Lisa Heinzerling, Introduction: Climate Change at EPA

64 Fla. L. Rev. 1 (2011)| | ||||
With the demise of climate legislation in Congress, and the Supreme Court’s rejection of climate-related lawsuits brought under federal common law, rapt attention has turned to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to bring greenhouse gases into the regulatory fold. Certainly, as the works in this special issue of the Florida Law Review demonstrate, EPA is not the only important player in the climate arena; indeed, as I will reluctantly suggest, the Agency’s efforts here appear to be waning rather than waxing. Even so, before turning to other aspects of the problem of climate change, discussed in other works in this issue, it is worth taking stock of where EPA is now, how it came to this point, and how it might proceed from here.

The basic storyline of EPA’s posture toward greenhouse gas regulation is familiar to many, and I will sketch only the broad outlines here. In brief, I see three stages to EPA’s actions and attitudes: denial, acceptance, and bargaining. The correspondence of these stages to several of the famous stages of grief is intended to highlight the regression in EPA’s development, rather than to suggest that trying to address climate change is a form of grief (though grief it must necessarily entail, if one is clear-eyed about the science on the matter).

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