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The paradox of regulating negative emissions technologies under US environmental laws

  • Tracy D. Hester (a1)
Non-technical summary

Most domestic environmental laws control the act of emitting pollutants into the environment. As a result, they do not apply squarely to negative emissions technologies (NETs) that remove ambient contaminants and do not emit pollutants themselves. As a result, current US environmental laws cannot readily govern a NET unless it has features that would typically allow regulation of a clean-up, such as ownership of the polluted resources, being at fault for polluting them or instituting projects to restore them. We should reinterpret such laws to focus on actual disruption or harm to the environment instead of using emission of pollutants as a proxy for ecological damage.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: T. D. Hester, E-mail: tdheste2@central.uh.edu
References
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1.Hester, T (2017) Regulating direct air capture and environmental intervention law. The Politics and Governance of Negative Emissions Technologies: Between the Paris Agreement and the Anthropocene workshop, Utrecht University School of Law.
2.Anderson, K and Peters, G (2016) The trouble with negative emissions. Science 354, 182.
3.Goho, S (2012) NEPA and the ‘Beneficial Impact’ EIS. William & Mary Environmental Law & Policy Review 36, 367.
4.National Research Council (2015) Climate Intervention: Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration. The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/18805. Accessed 27 February 2018.
5.Hester, T (2018) The Law of Direct Air Capture. Environmental Law Reporter (in press).
6.US Environmental Protection Agency (2003) Water Quality Trading Policy p. B-1, B-2. https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2016-04/documents/wqtradingtoolkit_app_b_trading_policy.pdf. Accessed 27 February 2018.
7.Williamson, P (2016) Emissions reduction: scrutinize CO2 removal methods. Nature 530, 153154.
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Global Sustainability
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2059-4798
  • URL: /core/journals/global-sustainability
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