Climate change is one of the largest environmental problems the world is currently facing. At the forefront of the climate change issue is the problem of carbon emissions. Environmentalists were hopeful that a national regulatory structure would be created with the enactment of the Clean Air Act in the 1970s. Since its enactment, however, it is clear the Clean Air Act was not the solution to the national carbon emissions problem environmentalists were hoping for. With the federal government failing to act, states have taken it upon themselves to regulate carbon emissions. California, with its enactment of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard, has taken important steps to reduce carbon emissions through the regulation of carbon production in the creation of alternative fuels. But regulation of an interstate problem raises certain constitutional issues, namely the dormant Commerce Clause. The dormant Commerce Clause is the inverse of the Commerce Clause found in Article I, Section 8, clause 3 of the United States Constitution, which gives Congress the power to regulate commerce among the several states. Inversely, the dormant Commerce Clause prohibits a state from regulating commerce that extends beyond its borders. The United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that California’s Fuel Standard did not violate the dormant Commerce Clause. This Note analyzes the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard and the ruling of the Ninth Circuit. Based on this analysis, this Note explains what will and will not work when drafting emissions regulations after the Ninth Circuit’s decision. Finally, this Note makes recommendations to state legislatures attempting to draft carbon emissions regulations. These recommendations will hopefully aid states in drafting legislation that will avoid dormant Commerce Clause violations.



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