Beyond Control and Without Fault or Negligence: Why Japan Should Be Excused from Meeting Its Kyoto Protocol Obligations

Regina Durr

Volume 67, Issue 2, 499-530

The purpose of this Note is to show how force majeure can excuse Japan from its reduced CO2 emissions target due under the Kyoto Protocol. The Kyoto Protocol is the first and only binding international agreement to reduce CO2 emissions amongst industrialized and developing countries. This Note draws upon contract principles and data sources, including political news sources and environmental studies, to demonstrate how the elements of a force majeure event were met in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011 that led to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster. Through showing how far-reaching simultaneous acts of God can be, this research highlights the importance of a holistic approach in shaping the enforcement of an international agreement like the Kyoto Protocol.

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