Climate Change

GREENWASHING AND THE FIRST AMENDMENT

Amanda Shanor & Sarah E. Light*

Recent explosive growth in environmental and climate-related marketing claims by business firms has raised concerns about the truthfulness of these claims. Critics argue (or at least question whether) such claims constitute greenwashing, which refers to a set of deceptive marketing practices in which an entity publicly misrepresents or exaggerates the positive environmental impact of a product, a service, or the entity itself. The extent to which...

SHARING THE CLIMATE

Rashmi Dyal-Chand*

Property law responds poorly to the lived reality of the climate crisis. In particular, it fails to address the uncontrollable negative externalities endemic to this crisis. Today, we need and share resources from which it would be ineffective and harmful to exclude our neighbors. Yet exclusion remains the cornerstone of much of American property law. In turn, the principle of autonomy—broadly defined to signify privacy, self-sufficiency, and...

Agriculture systems are extremely susceptible to the consequences of climate change. Extreme weather events, changing temperature patterns, and invasive pests and weeds threaten our nation’s crop yields and food security. U.S. agriculture is also a leading contributor to climate change, as industrial farming and land management practices emit around a third of nationwide greenhouse gases. Certain climate-friendly agriculture practices have the...

BANKS AND CLIMATE GOVERNANCE

Sarah E. Light & Christina P. Skinner*

Major banks in the United States and globally have begun to assert an active role in the transition to a low-carbon economy and the reduction of climate risk through private environmental and climate governance. This Essay situates these actions within historical and economic contexts: It explains how the legal foundations of banks’ sense of social purpose intersect with their economic incentives to finance major structural tran­sitions in society....

Over the coming decades, experts estimate that twenty-five percent of all plant and animal species may go extinct. Climate change directly contributes to species extinction through ecosystem shift, and accelerates other drivers of extinction such as destruction of habitat and pollution. The Endangered Species Act is the only legal tool in the United States to directly protect against the threat of species extinction, and critical...

As the impacts of climate change become increasingly severe and perceptible, corporations that continue to disregard the risks created by the Earth’s shifting climate stand to suffer significant financial harm. Particular sectors, such as the oil and gas industry, are especially susceptible to the effects of climate change and are already experiencing losses in value due to extreme weather events, disrupted operations, and environmen­tal regulations....

Faced with potentially staggering human and economic costs, governments around the world are beginning to plan and implement adaptive measures designed to stem the effects of climate change. Some of these adaptations will likely benefit certain property owners and communities at the expense of others. For example, seawalls intended to save valuable parcels of land from sea-level rise could wind up forcing seawater onto neighboring parcels that...

Decarbonization is the process of converting our economy from one that runs predominantly on energy derived from fossil fuels to one that runs almost exclusively on clean, carbon-free energy. If pursued on the scale that experts believe necessary to prevent dangerous climate change, the infrastructure changes required to decarbonize the United States will have significant social and cultural implications. States aggressively pursuing decarbonization...