international environmental law

Promises to Keep

In the run-up to the Paris talks, the major economies have all pledged carbon reductions.

With Saudia Arabia’s pledge last week to cut emission, all of the world’s major economies are now on board.  In a nutshell, here is what they are promising. Except as noted, the target dates are all 2030.  A number of countries have subsidiary promises in terms of percentage of renewable energy or of bigger cuts premised …


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Ambitious international targets for sustainability

From September 25-27, the UN is hosting the high-level Sustainable Development Summit and, assuming all goes according to plan, adopting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  The result of years of negotiation with dedicated efforts at transparency and inclusion, the SDGs are a big deal in the international development community. They represent ambitious, consensus international targets …


Scholarship Trends in International Environmental Law

What do the numbers show about the trajectory of scholarship in international environmental law?

It can be difficult to identify patterns  in legal scholarship.  One way of doing that is to check on the frequency of key words, using Westlaw or Lexis-Nexis to track the numbers.  There are some interesting patterns in scholarship on international environmental law: The field came into its own in the decade from 1987 and …


John Kerry & Climate Change

Whatever else it might portend, Kerry’s appointment as Secretary of State is certainly good news environmentally.  The New Republic put it well: Kerry, long an advocate for the U.S. to lead on climate change prevention, has compared the threat posed by poor international effort to confront climate change to that of war. In an August …


An Inconvenient Treaty

Should the U.S. join an international treaty to limit carbon emissions?  The little-known answer: we already have.  No, this wasn’t a secret Obama Administration initiative.  The treaty was signed by none other than President George H.W. Bush. The treaty is called the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change or UNFCCC.  The word “framework” can …


Climate Strategies: “One Step at a Time” or “Don’t Jump the Gun”??

In some situations, voluntary efforts leads other people to join in, whereas in others, it encourages them to hold back.  There’s a similar issue about climate mitigation efforts at the national, regional, or state level.  Do these efforts really move the ball forward?  Or are they counterproductive, because other places increase their own carbon emissions …


Rio+20 and Network Governance

Although I was in Rio last week, I was miles away from the actual negotiations, both geographically and metaphorically.  But, as it turned out, the side events were at least as important as the actual negotiations. This is an interesting phenomenon.  Some big international negotiations like WTO meetings attract protesters, but the big environmental negotiations …


Jon Van Dyke (1943-2011)

  Professor Jon Van Dyke of the University of Hawaii’s Richardson Law School died unexpectedly earlier this week.   His work extended across many fields, but most relevantly to this blog, he worked extensively on oceans issues and international environmental law.  He edited five books on these subjects: Consensus and Confrontation: The United States and the …


A New Environmental Journal

Transnational Environmental Law (TEL) is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the study of environmental law and governance beyond the state. It approaches legal and regulatory developments with an interest in the contribution of non-state actors and an awareness of the multi-level governance context in which contemporary environmental law unfolds in a global context.  (Full disclosure: …