international environmental law
The year-end law gives a boost to climate-related spending
The omnibus spending bill is by no means a “climate law.” Because it spans the entire government, though, it has many provisions relating to climate change. They aren’t dramatic step forward. But the fact that they can pass as part of a bipartisan spending law is a sign of how climate change is slowly becoming …CONTINUE READING
What’s Happening in the World’s Second Largest Country?
India is home to 1.39 billion people, just below China but growing faster. By some projections, it will have the second largest economy in the world by 2050. In terms of climate policy, however, it doesn’t get nearly as much attention as China. That’s understandable in terms of India’s current carbon emissions, which are now …CONTINUE READING
As in the U.S., it’s not all about the national government. Not by any means.
Last week, I posted about the British government’s climate policy. In sharp contrast with their American counterparts, British conservatives remain firmly behind the Paris Agreement and supportive of cap-and-trade. In another respect, though, there’s more similarity: in both countries, subnational governments play a key role in climate policy. Here’s what’s happening across Great Britain. Regional …CONTINUE READING
The environment is also a victim of the Russian invasion — perhaps to the point of being a war crime.
Memorial Day began as a day to commemorate the Civil War dead, then became a day to commemorate the dead from many wars. But war’s toll goes beyond direct harm to humans. The environment also suffers. On top of its human tragedies, the Russian invasion of Ukraine is also wreaking environmental havoc. One source of …CONTINUE READING
Courts in other Western countries are stepping up to the climate challenge.
The atmosphere for climate litigation in our Supreme Court is decidedly chilly. Some of its peers in other countries have taken a much different approach. US lawyers tend to be inward focused, adept at understanding our own legal system but largely unaware of developments elsewhere. Here, I want to briefly summarize some key rulings. Germany. …CONTINUE READING
Last week featured some remarkable developments relating to climate policy.
Some events last week sent a strong signal that the tide is turning against fossil fuels. Each of the events standing alone would have been noteworthy. The clustering of these events dramatizes an important shift. To paraphrase Churchill, this may not be beginning of the end for fossil fuels, but at least it is the …CONTINUE READING
A lot will need to be done to undo Trump’s harm to global cooperation. Here’s a start.
Trump’s hostility domestic environmental regulation is notorious. He also stalled or backpedaled on the international front. Here are seven steps that President Biden could take to remedy the situation. Rejoin the Paris Agreement. The U.S. needs to immediately rejoin the Paris Agreement. It also needs to update its climate target, because we can do a …CONTINUE READING
Two very distinct areas of international law are finding more and more in common.
International climate negotiations may seem to have little to do with the work of such international relief organizations as the Red Cross. On the national level, EPA and FEMA are two very different agencies that historically have had little connection. The same has been true at the international level. But disaster and climate authorities are …CONTINUE READING
Or in more technical terms, the Tragedy of the Commons? Or its inverse?
Lord of the Flies is a memorable novel about a group of English schoolboys who are marooned on a desert island. They quickly descend into savagery and violence. The book can be seen as a parable of the philosopher Thomas Hobbes’s view that human life in a state of nature is short, nasty, and brutish. But …CONTINUE READING
What duties do countries have to avoid causing global harms?
There’s been talk lately of demanding compensation if a country’s negligence allowed a disease to spread globally. There is a long history of discussion regarding similar damage claims in international environmental law. The same principles seem applicable to disease spread. In theory, damages should be available in both cases. The core principle of international liability …CONTINUE READING