Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States: Summary and Key Recommendations

Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the US: Summary & Key Recommendations
Michael B. Gerrard and John C. Dernbach, Editors
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This book contains key information and recommendations from a longer volume, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (forthcoming 2019). Legal Pathways is based on two reports by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) that explain technical and policy pathways for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. This 80x50 target and similarly aggressive carbon abatement goals are often referred to as deep decarbonization, distinguished because it requires systemic changes to the energy economy. Using these technical and policy pathways, Legal Pathways provides a legal playbook for deep decarbonization in the United States, identifying well over 1,000 legal options for enabling the United States to address one of the greatest problems facing this country and the rest of humanity.

Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States: Summary and Key Recommendations grows out of a desire to get the main messages of the longer volume to the broadest possible audience. It provides thumbnail summaries of each of the 35 chapters from Legal Pathways. It also contains key recommendations from each chapter, the key plays available for deep decarbonization. Finally, an index organizes the key recommendations by actor (e.g., local governments), enabling readers to see in one place all of the key recommendations for any particular actor, regardless of the chapter in which they originated.

While both the scale and complexity of deep decarbonization are enormous, this book has the same simple message as Legal Pathways: deep decarbonization is achievable in the United States using laws that exist or could be enacted. These legal tools can be employed with significant economic, social, environmental, and national security benefits.

About the Author

Michael B. Gerrard is the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, where he teaches courses on environmental and energy law, and founded and directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He is also a member and former Chair of the Faculty of Columbia’s Earth Institute. Since 1986, Professor Gerrard has written an environmental law column for the New York Law Journal. He is author or editor of 13 books, two of which were named Best Law Book of the Year by the Association of American Publishers: Environmental Law Practice Guide (12 volumes, 1992) and Brownfields Law and Practice (four volumes, 1998). 

John C. Dernbach is the Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability at Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Director of its Environmental Law and Sustainability Center. Professor Dernbach has written on sustainable development, climate change, and other topics in more than 50 articles for law reviews and peer-reviewed journals, and has authored, coauthored, or contributed chapters to more than 20 books.