Imagine ocean levels rising because of global ice melt. Imagine the next ice age beginning due to the increase in carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Imagine global plant life dying as a result of rising global temperatures. Imagine afundamental shift in marine life as a direct consequence of the acidification of the world's waters. Finally, imagine increased greenhouse gases causing no impact on the world's biospheres at all. Scientists have predicted all of these possible results, and, while most reputable scientists agree that global climate change is real, there is far less agreement in the scientific community as to what the end result of man's dependence on fossil fuels will eventually be. So what should humanity do in the face of this uncertainty? Should we sit idly by in the hopes that the world will recover on its own? Or should humanity foster technological innovation through incentivization and regulation that may help avert any and all of these possible crises? This note argues that the very uncertainty as to the effects of a changing atmospheric composition should be the motivation needed to finally address humanity's addiction to carbon-laden fossil fuels. But in order to do this, society must make several difficult choices. If we choose to address these problems, luckily, the current regulatory framework of the United States provides a good starting point through which we can reach a comprehensive solution and stem the rising tide of greenhouse gas emissions.
Zachary D. Ludens,
Stemming a Rising Tide: Why the Clean Air Act Following Massachusetts v. E.P.A. Provides a Sensible Vehicle Through Which to Regulate Greenhouse Gas Emissions,
68 U. Miami L. Rev.
Available at: http://repository.law.miami.edu/umlr/vol68/iss1/9