Federal, state and local governments have increasingly proposed legislation and regulations to address the slow warming of the Earth’s atmosphere, specifically by attempting to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. These gases are created by burning fuels and are emitted by power plants, motor vehicles, motorized equipment, and heating and cooling devices. This new emphasis has resulted in funding for the development of transit over expanded roadways, proposals for higher density development, restricting development in exurban areas, and revising existing land use, building and zoning codes, all presumably to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A number of environmental groups, claiming they are being injured by the effects of climate change (e.g., sea level rise, crop production, storm intensity, etc.) are using the legal system to bring suit against industries that emit them. In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has begun considering whether and how to regulate greenhouse gases under current environmental laws including the Clean Air Act and Endangered Species Act.
Why It Matters
Climate change regulations have the potential not only to exacerbate the challenges home builders already face but can also change where and how communities grow. NAHB's climate change policy calls on the administration to refrain from using existing statutes to regulate climate change emissions, because of the unintended consequences that are likely to result from trying to make it fit this new issue, including the imposition of onerous permitting requirements for many builders and developers.