The Life-altering Impacts of Climate Change: The Precipitous Decline of the Northeastern Sugar Maple and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative’s Potential Solution

By William S. Eubanks II, Esq..

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper investigates the complex processes of climate change by highlighting the devastating consequences of climatic disturbances on the northeastern sugar maple (acer saccharum) in the United States. The paper then analyzes the economic impact of climate change, as seen through the site-specific case study of the sugar maple, to illustrate the importance of curbing carbon emissions to prevent the extirpation of species integral to their ecosystems and their human counterparts alike. The paper next provides a detailed background on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which is the first regional cap and trade system in the United States, and which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the northeast in lieu of any coherent national climate change legislation. The paper concludes by assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the RGGI as a long-term solution to climate change in the northeastern U.S., and by answering the question of whether this system should serve as a model for future cap and trade systems in the United States and beyond.

Keywords: Climate Change, Ecosystem, Species Extinction, Sugar Maple, Cap and Trade, RGGI, Carbon Emissions

International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.1-14. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 656.226KB).

William S. Eubanks II, Esq.

Associate Attorney, Meyer Glitzenstein & Crystal (Public Interest Environmental Law Firm), Washington, DC, USA

I am an attorney with the nation’s premier public interest environmental law firm, where I litigate a variety of federal lawsuits on behalf of environmental non-profit organizations on issues such as climate change, endangered species protection, air and water pollution, and public lands sustainability. I received my Environmental Law LL.M. (Master of Laws) degree from Vermont Law School, summa cum laude, my J.D. (Bachelor of Laws) degree from North Carolina Central University, School of Law magna cum laude, and my B.A. (Bachelor of Arts) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I have published nearly a dozen scholarly articles related to environmental legal and policy topics in the nation’s top environmental law journals. In the past, I have worked on environmental legal issues at the Conservation Law Foundation and the Southern Environmental Law Center.


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