Research and practice of what we call environmental law reveals that it is too narrow in several important respects to add the kind of value to society it can and should offer. First, environmental law too often emphasizes public governance interventions (e.g., laws and regulations) without addressing additional and important pollution reducing opportunities that lay with private environmental governance (e.g., private certifications, for-benefit enterprises, etc.). To be sure, public governance is and always will be critical to limiting pollution and its consequences to human health and the environment. Yet, unless and until the legal profession and society at large find better ways for individuals and organizations to create, improve, and consistently maintain stronger private standards of performance, reliance on public governance mechanisms alone will likely be insufficient to avoid the worst pollution consequences, especially as it relates to mitigating the climate crisis.
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