The design of the Kyoto Protocol renders it incapable of effectively responding to the problem of anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, this article explores the opportunity to construct a new, principled legal approach to respond to climate change that is premised on nationally derived legal responses. To do so, this article considers the theoretical foundation of the international legal response to climate change – Hardin's "The Tragedy of the Commons‟ – and the systemic design faults of the Kyoto Protocol. This article also suggests four principles – a judicious mix of legal instruments, flexibility, intrinsic legal coherence, and quantifiable and achievable targets for the reduction of greenhouse gas intensity – that are necessary to guide the creation of a nationally derived legal response to climate change. This approach is intended to provide the catalyst for new bilateral and multilateral arrangements that can, with the passing of time, generate sufficient momentum to drive the creation of a new and effective cooperative international legal framework to mitigate anthropogenic climate change
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