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Unlocking Willpower and Ambition to Meet the Goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement (Part Two): The Potential for Legal Reform and Revision

February 2017

Citation: 47 ELR 10135

Issue: 2

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

In a previous Comment, 46 ELR 11024, the authors examined the nexus between “willpower” and “ambition” in the context of the Paris Agreement, and identified key elements of an integrated, systematic, and strategic treatment of each through law and policy. In this Article, they explore legal mechanisms that could close the gaps in carbon reduction implementation in the United States and also meet critical conditions needed to build willpower. The incoming Administration’s focus on reform and revision calls into question some current approaches to climate change, but also may provide carbon reduction opportunities through proposed actions on infrastructure, national security, and other matters driven by immediate priorities. Pragmatic actions within U.S. states and localities, federal executive agencies, and Congress could be a good place to start to integrate such goals and charter a more systematic and strategic framework to move carbon reductions to the level required by the Paris Agreement.

Robert B. McKinstry Jr. is the Practice Leader of Ballard Spahr’s Climate Change and Sustainability Initiative. Thomas D. Peterson is the President and CEO of the Center for Climate Strategies. Steven Chester is an attorney with the Miller Canfield Law Firm and current Chair of the Center for Climate Strategies.

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