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Climate Change Law in an Era of Multi-Level Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 May 2012


Jacqueline Peel
Affiliation:
Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia. Email: j.peel@unimelb.edu.au
Lee Godden
Affiliation:
Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia. Email: l.godden@unimelb.edu.au
Rodney J. Keenan
Affiliation:
School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Australia. Email: rkeenan@unimelb.edu.au

Abstract

As international negotiations struggle to deliver timely, binding commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to safe levels, the environmental legal community has begun to contemplate the scope for climate governance ‘beyond’ the international climate change regime. Many see merit in a more decentralized, disaggregated approach, operating across multiple governance levels. This article examines the development of climate change law in an era of multi-level governance. It analyzes several case studies of current manifestations of multi-level governance in climate change law, including the fragmented global emissions trading system, developing arrangements governing forests and land-based sinks, the growth of climate litigation establishing transnational liability principles, efforts to ensure adaptation to unavoidable climate change, and the emergence in federal systems of a decentralized approach to climate change regulation. The article concludes by considering whether the emerging multi-level system of climate governance is adequate to meet broader international goals of climate change mitigation and adaptation.


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Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

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References

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90 American Clean Energy and Security Act 2009, H.R. 2454, available at: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-h2454/show.

91 E.g., emissions standards for new motor vehicles under the Clean Air Act (US). See the discussion of the US Supreme Court ruling on this issue in Section 5.1 below.

92 Climate Change Response Act 2002 (New Zealand), available at: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2002/0040/37.0/DLM158584.html. A review of the New Zealand ETS has recently been completed which makes recommendations for modifications to the scheme: see further Emissions Trading Scheme Review Panel, ‘Doing New Zealand’s Fair Share. Emissions Trading Scheme Review 2011: Final Report’, Ministry for the Environment, Wellington, 30 June 2011, available at: http://www.climatechange.govt.nz/emissions-trading-scheme/ets-review-2011/review-report.pdf.

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97 Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009, available at: http://parlinfo.aph.gov.au/parlInfo/search/display/display.w3p;query=Id:legislation/billhome/R4127. The Bill was revised several times but was eventually put on hold by then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2010, citing lack of progress in international climate change negotiations and opposition to passage of the legislation in the Australian Senate.

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110 These rules were subsequently affirmed in Decision 16/CMP.1 adopted by the first Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2005/cmp1/eng/08a03.pdf.

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112 Art. 12 Kyoto Protocol.

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119 Additionality requires emissions reductions that would not have occurred in the absence of the offset scheme incentive; permanence refers to the need to ensure long-term preservation of the carbon sink; and anti-leakage requirements aim to prevent material increases in emissions elsewhere, which cancel out the abatement that would otherwise result from the project.

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123 Convention Agreement, n. 10 above, at paras. 68–79. See also F. Daviet, ‘From Copenhagen to Cancun: Forests and REDD+’, World Research Institute, 23 Nov. 2010, available at: http://www.wri.org/stories/2010/11/copenhagen-cancun-forests-and-redd.

124 SBSTA, Methodological Guidance for Activities relating to Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation and the Role of Conservation, Sustainable Management of Forests and Enhancement of Forest Carbon Stocks in Developing Countries, UN Doc. FCCC/SBSTA/2011/L.25/Add.1, 3 Dec. 2011, available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2011/sbsta/eng/l25.pdf.

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129 See, e.g., the UN REDD-readiness programme, and Cerbu, G.A., Swallow, B.M. & Thompson, D.Y., ‘Locating REDD: A Global Survey and Analysis of REDD Readiness and Demonstration Activities’ (2011) 14 Environmental Science & Policy, pp. 168–80.

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132 See UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1, n. 10 above.

133 See n. 124 above.

134 Peel, J., ‘The Role of Climate Change Litigation in Australia’s Response to Global Warming’ (2007) 24(2) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, pp. 90105.

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141 Massachusetts v. EPA 127 S Ct 1438 (2007).

142 Osofsky, n. 138 above, at p. 5.

143 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ‘Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act’, Federal Register, 2009, vol. 74, 66496–546. This finding is now the subject of a further court challenge.

144 Massachusetts v. EPA, n. 141 above, at pp. 1457–8.

145 Ibid., at p. 1457.

146 Ibid.

147 Gray v. Minister for Planning (2006) 152 LGERA 258 (Anvil Hill).

148 Ibid., at p. 286.

149 Recent contributions on the topic of climate liability include Faure and Peeters, n. 69 above, and Lord, R., Goldberg, S., Rajamani, L. & Brunée, J. (eds.), Climate Change Liability: Transnational Law and Practice (Cambridge University Press, 2012).

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150 See, e.g., the Australian case of Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland Proserpine/Whitsunday Branch Inc v Minister for the Environment and Heritage (2006) 232 ALR 510.

151 Osofsky, n. 32 above.

152 Ibid., at p. 590.

153 Gray v. Minister for Planning, n. 147 above, at 288.

154 H. Osofsky, ‘Litigation’s Role in US Climate Change Regulation: Implications of AEP v. Connecticut’, Presentation at ‘Beyond a Carbon Price: A Framework for Climate Change Regulation in Australia’, Melbourne Law School, Australia, 11–12 Aug. 2011.

155 E. Levina & D. Tirpak, ‘Key Adaptation Concepts and Terms’, OECD/IEA Project for the Annex I Expert Group on the UNFCCC (OECD and International Energy Agency, Paris, 2006). There are several definitions now available on the UNFCCC website at: http://unfccc.int.

156 Ibid.

157 Pielke, R., Prins, G., Rayner, S. and Sarewitz, D., ‘Lifting the Taboo on Adaptation’ (2007) 445 Nature, pp. 597–8, at 598.

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159 Pielke et al., n. 157 above.

160 Srinivasan, U., ‘Economics of Climate Change: Risk and Responsibility by World Region’ (2010) 10(3) Climate Policy, pp. 298316.

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176 These measures include the Low Carbon Fuel Standard, the Clean Car Standard, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, Net Energy Metering, the Californian Solar Initiative, the New Solar Homes Partnership and Emissions Performance Standards.

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179 Climate Change and Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act 2010 (ACT); Climate Change (State Action) Act 2008 (Tas); Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act 2007 (SA); Climate Change Act 2010 (Vic).

180 See, e.g., the proposed review of the Climate Change Act 2010 (Vic), n. 186 below.

181 Climate Change Act 2010 (Vic), s. 5(1), available at: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/conservation-and-environment/climate-change/victorian-climate-change-act-2010. With a change of government in Victoria to a conservative party, the government has recently backed away from this target. A recent review of the Act recommended that the 20% target should be repealed, which the State Government has supported: Victorian Government, Response to the Recommendations of the Climate Change Act Review, Mar. 2012, at p. 5, available at http://www.climatechange.vic.gov.au__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/136486/CCAREV-Report_online.pdf.

182 Climate Change Act 2008 (UK), s. 5(1)(a).

183 Clean Energy Act 2011 (Cth), n. 102 above, ss. 17 and 18. However, the Act makes provision for the adoption of carbon pollution caps in regulations that might adopt a more ambitious reduction trajectory: s. 14.

184 See Climate Change Act 2010 (Vic), s. 17; Climate Change Act 2008 (UK), s. 16.

185 See Climate Change Act 2010 (Vic), s. 16; Climate Change Act 2008 (UK), ss. 56, 58–59.

186 The Victorian legislation provides for an automatic review on introduction of legislation for a national ETS into the federal parliament but does not specify any guidelines for that review: Climate Change Act 2010 (Vic), s. 19. See also n. 181 above.

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189 Prins et al., n. 22 above, at p. 7.

190 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Montreal (Canada), 16 Sept. 1987, in force 1 Jan. 1989, available at: http://ozone.unep.org/new_site/en/montreal_protocol.php.

191 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Stockholm (Sweden), 22 May 2001, in force 17 May 2004, available at: http://www.pops.int.

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