Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


Samara Spence

First Page



Past policy approaches to achieving international climate change mitigation have restricted the means for achieving mitigation to broad emissions caps. These policies have ignored the true nature of the climate change mitigation problem and have failed. This Note proposes a new design for a climate change mitigation system. It begins by analyzing the basic assumptions of the current cursory approach and by reviewing structural problems with those assumptions. It then reviews the successful World Trade Organization (WTO) model as a possible alternative structure and uses realities of the climate change problem to show why such an alternative could work in the climate change context. This analysis suggests that three structural changes to the current climate change mitigation system would significantly improve the current approach. First, the system should allow for incremental mitigation. Second, the system should contain separate categories of agreements for energy decarbonization, efficiency and conservation, and natural sinks. Finally, the system should allow for the separate negotiation of certain issues within each category: basic principles, maximum achievable emissions reductions of each mitigation method, and "hog-trading" burden allocation. This Note calls for the creation of the World Climate Change Organization (WCCO) to facilitate and administer this collection of agreements.