Designing Legal Pathways to a Zero-Carbon Society: Backcasting from 2 Degrees
What greenhouse gas emission reductions are needed today to successfully limit global warming to 2°C? How about the reductions needed in 2025 or in 2050? Research from Widener University looks at legal pathways to achieving a zero-carbon future in the context of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment and the Paris Agreement. Using examples of legal mechanisms to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the United States and China, this white paper explains the practice of “backcasting” as a way to evaluate emissions policies against an objective standard. By starting from the perspective of a hard limitation on average global temperature rise at 2°C, researchers and policy makers can then backcast a path for the emission reductions—and the laws and regulations that make these reductions possible—needed to achieve this limit.