Tina R. Goel

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Spring 2010


The Copenhagen negotiations did not result in the global environmental treaty desired by many, but, instead, in plans to reduce greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions or carbon intensity from fifty-five nations, including China, India, and the United States. The U.S. pledge, to reduce emissions by seventeen percent, came with a catch: Congressional action. Enacting federal climate change legislation in the United States has been difficult because policymakers fear that increased regulation may place domestic industry at a competitive disadvantage, and that production facilities will relocate, thereby causing carbon leakage—the movement of emissions to a less regulated country—and associated U.S. job losses. Manifesting these fears, the Senate resolved, in 1997, that the United States should not consent to an international agreement that does not limit emissions from developing countries.