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International Climate Action Without Congress: Does §115 of the Clean Air Act Provide Sufficient Authority?

July 2014

Citation: 44 ELR 10562

Issue: 7

Author: David R. Baake

The ongoing rancor in Congress over climate change makes it unlikely that the United States will ratify a treaty as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Executive agreements are often seen as interchangeable with Article II treaties, and §115 of the Clean Air Act may provide a needed statutory hook for President Barack Obama to conclude executive agreements on climate change. This Article finds that President Obama likely has authority to bind the United States to greenhouse gas emission targets under this legislative provision and that his actions are likely not judicially reviewable.

David R. Baake received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in May 2014. He will begin a Ford Foundation Post-Graduate Fellowship at the Natural Resources Defense Council later this year.

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