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Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

Two perceptions, right or wrong, of international law illegality on the part of the United States have arisen in the last few years with regard to both the use of military force in Iraq and to global warming. The first perception is that the United States invaded Iraq illegally to secure a significant source of foreign oil. The second perception is that the United States ignores the letter and spirit of the evolving international climate change regime to reduce greenhouse gas ("GHG") emissions.

Both perceptions of international law illegality directly reflect the domestic growth energy policy of the United States that is anchored by a present and future reliance almost exclusively on fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas), which both emit GHG and contribute to the dependence of the United States on foreign oil.' Those perceptions of illegality could be fully cured by an aggressive use of existing domestic law to revive the nuclear power industry in the United States to replace its fossil fuelbased electric supply. This would put the United States in compliance with the climate change regime (whether or not it ever participates in it) and would help both to greatly reduce the dependence of the United States on foreign oil as a factual matter and to eliminate the perception that it uses force to secure foreign oil sources as a policy matter. In turn, the benefits of removing perceptions of international law illegality ought to play a significant and positive role in weighing the benefits and costs of future domestic nuclear energy production.

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