Climate change management involves strategies that mitigate its causes and adapt human communities to its consequences. This article describes a legal strategy that does both: a national biological sequestration policy. This policy will increase the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that biological sequestration currently removes from the atmosphere and will enable human settlements to adapt to the harsh effects of a changing climate, while realizing a number of other objectives that preserved open space preservation achieves. The article sketches the influences of international and national climate change law, which largely ignore the benefits of biological sequestration on privately owned land in developed countries. It then turns to an analysis of climate change and its consequences before exploring how mitigation and adaptation can be accomplished by preserving and enhancing the natural landscape in both rural and urban areas. Open Space Law presents policy makers with readily available tools to protect the sequestering environment: the natural and man-made landscapes that capture and store carbon organically and provide ecosystem resiliency. This body of law has emerged spontaneously over the past few decades, responding to countless local perturbations, largely unaided by cogent federal strategies. The local and state initiatives that have evolved to preserve and enhance open space provide the basis for a broader sequestration policy, one that builds on available legal technology and existing norms to respond to the looming global perturbation of climate change.
John R. Nolon, Managing Climate Change through Biological Sequestration: Open Space Law Redux, 31 Stan. Envtl. L. Rev. 195 (2012).