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Abstract

This Essay responds to an article by Jonathan Zasloff previously published in the UCLA Law Review in which he suggests that plaintiffs filing nuisance actions to address climate change should seek damages rather than injunctive relief and calculate damages based on a carbon tax. This Essay argues that, because a carbon tax is an estimate of the global damages resulting from greenhouse gas emissions, Zasloff’s proposal will result in overcompensating U.S. plaintiffs to the potential detriment of persons in other countries whose claim to damages from U.S. defendant-emitters is arguably stronger than that of U.S. plaintiffs. While contending that climate damages are best left to an international institution capable of adjudicating the global population’s competing claims to climate damages, this Essay argues that a carbon tax could supply courts with the missing metric for determining the appropriate level of emissions abatement required for defendants.

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