Research Explores World Trend Guiding U.S. to Favor a Binding Climate Treaty

Case Western Reserve Law Professor Juscelino Colares finds that nations increasingly support restricting greenhouse gas emissions

News Release: Wednesday, May 15, 2013

CLEVELAND – A Case Western Reserve University law professor’s research concludes that global economic forces are pushing the United States and other countries toward a binding international environmental treaty.

In a recent Journal of World Trade article, Case Western Reserve law professor Juscelino F. Colares investigates the prospects of an international pact to restrict emissions from greenhouse gasses(GHG). He contends that the United States is destined to become part of such a treaty, while also making economically driven changes to its own environmental law.

"This article's original contribution is in presenting, arguably, the first explanation of how certain domestic political-economic forces will converge to support U.S. adoption of a carbon-restricting regime and participation in a binding global treaty," Colares says.

Colares, in the Journal of World Trade article, finds that support for reforms is likely to increase in response to foreign carbon-restricting measures that may "tip the balance in favor of reform.”

Scientists commonly believe that greenhouse gasses, such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and hydrofluorocarbons, harm the Earth’s climate. As a result, nations are becoming more open to restricting such emissions.

The European Union already curbs commercial aviation emissions beyond national borders—an example of possible GHG policies nations may choose to adopt to improve the global environment, Colares explains.

Colares points out that a shift in U.S. climate policy toward emission pricing is due to two major developments: the implementation of foreign carbon restricting and U.S. producers' response to these reforms. His analysis demonstrates that U.S. exporters and producers participating in global supply chains will increasingly select carbon-efficient technologies to minimize costs and adjust to a changing regulatory environment.

Carbon restricting generally describes rules that limit GHG, leading to an economy-wide price for GHG emissions. His research notes a collaborative shift by industry and pro-environment groups in favor of emission-restricting reforms.

To gauge opposition to U.S. participation in a future international climate agreement, Colares includes an analysis of lobbying in Congress concerning emission-restricting legislation.

Posted by: Marvin Kropko, May 15, 2013 07:09 PM | News Topics: Official Release