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California, Climate Change, and the Constitution

September 2007

Citation: ELR 10653

Author: Erwin Chemerinsky, Brigham Daniels, Brettny Hardy, Tim Profeta, Christopher H. Schroeder, and Neil S. Siegel

Editors' Summary: Climate change, like many environmental challenges, is a global problem requiring local solutions. While the United States has of yet not passed meaningful legislation that addresses climate change, several U.S. states are taking steps to reduce the carbon footprints of their industries and citizens. In this Article, Erwin Chemerinsky, Brigham Daniels, Brettny Hardy, Tim Profeta, Christopher H. Schroeder, and Neil S. Siegel describe the climate change policies proposed by one such U.S. state: California. The authors then examine the possible constitutional issues inherent in these policies, including the roles of the dormant Commerce Clause and the dormant foreign relations power in moderating state efforts at regulation.

Erwin Chemerinsky is the Alston & Bird Professor of Law and Political Science, Duke University. Brigham Daniels is a lecturing fellow, Duke University School of Law, and Ph.D. Candidate, Duke University. Brettny Hardy is an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, L.L.P. in Manhattan, N.Y. Tim Profeta is director of the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, and senior associate dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences. Christopher H. Schroeder is the Charles S. Murphy Professor of Law and Public Policy Studies, Duke University School of Law. Neil S. Siegel is an associate professor of law and political science, Duke University School of Law. We are grateful for fine research assistance from Thomas Mascia, Sean Roberts, Joel Southall, Lawrence Watson, and Alexandra Wyatt.

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