William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


Natalie M. Roy


Despite the increasing urgency of climate change, countries continue to struggle to cooperate on even modest solutions. Of international accords that are successfully ratified, agreed-upon commitments are mostly hortatory and vague, succeeding only in engendering a fragmented, voluntary compliance scheme. Unsurprisingly, decades of tepid climate action and procrastination have begotten a staggering emissions gap for the world to close by 2030—requiring a collective greenhouse gas reduction of about fifty percent to limit global warming to the 1.5°C benchmark. Yet, global greenhouse emissions have generally risen, not fallen in the last decade, with 2018 marking a record high despite pledges made in compliance with the celebrated 2015 Paris Agreement. In short, international models of climate cooperation thus far have descriptively been unequal to the task of securing adequate global climate action. Once we recognize and agree that global warming cannot go unaddressed, the conclusion follows that change, perhaps of a radical nature, is required. This Article argues that decades of insufficient international cooperation militate against tweaking current models, and instead proposes a blueprint for a concrete, market-driven compliance scheme that, importantly, would be operative without a world government or divestment of individual sovereignty.