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Foreign Affairs Federalism: The Legality of California's Link With the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme

October 2007

Citation: ELR 10771

Author: Hannah Chang

Editor's Summary: Last year, Tony Blair and Arnold Schwarzenegger signaled their commitment to join the United Kingdom and California in efforts to combat climate change. In this Article, Hannah Chang examines whether California can legitimately join its carbon market to the European Union's emissions trading scheme. She sets forth the foreign affairs federalism considerations that California must address and points to elements of its transnational action that ought to persuade a court to uphold its state legislation in the face of a foreign affairs preemption challenge. She ultimately concludes that California's legislation might well be foreign affairs-preempted, but that this result ought not be inevitable given the unique aspects of California's actions that call for a rethinking of foreign affairs federalism.

Hannah Chang is a 2007 graduate of Yale Law School. She is currently clerking for the Hon. John T. Noonan Jr. in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. This Article was the winner of the Environmental Law Institute's 2007 Endangered Environmental Laws writing competition.

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