 Renewable energy: support mechanisms

Thomas Schomerus

I.39 Renewable energy: public acceptance and citizens’ financial participation

Birgitte Egelund Olsen

I.40 Energy efficiency and conservation

John C Dernbach

B.3 Mitigation strategies in developing countries

I.41 India’s climate change mitigation strategy

Deepa Badrinarayana

I.42 Green growth policy in Korea

Sang-Hyup Kim and Hong Sik Cho

PART 4 Adaptation

Section A Specific impacts and sectors

I.43 Integrated water law and climate change: an EU perspective

Andrea Keessen and Marleen van Rijswick

I.44 Water availability and allocation

A Dan Tarlock

I.45 Managing ecosystem effects in an era of rapid climate change

Alejandro E Camacho  

I.46 Ocean adaptation

Robin Kundis Craig

I.47 Coastal issues

Margaret R Caldwell and Molly Loughney Melius

I.48 Adaptation and the energy sector

Rosemary Lyster and Manuel Peter Solis

Section B Cross-cutting issues and adaptation techniques

I.49 Adaptation justice

Alice Kaswan  

I.50 Loss and damage in the UN climate regime

Meinhard Doelle  

I.51 Indigenous peoples and climate change

Sarah Krakoff

I.52 Human mobility and climate change

Katrina M Wyman  

I.53 Urban planning and climate change

Lisa Grow Sun and Brandon Curtis

I.54 Insurance

Sean B Hecht and Jesse Lueders

I.55 Disaster law and climate change

Robert RM Verchick

PART 5 Conclusions

I.56 Concluding chapter: the emergence of global climate law

Daniel A Farber and Marjan Peeters



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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

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About Dan

Dan Farber has written and taught on environmental and constitutional law as well as about contracts, jurisprudence and legislation. Currently at Berkeley Law, he has al…

READ more