international environmental law

Climate Policy in India

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 …

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Subnational Climate Action in the UK

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 …

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War and the Environment: Ukraine in 2022

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 …

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Bold Climate Rulings Beyond Our Borders

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. …

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The Turning Tide

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 …

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Next Steps to Save the Global Environment

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 …

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The Global Convergence of Disaster Law and Climate Law

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 …

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Planet Earth as Desert Island: “Lord of the Flies” or “Gilligan’s Island”?

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 …

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International Liability for Harm: Epidemics and Pollution

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 …

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Things to Be Thankful For

Despite the Trump Administration’s efforts, there are rays of hope.

Three years into the Trump Administration, we’re now accustomed to waking up every morning to learn about a new attack on the environment.  But there are also some things to be thankful for. Here’s how I started a similar post in 2017, just a year after the 2016 election: “Overall, it’s been a pretty lousy …

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