Skip to main content Accessibility help

Climate Change Law in an Era of Multi-Level Governance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 May 2012

Jacqueline Peel
Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia. Email:
Lee Godden
Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne, Australia. Email:
Rodney J. Keenan
School of Land and Environment, University of Melbourne, Australia. Email:


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.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


1 New York, NY (US), 9 May 1992, in force 21 Mar. 1994, available at:

2 The Copenhagen Conference was built up as the world’s ‘last, best chance’ to agree on a new comprehensive and binding legal agreement to secure arrangements for emissions reduction after 2012: Walker, C., ‘Copenhagen in Context’ (2010) Autumn/WinterDissent, pp. 17–19.

Google Scholar

3 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Kyoto (Japan), 11 Dec. 1997, in force 16 Feb. 2005, available at:

4 Decision 2/CP.15, Report of the COP on its 15th Session, Copenhagen (Denmark), 7–19 December 2009, UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2009/11/Add.1, 30 Mar. 2010 (Copenhagen Accord), available at:

5 The Accord emerged from among a subset of the parties to the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, and was not formally adopted by the COP. The total number of parties that have expressed their intention to be listed as agreeing to the Accord is 141, including the 114 parties listed in the Accord’s chapeau.

6 Rajamani, L., ‘The Making and Unmaking of the Copenhagen Accord’ (2010) 59 International & Comparative Law Quarterly, pp. 824–43. After Copenhagen, commentators issued contrasting evaluations of the importance of the Accord and the conference more broadly in fostering future climate change negotiations, although all acknowledged that a critical deficiency was the failure to agree on global emissions reductions and how to share these amongst parties to the UNFCCC, including major emitters such as the US and China: Chandini, A., ‘Expectations, Reality, and Future: A Negotiator’s Reflections on COP15’ (2010) 1 Climate Law, pp. 207–25; Ottinger, R., ‘Copenhagen Climate Change Conference: Success or Failure?’ (2010) 27 Pace Environmental Law Review, pp. 411–19; Massai, L., ‘The Long Way to the Copenhagen Accord: Climate Change Negotiations in 2009’ (2010) 19 ( 1) Review of European Community and International Environmental Law, pp. 104–21.

7 Ryan, D. et al. ., ‘Climate Change After Cancún: A Post-COP-16 Analysis’ (2010) 18(6) Environmental Liability, pp. 207–18; Rajamani, L., ‘The Cancún Climate Change Agreements: Reading the Text, Subtext and Tealeaves’ (2011) 60(2) International & Comparative Law Quarterly, pp. 499519; Grubb, M., ‘Cancún: the Art of the Possible’ (2011) 11(2) Climate Policy, pp. 847–50.

8 REDD+ addresses issues beyond deforestation and forest degradation, also recognizing the role of conservation, sustainable forest management and the enhancement of forest carbon stocks in reducing emissions.

9 See SBSTA and SBI, Compilation of Economy-Wide Emission Reduction Targets to be Implemented by Parties included in Annex I to the Convention, UN Doc. FCCC/SB/2011/INF.1/Rev.1, 7 Jun. 2011 available at:; and AWG-LCA, Compilation of Information on Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions to be Implemented by Parties not included in Annex I to the Convention, UN Doc. FCCC/AWGLCA/2011/INF.1, 18 Mar. 2011 available at:, both issued after the Cancún COP.

10 Decision 1/CP.16, Report of the COP on its 16th Session, Cancún (Mexico), 29 Nov.–10 Dec. 2010, UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2010/7/Add.1, 15 Mar. 2011 (Convention Agreement), paras. 36 and 49, available at: The Convention Agreement reflected progress made in negotiations on long-term cooperative action under the UNFCCC. The COP also issued a further, shorter document representing outcomes from negotiations in a second ‘Kyoto track’ considering amendments to the Kyoto Protocol: Decision 1/CMP.6, COP serving as the Meeting of the Parties on its 6th Session, 29 Nov.–10 Dec. 2010, UN Doc. FCCC/KP/CMP/2010/12/Add.1, 15 Mar. 2011 (Kyoto Agreement), available at: Collectively these documents have been dubbed the ‘Cancún Agreements’.

11 Decision 1/CP.17, Establishment of an Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2011/9/Add.1, 15 Mar. 2012 (Durban Platform), para. 2, available at:

12 Decision 1/CMP.7, Outcome of the Work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol at its 16th Session’, UN Doc. FCCC/KP/CMP/2011/10/Add.1, 15 Mar. 2012 (Kyoto Protocol Further Commitments), para 1, available at:

13 Convention Agreement, n. 10 above, at para. 4.

14 This has not prevented the Durban outcome from being hailed as a success by the UNFCCC Secretariat and the governments of some countries. If anything, this demonstrates the lows to which ambition for international negotiations have fallen in the aftermath of Copenhagen.

15 Bodansky, D., ‘The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference: A Postmortem’ (2010) 104 American Journal of International Law, pp. 230–40, at 240.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

16 UNFCCC Press Release, ‘UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun Delivers Balanced Package of Decisions, Restores Faith in Multilateral Process’, 11 Dec. 2010, available at:

17 Rajamani, L., ‘The Climate Regime in Evolution: The Disagreements that Survive the Cancun Agreements’ (2011) 5(2) Carbon and Climate Law Review, pp. 136–46.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

18 Prins, G. & Rayner, S., ‘Time to Ditch Kyoto’ (2007) 449 Nature, pp. 973–75; Rayner, S., ‘How to Eat an Elephant: A Bottom-Up Approach to Climate Policy’ (2010) 10 Climate Policy, pp. 615–21.

19 This is a narrow understanding of a ‘bottom-up’ approach; however, broader notions are possible. See, e.g., Rayner, ibid., at p. 617, who describes the basic proposition of a bottom-up approach as ‘that climate change policies should be designed and implemented at the lowest feasible level of organization’. This idea of ‘bottom-up’ and the trend towards decentralization that it embraces is consistent with the multi-level governance concept we articulate further in Section 2.

20 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ‘The Emissions Gap Report: Are the Copenhagen Accord Pledges Sufficient to Limit Global Warming to 2ºC or 1.5ºC?’, 2010, available at:; K. Levin & R. Bradley, ‘Comparability of Annex I Emission Reduction Pledges’, World Resources Institute (WRI) Working Paper, Feb. 2010, available at:

21 Preamble of the Durban Platform, n. 11 above.

22 Okereke, C., Bulkeley, H. & Schroeder, H., ‘Conceptualising Climate Governance Beyond the International Regime’ (2009) 9(1) Global Environmental Politics, pp. 5878; G. Prins et al., ‘The Hartwell Paper: A New Direction for Climate Policy after the Crash of 2009’, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford and LSE Mackinder Programme, May 2010, available at:; Bernstein, S., Betsill, M., Hoffman, M. & Paterson, M., ‘A Tale of Two Copenhagens: Carbon Markets and Climate Governance’ (2010) 39 Millennium Journal of International Studies, pp. 161–73.

23 D. Bodansky & E. Diringer, ‘Towards an Integrated Multi-Track Climate Framework’, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Dec. 2007, available at:

24 E. Ostrom, ‘A Polycentric Approach for Coping with Climate Change’, Background Paper to the 2010 World Development Report, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 5095, 1 Oct. 2009, available at:

25 Hoel, M., ‘Global Environmental Problems: The Effects of Unilateral Actions Taken by One Country’ (1991) 20(1) Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, pp. 5570.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

26 The Cities for Climate Protection Campaign cited by Ostrom, n. 24 above, is an example encompassing more than 650 municipal governments representing over 30 participatory countries.

27 Engel, K.H. & Saleska, S.R., ‘Subglobal Regulation of the Global Commons: The Case of Climate Change’ (2005) 32 Ecology Law Quarterly, pp. 183233; Luterbacher, U. & Davis, P., ‘Explaining Unilateral Cooperative Action: The Case of Greenhouse Gas Regulations’ (2010) 36(1) Monash University Law Review, pp. 121–38.

28 Bache, I. & Flinders, M., ‘Themes and Issues in Multi-Level Governance’, in Bache, I. & Flinders, M. (eds.), Multi-Level Governance (Oxford University Press, 2004) pp. 114, at 4.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

29 Doelle, M., ‘The Legacy of the Climate Talks in Copenhagen: Hopenhagen or Brokenhagen?’ (2010) 4(1) Carbon and Climate Law Review, pp. 86100, at 98.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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

31 See nn. 22, 23 and 24 above.

32 Osofsky, H., ‘Is Climate Change “International”?: Litigation’s Diagonal Regulatory Role’ (2009) 49 Virginia Journal of International Law, pp. 585650.

Google Scholar

33 Brown Weiss, E., ‘International Law in a Kaleidoscopic World’ (2011) 1(1) Asian Journal of International Law, pp. 21–4.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

34 Ostrom, n. 24 above, at p. 4.

35 Bache & Flinders, n. 28 above, at pp. 4–5.

36 Ibid., at pp. 2–4.

37 See, e.g., Scott, J., ‘The Multi-Level Governance of Climate Change’ (2011) 5(1) Carbon and Climate Law Review, pp. 2533.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

38 Bache & Flinders, n. 28 above, at p. 4. Because of word constraints we have not been able to develop a full analysis of the role of non-state actors in multi-level climate governance in this article. Instead, our focus is upon the actions of governments, which remain dominant actors for many climate change-related issues. However, we acknowledge the important role played by non-state actors such as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses in climate governance, and have highlighted relevant examples in the discussion of topics such as forest-sector developments, adaptation and climate litigation.

39 Prins & Rayner, n. 18 above, at p. 974, suggest a ‘silver buckshot’ rather than a ‘silver bullet’ approach to climate policy.

40 I. Bache & M. Flinders, ‘Conclusions and Implications’, in Bache & Flinders, n 28 above, pp. 195–206, at 203.

41 Lindblom, C.E., ‘The Science of “Muddling Through”’ (1959) 19(2) Public Administration Review, pp. 7988, at 86.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

42 Gary Marks and Liesbet Hooghe classify this as ‘Type 1’ multi-level governance: G. Marks & L. Hooghe, ‘Contrasting Visions of Multi-Level Governance’, in Bache & Flinders, n. 28 above, at pp. 15–30. See, in particular, Sections 3, 5 and 7 below.

43 Marks & Hooghe, ibid., classify this as ‘Type 2’ multi-level governance or polycentricity. See, in particular, Sections 4 and 6 below.

44 The preamble to the Durban COP decision on Further Commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, n. 12 above, records an ‘aim’ to ensure that aggregate emissions of Annex I parties are reduced by at least 25–40% below 1990 levels by 2020, noting in this regard the relevance of the ongoing review of the sufficiency of this effort, to be completed by 2015.

45 This issue was recognized in Durban with a decision to continue to clarify Annex I parties self-nominated emissions reduction targets during 2012: Decision 2/CP.17, Outcome of the Work of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Long-Term Cooperative Action under the Convention’, UN Doc. FCCC/CP/2011/9/Add.1, 15 Mar. 2012 (AWG-LCA Outcome), available at:

46 The ‘intention’ is that Annex I parties will convert their existing Copenhagen pledges into quantified emissions limitation or reduction objectives for the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol.

47 C. Egenhofer, M. Alessi, A. Georgiev & N. Fujiwara, ‘The EU Emissions Trading System and Climate Change Policy Towards 2050: Real Incentives to Reduce Emissions and Drive Innovation?’ Centre for European Policy Studies Brussels Special Report, 2011, at p. v, available at:

48 Ibid., at p. vi.

49 See, e.g., Keohane, N.O., ‘Cap-and-Trade is Preferable to a Carbon Tax’, in Stewart, R.B., Kingsbury, B. & Rudyk, B. (eds.), Climate Finance: Regulatory and Funding Strategies for Climate Change and Global Development (New York University Press, 2009), pp. 5766.

Google Scholar

50 Stein, L.A., ‘The Legal and Economic Bases for an Emissions Trading Scheme’ (2010) 36(1) Monash University Law Review, pp. 192214, at 193.

Google Scholar

51 Ibid., at p. 204. For an alternative view see Metcalf, G. & Weisbach, D., ‘The Design of a Carbon Tax’ (2009) 33 Harvard Environmental Law Review, pp. 499556, at 501–2.

Google Scholar

52 Egenhofer et al., n. 47 above, at pp. 4–5.

53 Ibid., at p. 2.

54 See, e.g., Delbeke, J., (ed.), The EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme, Vol. IV, EU Energy Law (Claeys & Casteels, 2006).

Google Scholar

55 Scott, n. 37 above, at p. 25.

56 See, e.g., J. Chapman, ‘The EU ETS: Experience to Date and Lessons for the Future’, in Stewart et al., n. 49 above, at pp. 221–7.

57 Skjaerseth, J.B. & Wettestad, J., ‘Fixing the EU Emissions Trading System? Understanding the Post-2012 Changes’ (2010) 10(4) Global Environmental Politics, pp. 101–23.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

58 Anttonen, K., Mehling, M. & Upston-Hooper, K., ‘Breathing Life into the Carbon Market: Legal Frameworks of Emissions Trading in Europe’ (2007) 16(4) European Environmental Law Review, pp. 96115.

Google Scholar

59 Tietenberg, T., Environmental and Natural Resources Economics (Addison Wesley, 2006), at p. 350.

Google Scholar

60 Egenhofer et al, n. 47 above, at p. v.

61 M. Grubb, ‘Global Perspective: Implementing Carbon Pricing in a World of Political Resistance and Evolving International Participation’, Grattan Institute and Energy Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Australia, 14 Apr. 2011, at p. 10, available at:

62 Ellerman, A.D., Convery, F. & de Perthuis, C., Pricing Carbon: The European Emissions Trading Scheme (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

63 Rogge, K. & Hoffman, V., ‘The Impact of the EU ETS on the Sectoral Innovation Systems for Power Generation Technologies: Findings for Germany’ (2010) 38(12) Energy Policy, pp. 7369–652.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

64 Hodgkinson, D. & Garner, R., Global Climate Change: Australian Law and Policy (Butterworths Lexis-Nexis, 2008), at pp. 244–58.

Google Scholar

65 Lyster, R., ‘Chasing down the Climate Change Footprint of the Public and Private Sectors: Forces Converge – Part II’ (2007) 24(6) Environmental and Planning Law Journal, pp. 450–79, at 454.

Google Scholar

66 Splash, C., ‘The Brave New World of Carbon Trading’ (2010) 15(2) New Political Economy, pp. 169–95.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

67 Directive 2003/87/EC establishing a Scheme for Greenhouse Gas Emission Allowance Trading within the Community and amending Council Directive 96/61/EC [2003] OJ L275/32.

68 Directive 2009/29/EC amending Directive 2003/87/EC so as to Improve and Extend the Greenhouse Gas Emission Allowance Trading Scheme of the Community [2009] OJ L 140/63.

69 Peeters, M., ‘Legislative Choices and Legal Values: Considerations on the Further Design of the European Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme from a Viewpoint of Democratic Accountability’, in Faure, M. & Peeters, M. (eds.), Climate Change and European Emissions Trading Lessons for Theory and Practice (Edward Elgar, 2008), pp. 1752.

Google Scholar

70 De Cendra De Larragán, ‘Too Much Harmonization: An Analysis of the Commission’s Proposal to Amend the EU ETS from the Perspective of Legal Principles’, in Faure & Peeters, ibid., pp. 53–87, at 56.

71 Directive 2009/29/EC, n. 68 above, Art. 10a.

72 Durrant, N., Legal Responses to Climate Change (Federation Press, Sydney, 2010), at p. 98.

Google Scholar

73 Some EU Member States have adopted more stringent targets, e.g., the Climate Change Act 2008 (UK), ss. 1 and 5(a), which set a 2020 target of 34% below 1990 levels and a 2050 target of 80% below 1990 levels.

74 Scott, n. 37 above, at pp. 26–7.

75 Garnaut, R., The Garnaut Review 2011: Australia in the Global Response to Climate Change (Cambridge University Press, 2011), at pp. 60–3.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

76 E. Bluemel, ‘Regional Regulatory Initiatives Addressing GHG Leakage in the USA’, in Faure & Peeters, n. 69 above, at pp. 225–56.

77 Further information is available at:

78 See, e.g., a complaint filed against the Governor of New York in the Supreme Court of New York State, County of Albany, available at: The complaint notes that the Governor of New Jersey announced in May 2011 that the state will be pulling out of the RGGI scheme because of allegations of its ineffectiveness as a climate change mitigation measure.

79 Rabe, B.G., ‘Regionalism and Global Climate Change Policy: Revisiting Multistate Collaboration as an Intergovernmental Management Tool’, in Conlan, T.J. & Posner, P.L. (eds.), Intergovernmental Management in the 21st Century (Brookings Institution Press, 2008) pp. 176208.

Google Scholar

80 Durrant, n. 72 above, at p. 101.

81 Close to 90% of allowances were auctioned at quarterly regional auctions in 2009 and 2010.

82 As at Sept. 2011, the scheme had generated $900.5 million with 80% of this used to fund renewable energy programmes (11%), energy efficiency (52%) and direct assistance (14%), and other GHG reduction projects (1%): RGGI Inc, Investment of Proceeds from RGGI CO2 Projects, Feb. 2011, at p. 2, available at:

83 ‘Fact Sheet: RGGI Offsets’, 19 Aug. 2010, available at:

84 Bluemel, n. 76 above.

86 Midwestern Greenhouse Gas Reduction Accord, available at:

87 Further information is available at:

88 Western Climate Initiative, ‘Design for the WCI Regional Program’, July 2010, available at:

89 See further, California Environmental Protection Agency, ‘Cap-and-Trade Program’, available at: The scheme was to commence in 2012 but was delayed by a San Francisco court ruling finding non-compliance with Californian environmental impact assessment laws.

90 American Clean Energy and Security Act 2009, H.R. 2454, available at:

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: 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:

93 Climate Change Response Act 2002 (New Zealand), ibid., Sch. 3.

94 New Zealand units can be purchased by foreign entities, but domestic participants cannot use Kyoto units (AAUs) to discharge their obligations: Climate Change Response Act 2002 (New Zealand), ibid., s. 18CB.

95 Government of New Zealand, ‘Other Government Policies and Measures’, last updated 25 May 2011, available at:

96 Climate Change Response Act 2002 (New Zealand), n. 92 above, Sch. 3.

97 Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009, available at:;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.

98 See Commonwealth of Australia, Securing a Clean Energy Future: the Australian Government’s Plan (2011), available at: The legislative package, passed by the Australian Parliament in Nov. 2011, includes four main Acts: the Clean Energy Act 2011, the Clean Energy Regulator Act 2011, the Climate Change Authority Act 2011 and the Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Act 2011.

99 Garnaut, n. 75 above, at p. xiii.

100 Tiffen, R. & Gittens, R., How Australia Compares (Cambridge University Press, 2009), at p. 158.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

101 See Australia–Norway, ‘Submission under the Cancun Agreements. Enhanced Action on Mitigation’, Sept. 2011, available at:

102 Clean Energy Act 2011 (Cth), s. 14, available at:

103 F. Jotzo, ‘A Price Floor for Australia’s Emissions Trading Scheme?’, commissioned paper for the Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change, 17 May 2011, at p. 6, available at:∼/media/publications/mpccc/jotzo-floor-price-mpccc-may.pdf.

104 Clean Energy (International Unit Surrender Charge) Act 2011 (Cth), s. 8(4), available at:

105 Linacre, N., Kossoy, A. & Ambrosi, P., State and Trends of the Carbon Market 2011 (World Bank, 2011), at p. 54, available at:

Google Scholar

106 Chicago Climate Exchange, ‘Fact Sheet’, June 2011, available at: Although trading operations were wound up at the end of 2010, the Exchange has launched a new Offsets Registry Program.

107 R.S. Jones & B. Yoo, ‘Improving the Policy Framework in Japan to Address Climate Change’, OECD Economics Department Working Paper No. 740, 4 Dec. 2009, at p. 8, available at: See also Office of Market Mechanisms, ‘Japan’s Voluntary Emissions Trading Scheme (JVETS)’, Ministry of the Environment, Japan, May 2011, available at:

108 Linacre et al., n. 105 above, at p. 32.

109 H. Zhang (Melbourne PhD candidate), ‘China’s Energy Conservation and Carbon Emissions Reduction System: Development and Status Quo of the Regulatory and Institutional Framework’, July 2011, unpublished manuscript on file with authors.

110 These rules were subsequently affirmed in Decision 16/CMP.1 adopted by the first Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol, available at:

111 IPCC, Good Practice Guidance for Land-use, Land-use Change and Forestry (Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, 2003).

112 Art. 12 Kyoto Protocol.

113 Decision 3/CMP.1, Modalities and Procedures for a Clean Development Mechanism as Defined in Article 12 of the Kyoto Protocol, UN Doc. FCCC/KP/CMP/2005/8/Add.1, 30 Mar. 2006, available at:

114 Manguait, M., Verhayen, R., Mackensen, J. & Scholz, G., ‘Legal Aspects in the Implementation of CDM Forestry Projects’, IUCN Environmental Policy and Law Paper, No. 59 (IUCN, 2005).

Google Scholar

115 See UNFCCC, ‘Distribution of Registered Project Activities by Scope’, available at:

116 See ‘Project Activities’, available at:

117 Forestry projects made up 21% of the total voluntary market in 2010: Peters-Stanley, M., Hamilton, K., Marcello, T. & Sjardin, M., Back to the Future: State of the Voluntary Carbon Markets 2011, A Report by Ecosystem Marketplace & Bloomberg New Energy Finance (Ecosystem Marketplace & Bloomberg New Energy Finance, 2011).

Google Scholar

118 Linacre et al., n. 105 above, at p. 54.

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.

120 K. Hamilton, U. Chokkalingam & M. Bendana, ‘State of the Forest Carbon Markets 2009: Taking Root and Branching Out’, Ecosystem Marketplace, 14 Jan. 2010, available at:

121 Le Quere, C., et al. ., ‘Trends in the Sources and Sinks of Carbon Dioxide’ (2009) 2(12) Nature Geosciences, pp. 831–6.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

122 Copenhagen Accord, n. 4 above, at para. 6.

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:

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:

125 IISD Reporting Service, ‘Summary of the Durban Climate Change Conference’ (2011) 12(534) Earth Negotiations Bulletin, pp. 1819, available at:

126 AWG-LCA Outcome, n. 45 above, Section II.C.

127 Godden, L. et al. ., ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD): Implementation Issues’ (2010) 36(1) Monash University Law Review, pp. 139–72.

Google Scholar

128 D. Boucher, ‘Filling the REDD Basket: Complementary Financing Approaches’, Tropical Forests and Climate Change Report Series, Union of Concerned Scientists, August 2008, available at:

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.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

131 World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership, details available at:

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.

Google Scholar

135 Ghaleigh, N., ‘“Six Honest Serving Men”: Climate Change Litigation as Legal Mobilization and the Utility of Typologies’ (2010) 1(1) Climate Law, pp. 3161, at 45.

Google Scholar

136 Burns, W. & Osofsky, H., Adjudicating Climate Change: State, National and International Approaches (Cambridge University Press, 2009).

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

137 Peel, J., ‘Issues in Climate Change Litigation’ (2011) 5(1) Carbon and Climate Law Review, pp. 1524.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

138 Osofsky, H., ‘The Continuing Importance of Climate Change Litigation’ (2010) 1(1) Climate Law, pp. 329.

Google Scholar

139 Preston, B., ‘Climate Change Litigation’ (2011) 5(1) Carbon and Climate Law Review, pp. 314. For a discussion of climate litigation in the EU context, see Faure & Peeters (eds.), n. 69 above.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

140 There has also been a significant jurisprudence developed by the European courts around issues associated with implementation of the EU ETS. This case law serves a ‘boundary-testing’ function seeking to establish the limits of the existing regulatory regime: see Ghaleigh, above n. 135, at pp. 47–8.

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).

Google Scholar

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:

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.

CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

158 IPCC, ‘Climate Change 2007 Synthesis Report: Summary for Policy Makers’, 2007, at pp. 7–8, available at:

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.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

161 See particularly AWG-LCA Outcome, n. 45 above, Section III, which elaborates the modalities and composition of the Adaptation Committee.

162 Adger, W.N. et al. ., ‘Assessment of Adaptation Practices, Options, Constraints and Capacity’, in Parry, M. et al. . (eds.), Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (IPCC, 2007), at p. 717.

Google Scholar

163 See, e.g., Garnaut, R., Garnaut Climate Change Review (Cambridge University Press, 2008).

Google Scholar

164 Pielke et al., n. 157 above, at p. 598.

165 Garnaut, n. 163 above, at p. 364.

166 Adger et al., n. 162 above.

167 Lorenzoni, I., Nicholson-Cole, S. & Whitmarsh, L., ‘Barriers Perceived to Engaging with Climate Change among the UK Public and Their Policy Implications’ (2007) 17(3/4) Global Environmental Change, pp. 445–59.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

168 D.L. McEvoy, K. Lonsdale & P. Matczak, ‘Adaptation and Mainstreaming of EU Climate Change Policy: An Actor-Based Perspective’, CEPS Policy Brief No. 149, Centre for European Policy Studies, Jan. 2008, available at:

169 Hamin, E.M. & Gurran, N., ‘Urban Form and Climate Change: Balancing Adaptation and Mitigation in the USA and Australia’ (2009) 33 Habitat International, pp. 238–45.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

170 Hobbs, R.J., ‘Woodland Restoration in Scotland: Ecology, History, Culture, Economics, Politics and Change’ (2009) 90 Journal of Environmental Management, pp. 2857–65.

CrossRefGoogle Scholar

171 Craig, R.K., ‘“Stationarity is Dead” – Long Live Transformation: Five principles for Climate Change Adaptation Law’ (2010) 34(1) Harvard Environmental Law Review, pp. 975.

Google Scholar

172 McDonald, J., ‘The Adaptation Imperative: Managing the Legal Risks of Climate Change Impacts’, in Bonyhady, T. & Christoff, P. (eds.), Climate Law in Australia (Federation Press, 2007), pp. 124–41.

Google Scholar

173 Scott, n. 37 above, at p. 26.

174 Peel, J. & Power, M., ‘Climate Change Law: Lessons from the Californian Experience’ (2010) 27 Environmental and Planning Law Journal, pp. 169–88.

Google Scholar

175 State of California Air Resources Board, ‘California Cap-and-Trade Program’, Resolution 10-42, 20 Oct. 2011, available at:

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.

177 For discussion of the Australian governance system see Peel, J. & Godden, L., ‘Australian Environmental Management: A “Dams” Story’ (2005) 28(3) University of New South Wales Law Journal, pp. 668–95, at 670–82.

Google Scholar

178 The scheme was created in 2002 through amendments to the Electricity Supply Act 1995 (NSW) and the Electricity Supply (General) Regulation 2001 (NSW). It commenced operation in 2003.

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: 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

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.

187 See also Cole, D.H., ‘From Global to Polycentric Climate Governance’ (2011) 2 Climate Law, pp. 395413

Google Scholar

188 Ostrom, n. 24 above.

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:

191 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, Stockholm (Sweden), 22 May 2001, in force 17 May 2004, available at:

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 10
Total number of PDF views: 625 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 25th November 2020. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-57c975d4c7-dnntx Total loading time: 1.021 Render date: 2020-11-25T20:46:33.890Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Wed Nov 25 2020 20:09:29 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": false, "relatedCommentaries": false, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": false }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Climate Change Law in an Era of Multi-Level Governance
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Climate Change Law in an Era of Multi-Level Governance
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Climate Change Law in an Era of Multi-Level Governance
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *