the world is now at an agreement and, as a starting point, the two entities which are the
subject of this paper are in agreement as to the science of global warming.
According to the UN, the US currently contributes 22.2% of global Carbon Dioxide
emissions8 and the EU contributes 14.7%.9 While these figures were collected in 2004 and
are now somewhat inaccurate,10 they certainly indicate the large scale of the contribution of
the US and the EU.
The US, as a „superpower‟,11 and the EU, which bears, or may come to bear, the same
title,12 are entities of similar economic size,13 and hold a great deal of influence in the
international political sphere; influence which could be wielded in the battle against global
warming. Thus, it is difficult to understate the importance of these two entities both acting
and leading in the battle against climate change.
It has been noted that both the US and the EU are in agreement as regards science,
that both contribute significantly to CO2 emissions, and that both are entities of substantial
power. This paper, then, will provide a broad survey of the regimes for abating climate
change in both the US and the EU, federally and regionally, focusing on legally binding and
compulsory laws, schemes and policies. It will critically assess which of the operational
measures, if any, have been effective in reducing emissions and providing other benefits, and
assess, compare and evaluate the design of the measures, with a view to determining the
potential for, and likelihood of, their success. This analysis will suggest the best design
practice for future climate change laws and policies. Finally, this paper will provide a brief
insight into the future of climate change regulation.
B FEDERAL LEVEL MEASURES
1 The EU
A fundamental difference between the regulatory regimes of the US and the EU is the Kyoto
protocol.14 The US signed,15 but did not ratify,16 the protocol. As opposed to this is the EU,
8The Official UN Site for the MDG Indicators: Carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), thousand metric tons of CO2
(CDIAC) (27 February 2010).
10 This is largely due to the vast increase in China‟s emissions over the ensuing years. Sources now suggest that
China has in fact superseded the US as the largest emitter of CO2. Netherlands Environment Agenc y Cli mate
Change Dossiers „China now no. 1 in CO2 emissions; USA in second position‟
tml> (27 February 2010).
11 Though not the only power, as it operates in „a strange hybrid [international political system], a u ni-multipolar
system with one superpower and several major powers.‟ Huntington „The Lonely Superpower‟ (1999) 78(2)
Foreign Affairs 35.
12 M Leonard „Europe: the New Superpower‟ The Irish Times (Dublin Ireland 18 Februar y 2005); P Khanna The
Second World; E mpires and I nfluence in the New Global Order (Rando m House 2008).
13 Posen „Fleeting Equality: T he Relative Size of the US and EU Econo mies to 2020‟  US-Europe
Analysis Series (The Brookings Institution)
(27 February 2010).
14 Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (adopted 11 December
1997, entered into force 16 February 2005).
15 Then Vice-President Al Gore signed the Protocol, but indicated that ratification would not be sought. ––
„Clinton Hails Global Warming Pact, But early Senate ratification is unlikely‟ CNN
(27 February 2010).
16 The US Senate passed (by a unanimous 95–0 vote) a resolution stating that „the United States should not be a
signatory to any protocol‟ that did not mandate emissio ns caps for developing nations and that may harm the US