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Unlocking Willpower and Ambition to Meet the Goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement (Part One): Shifting Needs of Law, Policy, and Economics

December 2016

Citation: 46 ELR 11024

Issue: 12

Author: Thomas D. Peterson, Steven Chester, and Robert B. McKinstry Jr.

This Comment, the first of a two-part series, examines the nexus between willpower and ambition in the context of the Paris Agreement and its domestic implications worldwide, and identifies key elements of a more integrated, systematic, and strategic treatment of the two through law and policy. The authors first examine the evolution of the issue since the Kyoto Protocol through activities inside and outside of the UNFCCC, then specific conditions required by nations to build the necessary political willpower to achieve the Paris commitment, and finally the ties between willpower and policy development and implementation procedures, with an eye toward legal conditions.

Thomas D. Peterson is the President and CEO of the Center for Climate Strategies, a U.S.-based international nonprofit organization, and an Adjunct Professor and Teaching Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Energy Policy and Climate Program as well as its Center for Advanced Governmental Studies, both in the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences. Steven Chester is an attorney with the Miller Canfield Law Firm, and former Deputy Assistant Administrator of the U.S. EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance and Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, as well as current Chair of the Center for Climate Strategies. Robert B. McKinstry Jr. is the Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Climate Change and Sustainability Initiative, and former Maurice K. Goddard Chair in Forestry and Environmental Resource Conservation at the Pennsylvania State University College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

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