San Diego International Law Journal


Rachel Braby

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



The urgency of the climate challenge requires that we address it in every way we can. Yet, current domestic regulations are insufficient to rise to the occasion, and there appears to be no plan geared toward harnessing the power of collective consumer action to supplement government efforts and push industries in the private sector to engage in greener practices. A majority of developed nations have mixed market-driven economies, and in such economies, consumers have immense power to drive change. Paris Agreement nations with mixed market-driven economies should incorporate a strategic plan in their next NDCs that “represent[s] a progression” beyond their 2020 submissions. This plan should harness the power of collective consumer action to engage private sector participation, which has the potential to spur momentum towards meeting the goals outlined in the Agreement.

Part II of this paper will provide background on what greenhouse gases are, the impacts they are having on the environment, where they come from, and the industries that are most responsible for emitting them. Part III will explain the recognized technological and scientific solutions and methods of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. Part IV will discuss the NDCs of the top emitting nations, explain how the current goals fall short of meeting the ultimate goal of the Paris Agreement, and note how the economic frameworks of these nations have the potential to either diminish or exacerbate their ambition and implementation gaps. Part V will then focus specifically on the U.S. NDC submitted by the Biden Administration and explain how the current political and legal framework of the U.S. is hindering the implementation of its nearly sufficient, ambitious goals. Part VI will discuss the general nature of how market-driven economies function and explain how collective consumer action has the potential to force substantial changes in industry practices, thereby demonstrating the importance of incorporating a plan to harness this power into the NDCs of the United States and other top emitting nations. Finally, Part VII will propose a specific method for doing so while discussing the legal and practical viability of that proposal.