I. Energy Transition Leadership

As wildfires rage across the western United States and the Gulf Coast bears the impact of increasingly devastating hurricanes, it is evident that climate change is affecting the daily lives of many across the country and the world.[1] Many attribute these effects to the environmental impact of fossil fuels.[2] Consequently, there is a concerted effort to decarbonize society and execute a global energy transition.[3] A transition of this magnitude cannot be performed on a dime, especially with global energy demand projected to increase, surpassing the capabilities of the current renewable infrastructure.[4] Nonetheless, a more efficient transition is possible if International Oil Companies (IOCs) lead the charge. However, their ability to do so requires adjustments to the current legal framework.

IOCs’ business models and current infrastructure support large-scale projects, and their existing operations rank them among the largest greenhouse gas emitters, putting them in a unique position to lead the global transition to a lower carbon landscape.[5] However, IOCs face major obstacles in leading this transition, some of which can be mitigated by implementing legal solutions in the form of prescriptive regulations on carbon-emitting operations, regulations intended to influence market behavior, and removing regulations that serve as legal barriers to transition. Because the United States is one of the only Western nations lacking formal emissions regulations, this Comment will analyze existing international laws and policies and propose solutions directed towards domestic implementation.[6] Part II will lay the foundation and give a summary of IOCs’ current business models, discuss the pressure they face to transition to low-carbon energy, and address the gap between forecasted total energy demand and renewable energy production targets. Part III will identify the current laws and regulations, or lack thereof, on international, domestic, and local levels. Part IV will return to facilitating the IOCs’ leadership in the transition and discuss legal solutions that enable IOCs to be major contributors in achieving emissions reductions goals. Finally, Part V will propose the best solution(s), highlight key implementation strategies in the United States, and briefly examine the global impact.

II. IOCs’ Infrastructure and Incentives Enable Change

IOCs, as compared to their petroleum industry counterparts, are publicly owned and globally operated companies that typically operate in all stages of the hydrocarbon extraction supply chain.[7] Often thought of as the “super majors,” ExxonMobil, Shell, TOTAL, BP, and Chevron are the most familiar IOCs.[8] These companies solidified their status atop the oil industry in the 1990s and early 2000s, when a decline in oil prices incentivized mergers of already sizeable entities into adequately named “big oil” corporations.[9] A key characteristic of super majors and many IOCs is their business’s integration from oil and gas exploration, production, transportation, storage, marketing, refining, all the way to the final sale of products.[10]

IOCs play a pivotal role in meeting global energy demand through fossil fuels, but the shift towards renewable energy poses new obstacles for the sector.[11] Governments and corporations are setting carbon emission reduction goals as the global energy demand is expected to increase, leaving a gap in energy demand that cannot be met with today’s renewable technologies.[12] IOCs must continue investing in low-carbon technologies to ensure their long-term profitability, while maintaining conventional energy production to fill the gap.[13] Investment strategies include integrating low-carbon technologies into fossil fuel production, expanding beyond traditional fossil fuel production, and aiming to lower emissions in existing operations.[14]

The shift in energy demand from fossil fuels to low-carbon or no-carbon energy requires IOCs to adapt in order to survive. Fortunately, IOCs possess nonindustry-specific characteristics that lend themselves to renewable energy development and overall carbon emission reduction. By nature of their presence across the petroleum product value chain on an international level, IOCs have a robust asset portfolio that is highly technical at every stage.[15] The expertise and budget used in developing and growing such a portfolio are transferable to growth and development in the low-carbon space.[16] These characteristics, as well as the physical assets themselves, translate well into renewable energy development.[17] For example, low-carbon energy ventures, like offshore wind energy, leverage IOCs’ existing oil- and gas‑producing platforms in various coastal and deep-water locations, as well as their proficiency in building offshore infrastructure.[18] Also, IOCs are already using their existing networks of service stations to house charging stations for electric vehicles.[19]

Additionally, IOCs must make some efforts to decrease overall carbon emissions in order to survive pressures from governments, investors, and the public.[20] Governmental pressure looks different for each company depending on the regulations in effect in the country in which they are headquartered.[21] The extent to which IOCs experience governmental pressure is also affected by a country’s business–government relationship. The American business–government relationship is such that American oil companies lobby and challenge regulations; whereas, in European nations, a similar approach may be considered too adversarial and negatively impact a company’s credibility.[22]

The oil and gas industry is beginning to report environmental, social, and governance (ESG) metrics. ESG metrics are used to evaluate a company’s operations and performance and ultimately dictate investment decisions and even access to capital.[23] ESG‑focused investors use different strategies to create more sustainable funds and, in turn, affect oil and gas companies to a varying degree.[24] Investors engaging in “negative screening” actively divest any fossil-fuel-focused companies.[25] “ESG integration” funds do not explicitly divest of oil- and gas-based investments but seek to include companies with the best ESG metrics, which often has the same result.[26] These ESG investing strategies caused the energy sector of the U.S. S&P 500 to decrease by 48% from 2015 to 2020.[27]

ESG pressures from the public are apparent in hiring trends. Young professionals are showing skepticism towards oil and gas careers due to climate change concerns.[28] In addition to the oil industry’s struggle to attract and retain talented personnel, “there is [a] growing realization that any company that fails to appreciate the changes induced by climate change concerns and societies’ desire for cleaner energy could lose its societal license to operate.”[29] IOCs are facing lawsuits for climate-related problems, further incentivizing, or perhaps necessitating, a change.[30] Despite their roles as the predominant carbon emission culprits,[31] IOCs’ current position in the energy sector, corporate characteristics, infrastructure, and renewable investments to date make them likely candidates to lead a successful effort toward global emissions reduction.

III. Current Regulatory Landscape Leaves Room for Federal Action

Because climate change poses a global threat, countries are taking varied approaches, jointly and independently, to address the dilemma.[32] Part III analyzes regulations, ranging from international agreements to local laws, to understand the current international regulatory landscape as a basis for potential federal solutions in the United States.

A. International Agreements Lack Enforceable Obligations

At the international level, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is a legal regime that puts the responsibility on countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their jurisdictions.[33] Dating back to 1992, the UNFCCC facilitates treaties and other international laws that are often referred to in the aggregate as the “UN climate regime.”[34] The UNFCCC’s objective is the “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.”[35] The UNFCCC itself lacks firm emissions reduction targets and does not provide any recourse for parties that do not comply to its vague provisions, but it paved the way for subsequent international agreements with more definite commitments.[36] Specifically, Article 7 of the UNFCCC establishes the “Conference of the Parties” and ensures the parties will regularly meet to make decisions that further the efforts articulated at the convention.[37] Additionally, the UNFCCC first expressed the concept of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” by dividing parties into categories of “developed” and “developing” countries and tasked developed countries with leading the climate change efforts by “recogni[zing] . . . the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries.”[38] The “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” remains a theme throughout the U.N. climate regime.[39]

The Kyoto Protocol, adopted at the third Conference of the Parties, sets forth a target for developed countries—to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5% compared to their 1990 emissions levels during a commitment period of 2008 to 2012.[40] To achieve this target, Article 2 encourages each country to implement specific policies and measures.[41] Notably, the Article encourages “[p]rogressive reduction or phasing out of market imperfections, fiscal incentives, tax and duty exemptions and subsidies in all greenhouse gas emitting sectors that run counter to the objective of the Convention.”[42] Specific to the energy sector, the Kyoto Protocol tasks parties with formulating national and regional programs to mitigate climate change from certain sectors, including energy, transportation, and industry.[43] Although developing countries are not subject to emissions-reductions targets under the Kyoto Protocol, their commitments under the UNFCCC remain intact.[44] The Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, effective December 30, 2020, creates a second commitment period calling for an 18% reduction in emissions compared to 1990 levels between 2013 and 2020.[45]

The Paris Agreement, a product of the 2015 Conference of Parties, expands the reach of international climate change regulation by including commitments from developing nations.[46] Among the key commitments in the Paris Agreement is the effort to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.[47] Although prior drafts of the Paris Agreement included specific language about reducing dependency on fossil fuels, only a vague mention of striving for a “balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century” is in the final document.[48] Also relevant to the energy sector, the Paris Agreement does not include a carbon tax as requested by some IOCs, but it mentions carbon pricing as an important tool to incentivize emission reduction activities.[49]

Conferences following the Paris Agreement continue to disappoint those seeking to elicit lofty commitments from some of the world’s largest emitters.[50] Under President Trump’s Administration, the United States formally withdrew from the Paris Agreement effective November 4, 2020,[51] but rejoined January 20, 2021, on President Biden’s first day in office.[52] The Paris Agreement, the UNFCCC, and international climate change regulations as a whole will only be as successful as the parties’ efforts in their own countries, which are highly scrutinized.[53] Countries’ commitments to the Paris Agreement and other UNFCCC decrees do not include any mandates involving IOCs in particular; however, the indirect effects of ESG motivations in reaction to the Paris Agreement are evident.[54]

B. National Climate Change Policies in Developed Countries Vary Drastically

It is important to understand the dynamic between countries and the energy sector through international climate change laws and policies, but laws and regulations enacted on the national and local levels are most likely to impact IOCs and their ability to efficiently transition to a lower carbon environment. National policies vary drastically from country to country. For example, the United States lacks climate-change-related regulations at the federal level.[55]

The European Union, on the other hand, set forth a net zero emissions policy for 2050 but has yet to enforce any industry-level regulations affecting specific actors.[56] Although the EU’s efforts to formalize ESG standards do not directly regulate emissions, they could certainly have the same effect.[57] Much of the EU’s emissions reduction thus far is attributable to its Emissions Trading System.[58] Emissions trading systems are evaluated in depth in Part IV of this Comment, but it is relevant to note the EU’s success with this mechanism thus far.

Responsible for almost one fourth of global greenhouse gas emissions, China also has a goal to be carbon neutral by 2060.[59] China currently relies on coal for residential and commercial heating, and its efforts to transition to natural gas will likely assist in the country’s quest for carbon neutrality.[60] Additionally, China is home to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), a National Oil Company (NOC) and the country’s largest oil and gas producer.[61] CNPC mirrored China’s ambitious emissions reduction goal with a pledge of its own—to cut methane emissions 50% by 2025.[62] As CNPC’s largest investor and shareholder, China has a good chance of achieving its aggressive targets by directing CNPC to lower carbon operations through its ownership relationship.[63]

C. Local Climate Change Regulations Alone Are Not Sustainable

Although the U.S. government was mostly silent on the climate problem until President Biden’s Executive Orders and Memorandum addressing climate change in January 2021,[64] state governments continue to address the issue through various forms of legislation.[65] Some states set emissions reduction targets but did not include formal communication about how to achieve those targets.[66] States’ actions thus far target individual sectors such as electricity, transportation, real estate, industry, and agriculture, and even utilize green banks and implement clean energy funds to finance renewable energy projects.[67] For example, New York passed a policy requiring carbon-free electricity by 2040.[68] The State of Washington targeted commercial real estate by enacting the Clean Buildings Act, which requires new and existing buildings to comply with heightened energy efficiency standards.[69] States often operate as “laboratories of democracy” for potential federal regulation, and climate change is no exception.[70] However, regulating exclusively at the local level is not sustainable. With a growing number of states calling for low-carbon buildings and clean transportation, the renewable energy supply will not be able to keep up with the increased demand, and a federal solution taking IOCs’ needs into account is necessary to achieve states’ goals.[71]

IV. Legal Solutions Must Address Energy Demand and IOCs’ Capital Constraints

IOCs’ obstacles in transitioning to low-carbon operations center on continuing to meet the physical fossil fuel demand and capital constraints in both the ability to make an initial investment in low-carbon operations and the willingness to accept a lower rate of return than those expected with upstream fossil fuel investments.[72] These obstacles are not insurmountable—there are legal solutions to overcome challenges in meeting physical energy demand, overcoming capital constraints, and other concerns associated with IOCs’ transitions. These legal solutions come in various forms and can be implemented at the local, federal, and international levels. Part IV specifically addresses solutions the United States can implement at the federal level through prescriptive regulations, market-based legal solutions, and removing existing regulations.

A. Combination of Prescriptive Regulations Balance Environmental and Financial Concerns

Likely the most publicly recognized form of regulation, prescriptive regulations are often direct limits, prohibitions, or other requirements on emissions levels.[73] In Massachusetts v. EPA, the Supreme Court recognized greenhouse gases as air pollutants and thus regulatable under the Clean Air Act.[74] Accordingly, the federal government has the authority to enact prescriptive regulations, or “command-and-control regulations,” addressing energy distribution through environmental and energy law instruments.[75] For example, the federal government can introduce emissions limits on fossil fuel industry operations directly or on the industry’s consumers, affecting fossil fuel industry players through the resulting change in demand.[76] Additionally, the federal government can prohibit the use of greenhouse-gas-intensive materials altogether.[77] Ancillary requirements placed on current fossil fuel operations may also serve as effective prescriptive regulations.

As discussed in Part III, IOCs already face prescriptive regulations on their operations in other developed countries.[78] Implementing similar regulations in the United States is not only feasible, but could provide the predictability and equal opportunity environment required for industry players to transition to lower carbon operations.[79] Setting forth specific emission limits on fossil fuel operations incentivizes IOCs to leverage their research and development expertise in adapting to regulations immediately as opposed to waiting until they are forced to make such efforts in reaction to competitor innovations or investor prudence. Continued technological development in current fossil fuel operations has the ability to address both hurdles IOCs must overcome—the physical energy demand and capital constraints—but not without additional regulatory assistance. Long term, innovation ideally allows IOCs to streamline operations and cut costs, but there is still the upfront expense required to invest in any new venture that even explicit limits on emissions cannot justify.[80]

Prescriptive regulations in the form of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) requirements may be an effective way to limit emissions in the near term but may also perpetuate fossil fuel usage.[81] CCUS is the capture and storage of the carbon dioxide normally emitted during industrial processing to prevent emitting it into the atmosphere and potentially use it in other industrial processes.[82] Forced, or at least incentivized, CCUS enacted at the federal level can help achieve decarbonization goals without abruptly eliminating fossil fuel availability.[83] Continuing fossil fuel operations, to some extent, is required for IOCs to meet near-term energy demand, one of the main obstacles they face in the energy transition.[84] When it comes to capital concerns, CCUS requires an upfront capital investment, but the ability to utilize or sell the gas that is captured may boost project economics enough to realize a significant return.[85] Further regulatory intervention can also help alleviate capital concerns. For example, the federal government can direct agencies to purchase energy produced using CCUS or provide tax credits to those participating in carbon sequestration.[86] If they are not already using CCUS operations, IOCs are well-positioned to implement the technology and even advance current abilities using their large research and development budgets along with their expertise in large-scale infrastructure.[87]

A more extreme prescriptive regulation is a blanket prohibition. While a blanket prohibition on heavy‑greenhouse‑gas‑emitting materials, such as plastics, would undoubtedly lower emissions, this solution reaches beyond what is necessary to achieve a more seamless transition with IOCs at the helm.[88] However, production of plastics and other products with large carbon footprints could decrease as a byproduct of direct regulation on emissions.[89]

One type of prescriptive regulation alone may not be the key to overcoming IOCs’ obstacles in transitioning to low-carbon energy solutions. A combination of regulations implemented by the federal government is likely a step in the right direction. Carbon dioxide emissions restrictions and CCUS requirements go hand in hand.[90] Emissions restrictions force IOCs to implement CCUS technologies to keep existing fossil fuel operations in compliance before renewable energy solutions are capable of meeting the demand.[91] Regulations that incentivize CCUS provide the necessary financial assurances for IOCs to overcome the upfront implementation cost and ideally free up any additional capital to fund further investment in renewable, or no-carbon, technologies.[92] With the right combination, federal prescriptive regulations can assist IOCs in leading the transition to cleaner energy while maintaining the adequate fossil fuel supply to meet near-term energy demand.

In addition to prescriptive regulations, market-based legal solutions implemented at the federal level can assist IOCs in their low-carbon pursuits and allow them to be industry leaders in the energy transition. Market-based legal solutions are “a mode of governance that intends to affect market behavior by using prices, incentives, and other market signals within already-existing markets.”[93] These legal tools are broadly categorized into positive incentives that make it financially beneficial to engage in the desired behavior and negative incentives that make disfavored actions more expensive.[94]

Positive incentives include issuing green bonds—bonds in which the issuance proceeds are used to finance carbon emissions mitigation projects.[95] Green bonds can be government-issued or company-issued by some of the world’s largest emitters.[96] Although there is some opposition to green bonds, they play a key role in financing clean energy projects and provide tax incentives to make IOCs’ large-scale investments feasible.[97] Tax credits are another important legal tool in incentivizing renewable investments.[98]

Negative incentives include pollution charges, taxes, and fees.[99] A carbon tax is a logical place to start in terms of penalizing environmentally harmful behavior.[100] Carbon taxes increase the price of fossil fuels and its derivative products by charging a fee based on the carbon content.[101] Carbon taxes not only disincentivize high-carbon operations and promote investment in low-carbon technologies but also have the potential to raise a significant amount of capital that can be used to further decarbonization efforts.[102] The scalability of a carbon tax makes its implementation in the United States at the federal level feasible.[103] However, a federal carbon tax requires tax adjustments on imported goods to ensure international trade does not circumvent the tax entirely.[104] Although there are other market‑leveraging negative incentives available, a carbon tax is the most logical place to start.[105]

Both positive and negative market-leveraging incentives implemented at the federal level have the potential to assist IOCs in leading the energy transition. Positive incentives in the form of green bonds or tax credits assist IOCs in overcoming the capital constraints of renewable investments. Green bonds, specifically, can assist IOCs in raising the required initial capital investment.[106] Additionally, factoring tax credits into project financing increases the rate of return on renewable projects, making a smoother transition from IOCs’ typical high-return fossil fuel projects.[107] Making renewable and low-carbon project investments more feasible allows IOCs to continue meeting the physical demand for fossil fuels throughout the transition without forfeiting all their resources to new projects.[108] Negative incentives, specifically carbon taxes, are undoubtedly effective in reducing emissions, and even large oil companies have indicated their support for a carbon tax plan.[109] However, a carbon tax plan is likely to be only as effective as the other measures that accompany the plan.[110] Without accompanying regulations, a blanket carbon tax increases the cost of IOCs’ fossil fuel operations, which will likely just be passed on to the consumer.[111] Neither of IOCs’ primary obstacles—meeting physical energy demand or addressing IOCs’ capital constraints—are addressed through carbon taxation alone.

C. Removing Regulations May Be More Effective than New Regulations

Regulations that either incentivize fossil fuel use or serve as a barrier to entry into the renewable space deserve just as much, if not more, attention in the decarbonization conversation than creating new regulations. Like the proposed tax incentives for renewable investments discussed as a positive market-based legal solution, there are laws that currently subsidize, or incentivize, fossil fuel use and development.[112] Originally put in place to encourage domestic energy production, fossil fuel subsidies in the United States remain in effect despite being seemingly at odds with current energy policy.[113] For example, companies are allowed to deduct a majority of the costs associated with drilling new oil and gas wells,[114] account for declining hydrocarbon reserves to decrease taxable income,[115] as well as take advantage of various incentives that indirectly subsidize the fossil fuel sector.[116] Eliminating, or at least limiting, the current subsidies in the United States is an “obvious decarbonization tool,” and congressional reform efforts are ongoing.[117]

In addition to promoting fossil fuel use, current regulations can act as barriers to investing in renewable or alternative energy sources.[118] Most applicable to IOCs are regulations that govern the permitting and licensing processes of energy sources.[119] The permitting and licensing phase is often the most time-consuming and expensive portion of a project lifecycle, and relieving renewable energy investors of excessive requirements would make advancing toward the decarbonization goal much easier.[120] Because renewable energy is a relatively young industry and technology is constantly evolving, a “streamlined” patent process for new technologies would also remove unnecessary barriers to decarbonization.[121]

IOCs’ obstacles in leading the energy transition can be mitigated by removing both pro-fossil fuel subsidies and burdensome alternative energy regulation. While removing fossil fuel subsidies makes IOCs’ hydrocarbon operations and future projects more expensive, IOCs are large enough and represent enough of the value chain to accommodate such circumstances.[122] In fact, removal of subsidies on undeveloped resources will narrow the field of profitable investments, freeing capital to invest in alternative energy methods.[123] Removing fossil fuel subsidies does not directly affect the upfront capital constraint or the “profitability gap” in renewable energy investment, but eliminating regulations that prolong the permitting or patent process for alternative technologies does.[124] A regulatory framework that reduces the time and cost to permit large-scale projects allows IOCs to justify the upfront capital investment and makes alternative energy projects more competitive with fossil fuel projects.[125] Overall, removing regulations that either incentivize fossil fuel investment or burden alternative energy projects is just as effective of a legal tool as additional regulation and should be thoughtfully considered.

V. Conclusion

The United Nations not only describes climate change as the “defining issue of our time” but also states that we are at “the defining moment.”[126] The imminent threats posed by climate change make the transition to low-carbon energy sources of utmost importance.[127] Fortunately, the U.S. government has legal tools at its disposal to enable IOCs, which are uniquely situated in both the fossil fuel and renewable sector, to lead the transition to cleaner energy.[128] Prescriptive regulations, market-based solutions, and removing current regulations can assist in diminishing the obstacles IOCs face in making the transition to cleaner energy.

Because various legal solutions have different effects on the fossil fuel industry, IOCs, and society, it is important to consider combining approaches to achieve the desired results. Although both approaches require congressional action, a market-based carbon tax paired with prescriptive CCUS incentives should be top priority because this combination allows IOCs to continue hydrocarbon operations to meet energy demands in the near term and gradually phase out such operations to meet emissions goals.[129] Direct limitations on emissions can also be effective, but a carbon tax provides more incentive to reduce emissions as much as possible instead of enough to comply with an arbitrary limit.[130] Furthermore, market-based approaches are more flexible in terms of the emitter’s compliance.[131] Flexibility is key as IOCs’ business models evolve to include clean energy.

Carbon taxation paired with CCUS incentives takes direct aim at reducing emissions in the short-term, but long-term goals are not attainable without repealing or restructuring regulations that inhibit low-carbon investment. Streamlining the permitting process is one way to address this issue.[132] Removing these legal barriers puts clean energy projects closer to a level playing field with fossil fuel projects when IOCs evaluate future investments. The federal government’s best approach towards decarbonization with IOCs at the helm starts with a carbon tax, a CCUS regulation, and a streamlined permitting process for clean energy technology and infrastructure.

Congress has been reluctant to pass significant climate change legislation, but the current political landscape and the urgency required to facilitate the energy transition makes now a better time than ever to implement the above-described legal solutions.[133] In addition to formally participating in the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Paris Agreement, implementing legal solutions in the United States will have a global impact.[134] The United States will not only contribute to the global effort by reducing local emissions but also set a policy example encouraging renewable development worldwide.[135] Implementing legal solutions at the federal level that prioritize IOCs’ leadership in the energy transition is key in reaching global climate change goals.

Katy Liebel

  1. See Mapped: How Climate Change Affects Extreme Weather Around the World, CarbonBrief, (Feb. 25, 2021, 4:30 PM), https://www.carbonbrief.org/mapped-how-climate-change-affects-extreme-weather-around-the-world [https://perma.cc/832W-JAAH] (noting that natural disasters are increasing in intensity and devastation due in part to climate change).

  2. The Causes of Climate Change, NASA Global Climate Change, https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ [https://perma.cc/RD88-ZDCD] (last visited Aug. 2, 2021) (stating that greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel combustion are a cause of climate change).

  3. See generally Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change art. 2, § 1(a)(vii), Dec. 11, 1997, 2303 U.N.T.S. 162 (operationalizing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change by committing industrialized countries to “limit and/or reduce emissions of greenhouse gases”); Paris Agreement to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change art. 2, § 1(a)(b), Dec. 12, 2015, T.I.A.S. No. 16-1104, (aiming to strengthen the global response to climate change by setting forth long-term temperature goals and rapid greenhouse gas reduction rates).

  4. Rob West & Bassam Fattouh, The Energy Transition and Oil Companies’ Hard Choices, Oxford Inst. for Energy Stud., July 2019, at 1, 1 (“[T]he expected increase in energy demand by 2050 cannot be met with today’s renewable technologies alone . . . .”).

  5. See Robert Johnston et al., The Role of Oil and Gas Companies in the Energy Transition, Atl. Council 18, 19 (2020); Matthew Taylor & Jonathan Watts, Revealed: The 20 Firms Behind a Third of All Carbon Emissions, Guardian (Oct. 9, 2019, 7:00 AM), https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/09/revealed-20-firms-third-carbon-emissions [https://perma.cc/8PTC-KSX2] (recognizing international and state-owned oil companies contribute over one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions).

  6. See Michael B. Gerrard, The Role of Lawyers in Decarbonizing Society, 72 Stan. L. Rev. Online, Apr. 2020, at 112, 112 (“Congress has passed no laws that require reductions in GHG emissions . . . .”); Brad Plumer & Nadja Popovich, The U.S. Has a New Climate Goal. How Does It Stack Up Globally?, N.Y. Times (Apr. 22, 2021) www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/04/22/climate/new-climate-pledge.html [https://perma.cc/48B5-N9PJ].

  7. Saud M. Al-Fattah, The Role of National and International Oil Companies in the Petroleum Industry, SSRN Elec. J. 2, 4 (Jan. 2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2299878 [https://perma.cc/6FYN-UC2Y] (comparing IOCs to national oil companies (NOCs), which are largely owned by their parent governments).

  8. Id. at 4.

  9. The Super-Majors…What and Who Are They?, OilNOW (Aug. 29, 2017), https://oilnow.gy/uncategorized/the-super-majors-what-and-who-are-they/ [https://perma.cc/G48A-3MKJ].

  10. Saud M. Al-Fattah, The Evolving Role of Oil and Gas Companies in the Energy Industry, SSRN Elec. J. 1, 7 (2020), https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3569308 [https://perma.cc/7PCS-KVRL].

  11. See Adam Muspratt, The Top 10 Oil & Gas Companies in the World: 2019, Oil & Gas IQ (May 1, 2019), https://www.oilandgasiq.com/strategy-management-and-information/articles/oil-and-gas-companies [https://perma.cc/SYH9-JQV2] (listing Royal Dutch Shell, BP, ExxonMobil, and TOTAL among the top oil and gas companies by annual revenue and production).

  12. See West & Fattouh, supra note 4, at 1 (stating that energy demand will likely surpass 100,000 Terawatt Hours in 2050 and that “[t]here is a broad energy industry consensus that the expected increase . . . cannot be met with today’s renewable technologies alone”).

  13. See id. at 2–3.

  14. Ensieh Shojaeddini et al., Oil and Gas Company Strategies Regarding the Energy Transition, Progress in Energy, July 2019, at 1, 2, https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2516-1083/ab2503/pdf [https://perma.cc/J48Q-EEUS] (categorizing oil and gas companies into four groups based on energy transition strategies, including “not engaging in low‑carbon investments or emissions reductions”).

  15. See Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 19 (highlighting the “industry’s expertise with supply chains, scalability, and technological deployment”).

  16. See Shojaeddini et al., supra note 14, at 4 (describing IOCs’ ability to execute large-scale projects due to financial strength and project management experience).

  17. See Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 17 (noting that “the balance sheets and business experience of major oil and gas companies can be leveraged” in decarbonization); Ana Penha, Oil Companies’ Approach to Renewable Energy, 6 Env’t & Energy L. & Pol’y J. 1, 48 (2011) (stating that oil companies view renewable energy as complimentary to fossil fuels and are already investing in renewable resources).

  18. See Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 18–19.

  19. West & Fattouh, supra note 4, at 7 (describing Shell, BP, and TOTAL’s acquisitions of electric vehicle charging companies).

  20. See Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 3–4 (highlighting that the pressures to decarbonize are already affecting IOC investment decisions).

  21. See id. at 8 (“US international oil companies (IOCs) do not face the same top-down pressure to rapidly decarbonize as their European colleagues . . . .”).

  22. Penha, supra note 17, at 18.

  23. See Amy Stutzman, The ESG Evolution in Oil & Gas: Clearing Up Misconceptions, JD Supra (Mar. 25, 2020), https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-esg-evolution-in-oil-gas-clearing-20125/ [https://perma.cc/3PG3-Q42N] (describing investors’ focus on ESG, as well as Blackrock, a major capital investment firm, making sustainability a priority).

  24. Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 12.

  25. Id. at 12.

  26. See id. at 11–12.

  27. Id. at 2 (noting that the energy sector’s poor performance is attributable to both low commodity prices and the uncertainty around decarbonization policies).

  28. Irina Slav, Why Young Professionals Are Steering Clear of Oil & Gas, Oilprice (May 11, 2020, 5:00 PM), https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Why-Young-Professionals-Are-Steering-Clear-Of-Oil-Gas.html [https://perma.cc/7D4F-ZJQJ].

  29. West & Fattouh, supra note 4, at 3.

  30. Id. (recognizing that lawsuits brought by counties and cities are intensifying pressures to evolve to a low-carbon society); see Christine Batruch, Climate Change and Sustainability in the Energy Sector, 10 J. World Energy L. & Bus. 444, 455 (2017) (stating that the outcome of climate change liability suits is unclear, but they are certain to result in reputational damages for the accused companies).

  31. See Taylor & Watts, supra note 5 (stating that more than one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions can be attributed to twenty fossil fuel companies).

  32. See Daniel Bodansky et al., International Climate Change Law 2, 10 (2017) (describing the climate change problem as “planetary in scope” and noting that a body of international law has formed in response).

  33. Benoit Mayer & Mikko Rajavuori, National Fossil Fuel Companies and Climate Change Mitigation Under International Law, 44 Syracuse J. Int’l L. & Com. 55, 62 (2016).

  34. Bodansky et al., supra note 32, at 10.

  35. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change art. 2, May 9, 1992, S. Treaty Doc No. 102-38, 1771 U.N.T.S. 107 [hereinafter UNFCCC].

  36. Daniel Bodansky, The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: A Commentary, 18 Yale J. Int’l L. 451, 555, 558 (1993).

  37. UNFCCC, supra note 35, art. 7, §§ 1–2, 4 (“[O]rdinary sessions of the Conference of the Parties shall be held every year . . . .”).

  38. Bodansky et al., supra note 32, at 27–28.

  39. Id. at 27 (noting that the principle of “common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities” is “deeply embedded in the UN climate regime”).

  40. See Adrian J. Bradbrook, Creating Law for Next Generation Energy Technologies, 2 Geo. Wash. J. Energy & Env’t L. 17, 21 (2011) (the parties agreed that the 5% reduction would occur during the first commitment period (2008–2012)); Kyoto Protocol, supra note 3, art. 3, § 1; see also J.M. Allwood et al., Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1249, 1252, 1267 (2014) (defining Annex B parties as a subset of Annex I, in contrast to non-Annex I parties which are “mostly developing countries”).

  41. Kyoto Protocol, supra note 3, art. 2, § 1(a).

  42. Id.

  43. Id. art. 10.

  44. Bradbrook, supra note 40, at 21.

  45. Doha Amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, Dec. 8, 2012, UNFCCC Doc. FCCC/KP/CMP/2012/13/Add.1, Decision 1/CMP.8, art. 1, § C; see Doha Amendment to Enter Into Force, SDG Knowledge Hub (Oct. 8, 2020), https://sdg.iisd.org/news/doha-amendment-enters-into-force [https://perma.cc/8AXL-5WDL] (noting that over 144 countries have ratified the Doha Amendment allowing it to become effective within ninety days).

  46. Paris Agreement, supra note 3, art. 4, § 4; see Batruch, supra note 30, at 449 (describing the Paris Agreement as a “major step beyond the Kyoto Protocol,” which did not prescribe emissions targets to developing nations).

  47. Paris Agreement, supra note 3, art. 2, § 1(a) (noting that limiting temperature increase “would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”).

  48. Id. art. 4, § 1; Batruch, supra note 30, at 45 1.

  49. See Batruch, supra note 30, at 451 (“[R]ecogniz[ing] the important role of providing incentives for emission reduction activities, including tools such as domestic policies and carbon pricing.”).

  50. Simon Evans & Josh Gabbatiss, COP 25: Key Outcomes Agreed at the UN Climate Talks in Madrid, CarbonBrief (Dec. 15, 2019, 9:39 PM), https://www.carbonbrief.org/cop25-key-outcomes-agreed-at-the-un-climate-talks-in-madrid [https://perma.cc/53H2-BREX] (reporting that UN secretary António Guterres was “disappointed” with the results of the 25th Conference of the Parties).

  51. Emily Holden, What the US Exiting the Paris Climate Agreement Means, Guardian (July 27, 2020, 3:00 PM), https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/27/us-paris-climate-accord-exit-what-it-means [https://perma.cc/29KP-N3XR].

  52. Antony J. Blinken, The United States Officially Rejoins the Paris Agreement, U.S. Dep’t of State (Feb. 19, 2021), https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-officially-rejoins-the-paris-agreement/ [https://perma.cc/6LJP-64UZ].

  53. See Stephen Leahy, Most Countries Aren’t Hitting 2030 Climate Goals, and Everyone Will Pay the Price, Nat’l Geographic (Nov. 5, 2019), https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/11/nations-miss-paris-targets-climate-driven-weather-events-cost-billions/ [https://perma.cc/SMD5-XSB4] (reports have found that many countries are unlikely to achieve carbon emission reduction pledges and regardless, current pledges are not enough to achieve the overall temperature objectives).

  54. See Batruch, supra note 30, at 454–55 (recognizing that institutional investors will not stop investing in energy companies but will consider energy companies’ climate strategy in considering future investments).

  55. See supra text accompanying note 6.

  56. Climate Action: 2050 Long-Term Strategy, Eur. Comm’n, https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/2050_en [https://perma.cc/9EXD-D4CD] (last visited July 24, 2021); see A European Green Deal: Striving to Be the First Climate-Neutral Continent, Eur. Comm’n, https://ec.europa.eu/info/strategy/priorities-2019-2024/European-green-deal_en [https://perma.cc/5AN2-4YDV] (last visited Sept. 3, 2021).

  57. See E.U. Tech. Expert. Grp. on Sustainable Fin., TEG Final Report on Climate Benchmarks and Benchmarks’ ESG Disclosures 13 (2019), https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/default/files/business_economy_euro/banking_and_finance/documents/190930-sustainable-finance-teg-final-report-climate-benchmarks-and-disclosures_en.pdf [https://perma.cc/24LV-EDQF].

  58. See Progress Made in Cutting Emissions, Eur. Comm’n, https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/strategies/progress_en [https://perma.cc/A4GM-BWF6] (last visited July 24, 2021) (stating that EU greenhouse gas emissions were reduced by 24% between 1990 and 2019, and they are on track to meet the 20% emissions reduction target for 2020); see also Patrick Bayer & Michael Aklin, The European Union Emissions Trading System Reduced CO2 Emissions Despite Low Prices, PNAS (Apr. 21, 2020), https://www.pnas.org/content/117/16/8804 [https://perma.cc/T8EM-ZKA7].

  59. See Global Emissions, Ctr. for Climate & Energy Sols. (2017), https://www.c2es.org/content/international-emissions/ [https://perma.cc/45KW-S4UJ] (depicting China as responsible for 24.3% of goal emissions in 2017); see also China: Country Summary, Climate Action Tracker (Sept. 21, 2020), https://climateactiontracker.org/countries/china/ [https://perma.cc/7QK9-PAM8].

  60. See Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 6 (noting China seeks to displace coal heating with natural gas); see also Yue Qin et al., Can Switching from Coal to Shale Gas Bring Net Carbon Reductions to China?, 51 Env’t Sci. & Tech. 2554, 2560 (2017) (stating that climate net benefits from shale gas substitution for coal, if appropriate regulations are put in place).

  61. Reuters Staff, China’s CNPC Targets 50% Slash in Methane Emission Intensity by 2025, Reuters, July 2, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-cnpc-carbon/chinas-cnpc-targets-50-slash-in-methane-emission-intensity-by-2025-idUSKBN2430P7 [https://perma.cc/R7BK-4VXX]; see Al-Fattah, supra note 7, at 2 (describing NOCs as “organizations that have the largest shares of their value held by their parent governments” and are typically integrated into the entire industry value chain).

  62. Reuters Staff, supra note 61.

  63. See Mayer & Rajavuori, supra note 33, at 112 (“[L]arge, centralized [NOCs] can be a unique opportunity for rapid policy implementation.”); About CNPC: History, CNPC, https://www.cnpc.com.cn/en/history/history_index.shtml [https://perma.cc/FCY8-KJ6C] (last visited Sept. 2, 2021).

  64. See generally Exec. Order No. 14007, 86 Fed. Reg. 7615 (Jan. 27, 2021); Exec. Order No. 14008, 86 Fed. Reg. 7619 (Jan. 27, 2021); Memorandum on Restoring Trust in Government Through Scientific Integrity and Evidence-Based Policymaking, 2021 Daily Comp. Pres. Doc. 96 (Jan. 27, 2021).

  65. Laura Shields, Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Targets and Market-Based Policies, NCSL: Nat’l Conf. of State Legislatures (Mar. 11, 2021), https://www.ncsl.org/research/energy/greenhouse-gas-emissions-reduction-targets-and-market-based-policies.aspx [https://perma.cc/FQ98-RAGN] (noting that at least sixteen states and Puerto Rico have greenhouse gas emissions reduction requirements and others have reduction goals without statutory targets).

  66. Id. (commenting that a requirement to reduce GHG emissions by x percentage points by y date is a clear order that does not immediately yield the methodology for getting there).

  67. Sam Ricketts et al., States Are Laying a Road Map for Climate Leadership, Ctr. for Am. Progress (Apr. 30, 2020, 8:00 AM), https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/reports/2020/04/30/484163/states-laying-road-map-climate-leadership/ [https://perma.cc/3QNP-9RQT] (stating that private investment through green banks has outpaced public funding three to one).

  68. S. 6599, 2019–2020 Reg. Sess. (N.Y. 2019); Hillary Rosner, How State and Local Governments Are Leading the Way on Climate Policy, Audubon (Fall 2019), https://www.audubon.org/magazine/fall-2019/how-state-and-local-governments-are-leading-way [https://perma.cc/8ZYC-8ZMQ].

  69. H.B. 1257, 66th Legis., 2019 Reg. Sess. (Wash. 2019); Jay Inslee, Washington Takes Bold Steps to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Buildings, Wash. Governor (May 2019), https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/clean-buildings-policy-brief-bill-signing.pdf [https://perma.cc/YF98-XH8L] (reporting that the Clean Buildings Act gives incentives to building owners, requires energy efficient appliances, encourages less natural gas use, and urges building owners to wire parking lots to support electric vehicles).

  70. See New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, 285 U.S. 262, 311 (1932) (providing that states may serve as a laboratory and “try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country”).

  71. Pippa Stevens, Global Energy Demand Means the World Will Keep Burning Fossil Fuels, International Energy Agency Warns, CNBC (Nov. 13, 2019, 7:22 AM), https://www.cnbc.com/2019/11/12/global-energy-demand-will-keep-world-burning-fossil-fuels-agency-says.html [https://perma.cc/4L8E-TAY8] (noting that the growth in renewables will not be fast enough to provide for the growing global population and economies).

  72. See Scott Foster & David Elzinga, The Role of Fossil Fuels in a Sustainable Energy System, UN Chron., https://www.un.org/en/chronicle/article/role-fossil-fuels-sustainable-energy-system [https://perma.cc/2CY2-4XCA] (last visited Dec. 29, 2020) (stating that the majority of energy demand is made up of fossil fuels and describing industries in which renewable energy technologies are not able to replace the need for fossil fuels in the near term); see West & Fattouh, supra note 4, at 4 (noting the large quantity of capital required to make the energy transition and that the capital availability depends on the achievable return on renewable projects); Henry Edwardes-Evans & Emma Slawinski, Cross Currents: Big Oil and the Energy Transition, S&P Glob. (Apr. 23, 2020), https://www.spglobal.com/en/research-insights/articles/cross-currents-big-oil-and-the-energy-transition [https://perma.cc/8TCC-MWJW] (“The biggest block on these companies moving into renewables is the so-called profitability gap,” i.e., the expectation of achieving a 15–20 percent return on investment, which is not realistic for renewable projects).

  73. John C. Dernbach, The Dozen Types of Legal Tools in the Deep Decarbonization Toolbox, 39 Energy L.J. 313, 329 (2018).

  74. Id. at 322; Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497, 532 (2007).

  75. Dernbach, supra note 73, at 322–23, 329 (delineating the differences between environmental law tools and energy law tools but emphasizing the importance of both in decarbonization efforts).

  76. See id. at 330–31 (contemplating stringent efficiency standards for new buildings, household appliances, industrial equipment, and various industry subsets).

  77. Lisa Anne Hamilton et al., Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet 82 (Amanda Kistler & Carroll Muffett eds., 2019), https://www.ciel.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Plastic-and-Climate-FINAL-2019.pdf [https://perma.cc/AC3U-GHKC] (recommending a prohibition on single-use plastic products due to their large carbon footprint throughout their lifecycle—procurement, production, and disposal).

  78. See Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 8 (recognizing the less-focused approach to emissions, as compared to European countries, has presented challenges).

  79. Serge Colle & Paul Micallef, Six Ways for Regulators to Support the Energy Transition, EY (Mar. 18, 2019), https://www.ey.com/en_us/power-utilities/six-ways-for-regulators-to-support-the-energy-transition [https://perma.cc/AZ98-A2KQ] (recognizing that industry participants desire a supportive regulatory framework that creates a predictable investment environment to drive the energy transition).

  80. Env’t L. Inst., Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States: Summary & Key Recommendations 15 (Michael B. Gerrard & John C. Dernbach eds., 2018) [hereinafter Legal Pathways] (listing “high upfront capital costs[,]” among other things, as an obstacle in carbon-reducing energy systems investment).

  81. David Biello, Can Carbon Capture Technology Be Part of the Climate Solution?, Yale Env’t 360 (Sept. 8, 2014), https://e360.yale.edu/features/can_carbon_capture_technology_be_part_of_the_climate_solution [https://perma.cc/VEK5-STCW] (noting the only way to control carbon dioxide pollution is to eliminate fossil fuel consumption, but that in the meantime, “[CCUS] could be vital to stave off catastrophic climate change”).

  82. Vincent Gonzales et al., Res. for the Future, Carbon Capture and Storage 101, at 1 (2020), https://media.rff.org/documents/CCS_101.pdf [https://perma.cc/Q3YU-ZJJU] (noting that emissions reductions depend on whether the carbon dioxide is permanently stored, used in lieu of fossil fuels, or used in processes designed to promote fossil fuel usage, e.g., enhanced oil recovery).

  83. See generally Env’t L. Inst., supra note 80, at 71–72 (recommending executive orders to direct agencies to purchase CCUS energy, congressional acts to expand tax credits for CCUS operations, legislation to encourage private investment in CCUS technology, environmental acts to tighten industrial operation emissions requirements such that CCUS is required to be in compliance, and various other CCUS reforms).

  84. See Johnston et al., supra note 5, at 2.

  85. Gonzales et al., supra note 82 (“Selling CO2 for [enhanced oil recovery] and other uses can provide revenue to [CCUS] facilities, incentivizing further implementation of [CCUS] technologies.”).

  86. See Env’t L. Inst., supra note 80, at 71–72 (listing recommendations to promote carbon capture and sequestration in the United States).

  87. See Gonzales et al., supra note 82, at 1, 3 (identifying the fifty-one large-scale CCUS facilities worldwide, ten of which are located in the United States, making it feasible for IOCs that are not currently taking advantage of the technology to incorporate it into their business model).

  88. See Hamilton et al., supra note 77, at 82 (“[S]topping the production of non‑essential plastic . . . is the surest way to curtail emissions throughout the plastic lifecycle.”).

  89. See Quick Takes: Plastic Production Is on the Rise Worldwide—but Declining in Europe, Brink (Dec. 5, 2019), https://www.brinknews.com/quick-take/plastic-production-on-the-rise-worldwide-declining-in-europe/ [https://perma.cc/82X4-2624]; see also Eur. Comm’n, A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy 9 (2018), https://www.europarc.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Eu-plastics-strategy-brochure.pdf [https://perma.cc/3GPZ-JLBW] (describing emissions reduction and decrease in plastic production operating in tandem in efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels).

  90. See Env’t L. Inst., supra note 80, at 71 (stating that restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions will drive CCUS and thus implies that CCUS requirements will result in lower emissions).

  91. See Matt Nesvisky, A Role for Fossil Fuels in Renewable Energy Diffusion, NBER Digest, Oct. 2016, at 4, 4, https://www.nber.org/sites/default/files/2019-08/oct16_0.pdf [https://perma.cc/7RWU-KPS6] (“[T]he most successful countries in transitioning to renewable energy were those able to handle supply variability through fast-reacting fossil fuel generation systems.”).

  92. See Env’t L. Inst., supra note 80, at 71–72.

  93. Dernbach, supra note 73, at 333.

  94. Id.

  95. See VanEck, Green Bonds and the Pathway to Sustainability 5 (2020), https://www.vaneck.com/guide-to-green-bonds-whitepaper [https://perma.cc/CGB6-UM7V].

  96. See Env’t L. Inst., supra note 80, at 15–16 (recommending green bond issuance as a tool for governments to financially support carbon reducing technology); see also Philippe Roos, Green Bonds Growing, Still Far to Go, Energy Intelligence (Aug. 4, 2020), https://www.energyintel.com/0000017b-a7db-de4c-a17b-e7db3ac20000 [https://perma.cc/PF76-VJXY] (highlighting some of the major issues in corporate-issued green bonds).

  97. See Env’t L. Inst., supra note 80, at 16; see also Roos, supra note 96.

  98. See Env’t L. Inst., supra note 80, at 16 (specifying current production tax credits, investment tax credits, long-term tax incentives, and tax incentives in the form of cash grants as important tools for the federal government to leverage in promoting a decarbonized society).

  99. Dernbach, supra note 73, at 333.

  100. Id. at 334 (“Any list of market-leveraging legal pathways that create negative incentives needs to begin with a carbon tax.”).

  101. Ian Parry, Putting a Price on Pollution, Fin. & Dev., Dec. 2019, at 16, 16, https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2019/12/pdf/the-case-for-carbon-taxation-and-putting-a-price-on-pollution-parry.pdf [https://perma.cc/K5FN-7CGC].

  102. Id. at 16–17 (suggesting that revenue from carbon taxes can be used to help offset the harmful macroeconomic effects resulting from the higher energy prices caused by tax or to fund investment in clean energy infrastructure).

  103. Dernbach, supra note 73, at 334 (carbon taxes can be increased or decreased over time as necessary to address damage from climate change).

  104. Id. (noting that absent a border tax adjustment on imported goods, a race to the bottom on carbon emissions is a likely occurrence).

  105. Id. (listing an increased federal tax on domestic aviation fuel and variable port charges based on ships greenhouse gas emissions as possible negative incentives to influence market behavior away from high carbon fuel usage).

  106. IRENA Renewable Energy Fin. Team, Renewable Energy Finance: Green Bonds 6 (2020), https://www.irena.org/-/media/Files/IRENA/Agency/Publication/2020/Jan/IRENA_RE_finance_Green_bonds_2020.pdf [https://perma.cc/K73T-YVCU] (recognizing green bonds as having the ability to bridge some of the financing gap to meet climate change goals).

  107. See Jeff McPherson & Brett Lawson, Tax Credits Continue to Fuel the Renewable Future, plante moran (Nov. 9, 2020), https://www.plantemoran.com/explore-our-thinking/insight/2020/11/tax-credits-continue-to-fuel-the-renewable-future [https://perma.cc/N4YV-VQBQ] (advocating that tax incentives for renewable and carbon reduction projects should be included in the economic modeling because the majority of such projects are dependent on tax incentives to be economically viable); see also Edwardes-Evans & Slawinski, supra note 72.

  108. See David Funkhouser, How Much Do Renewables Actually Depend on Tax Breaks?, Colum. Climate Sch.: St. of the Planet (Mar. 16, 2018), https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/03/16/how-much-do-renewables-actually-depend-on-tax-breaks/ [https://perma.cc/S8GT-KWVD] (stating that subsidies, or tax incentives and other policies, greatly benefit renewable energy development).

  109. Emma Newburger, A Carbon Tax Is ‘Single Most Powerful’ Way to Combat Climate Change, IMF Says, CNBC (Oct. 10, 2019, 12:17 PM), https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/10/carbon-tax-most-powerful-way-to-combat-climate-change-imf.html [https://perma.cc/6J79-WY6S] (quoting the International Monetary Fund in their assertion that “[i]ncreasing the price of carbon is the most efficient and powerful method of combating global warming and reducing air pollution”); see Leigh Collins, Are These the Real Reasons Why Big Oil Wants a Carbon Tax?, RECHARGE, https://www.rechargenews.com/transition/are-these-the-real-reasons-why-big-oil-wants-a-carbon-tax-/2-1-695383 [https://perma.cc/CX82-76TB] (Oct. 31, 2019, 2:04 PM) (recognizing oil companies’ support for a carbon tax is incentivized by the disproportionate effect it will have on the coal industry).

  110. See Kimberly Amadeo, Carbon Tax, Its Purpose, and How It Works: How a Carbon Tax Can Solve Climate Change, balance (Oct. 27, 2020), https://www.thebalance.com/carbon-tax-definition-how-it-works-4158043 [https://perma.cc/2HTP-YH74] (listing the following solutions that should be paired with a carbon tax plan to ensure its effectiveness: (1) ending government subsidies on fossil fuels; (2) subsidizing wind, solar, and hydropower; (3) increasing efficiency standards; (4) building more public transportation; and (5) implementing carbon emissions trading).

  111. Paul Griffin, Taxing Carbon May Sound Like a Good Idea But Does It Work?, Conversation (Oct. 15, 2018, 6:28 AM), https://theconversation.com/taxing-carbon-may-sound-like-a-good-idea-but-does-it-work-104871 [https://perma.cc/MF5M-CHNB] (noting the small tax bill on fossil fuel giants will likely get passed on to consumers as higher gasoline prices).

  112. Dernbach, supra note 73, at 335 (highlighting enhanced oil recovery credits as an example of a regulatory fossil fuel incentive).

  113. See Env’t & Energy Study Inst., Fossil Fuel Subsidies: A Closer Look at Tax Breaks and Societal Costs 1 (2019), https://www.eesi.org/files/FactSheet_Fossil_Fuel_Subsidies_0719.pdf [https://perma.cc/PH2D-TVH3] [hereinafter Fossil Fuel Subsidies] (estimating direct fossil fuel subsidies in the United States total roughly twenty billion dollars, 80% apportioned to crude oil and natural gas and 20% apportioned to coal).

  114. 26 U.S.C. § 263.

  115. Id. § 613.

  116. See Fossil Fuel Subsidies, supra note 113, at 3 (identifying the following indirect subsidies the United States provides to the fossil fuel industry: (1) last in, first out accounting; (2) foreign tax credits; (3) master limited partnerships; and (4) domestic manufacturing deductions).

  117. See id. at 4 (recognizing the Clean Energy for America Act, Financing Our Energy Future Act, and Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act as efforts to retract fossil fuel subsidies); Dernbach, supra note 73, at 335.

  118. Dernbach, supra note 73, at 332.

  119. Id.

  120. See generally id. at 332–33 (advocating for the removal of unnecessary regulatory burdens in various alternative energy sectors that have little to no effect on public health protection).

  121. See id. at 333 (listing “a streamlined patenting program for decarbonization technologies” among a list of new pathways to mitigate barriers in decarbonization).

  122. See Peter Erickson et al., Effect of Subsidies to Fossil Fuel Companies on United States Crude Oil Production, 2 Nature Energy 891, 891 (2017), https://www.eenews.net/assets/2017/10/02/document_gw_01.pdf [https://perma.cc/3RUD-CJXD] (analyzing the effects of subsidies on fossil fuel production).

  123. Id.

  124. Edwardes-Evans & Slawinski, supra note 72 (defining the “profitability gap”); Lauren Anderson, To Decarbonize, Let’s Rethink Permitting for Large Infrastructure Projects, Breakthrough Inst. (Apr. 21, 2020), https://thebreakthrough.org/issues/energy/large-infrastructure [https://perma.cc/67LX-WLCG] (describing renewable projects as “plagued by a burdensome permitting process”).

  125. See Anderson, supra note 124 (stating that a streamlined permitting process makes large-scale projects that benefit from economies of scale more feasible).

  126. Exhibits, United Nations, https://www.un.org/en/exhibits/page/un-remarks-5 [https://perma.cc/US6D-PQ4P] (last visited Sept. 28, 2021).

  127. See id.

  128. See Stuart Elliot, IOCs Committed to Helping Drive Energy Transition; Gas Has Key Role: Industry, S&P Global: Platts (Sept. 7, 2020, 2:17 PM), https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/coal/090720-iocs-committed-to-helping-drive-energy-transition-gas-has-key-role-industry [https://perma.cc/3AWP-5BSJ] (noting IOCs’ role in clean energy projects and hydrocarbon supply).

  129. See Congress and Climate Change, Ctr. for Climate and Energy Sols., https://www.c2es.org/content/congress-and-climate-change/ [https://perma.cc/Z7ER-VQQS] (last visited Jan. 5, 2021) (stating that an effective climate solution is achieved through the legislative process).

  130. See Economics of Climate Change, U.S. Env’t Prot. Agency, https://www.epa.gov/environmental-economics/economics-climate-change [https://perma.cc/5MWG-6DQJ] (last visited Jan. 5, 2021).

  131. Id.

  132. Dernbach, supra note 73, at 332.

  133. See Congress Climate Change, supra note 129 (listing Congress’s major milestones on climate and noting bipartisan efforts to enact climate legislation).

  134. See Brady Dennis, The U.S. Will Soon Rejoin the Paris Climate Accord. Then Comes the Hard Part., Wash. Post (Dec. 22, 2020, 7:00 AM), https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/12/22/biden-paris-climate-accord/ [https://perma.cc/443Q-BFMC] (quoting then-President-elect Joe Biden vowing to rejoin the Paris agreement “on day one”).

  135. Bradbrook, supra note 40, at 20.