By evaluating the use of climate shaming as a regulatory tactic, CSSN Scholar Sharon Yadin explores the ways this tool can be used to fight climate denialism and greenwashing caused by ecologically destructive industries.
The Article examines the rationales and justifications for regulatory climate shaming—a nascent approach involving the governmental publication of information regarding corporate contribution to climate change, with the aim of generating public pressure on companies to comply with climate change norms. Regulatory climate shaming is employed by national and subnational regulators in and outside the US via tools such as naming-and-shaming lists and rankings, environmental databases, climate labels, and corporate disclosure obligations. Generally, regulation by shaming is considered controversial, as it involves public condemnation and targets corporate reputation. However, the Article’s main argument is that regulatory climate shaming is an important tool that can and should be utilized by regulators not only for inducing compliance but also for fighting crucial meta-regulation problems like corporate climate obstruction. Building on regulatory shaming theory and climate obstruction scholarship, the Article offers a normative theory of regulatory climate shaming and discusses the ways in which shaming can fight climate denial, climate washing and other climate obstruction practices employed by the fossil fuel industry and other industries.