International Environmental Law

COPs as Three-Ring Circus

Reflections on Glasgow a few weeks later

It is often hard to make sense of what happens at the annual climate meetings, and easy to get cynical. For two or three weeks, climate politics gets intense worldwide news coverage. Acute pressure mounts over the two weeks to get some announcable achievement, which almost always happens after all-night negotiations on the final day. …

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Guest Contributor Sharaban Tahura Zaman: COP26 outcome on Carbon Markets: Takeaways for the Global South

SEC Armadillo, Glasgow

Where is the Global South heading with carbon market mechanisms in the coming decade?

As a government delegate, I have been involved in the UN climate negotiation process since 2017 to uphold Bangladesh’s and the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Group’s position. After an unsuccessful COP in Madrid (2019), as a Bangladeshi citizen (a country often referred to as “ground zero” for its climate vulnerability) I had to wait another …

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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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Climate Change in the Law School Curriculum

What role will the subject play in the curriculum of the future?

Someone asked me recently what I thought law schools should be teaching about climate change.  Naturally, my first reaction is that everyone everywhere needs to put climate change at the top of their agenda. As usually happens, when I got past that gut reaction, things got more complicated. There are many important societal issues that …

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The Fuss about Methane

Part 1: Science and weird facts

Methane is getting a lot of attention in climate debates. There was even a “Methane Day” last Tuesday at the climate conference in Glasgow. Several new regulations controlling methane emissions have been adopted recently, including two new rules for the US oil and gas sector announced last week. There’s a new informal international agreement to …

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What do U.S. states do at a COP, anyway?

Newsom’s out, but California and other states continue with robust delegations headed to Scotland

You’ve likely heard that the big annual United Nations climate conference is about to get underway in Glasgow, with nations around the world gathering together to try to advance international climate cooperation.  But it’s not just national representatives who will attend; many subnational jurisdictions, including California and other U.S. states, also send  significant delegations.  Although …

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Show Time: Stark message from the International Energy Agency

As the 26th Climate Conference (COP26) approaches, there is lots of discussion of the recent IPCC report. There will be a flood of other climate reports landing over the next couple of weeks, from international agencies, environmental groups, industry associations, and many others, all timed for maximum attention at the COP. But for a concrete …

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Climate and Colonialism: Some Columbus Day Thoughts

Is climate change itself a form of colonialism?

“In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” That’s what we learned in my grade school. Today, Columbus Day remains a day of celebration for some but has become a symbols of colonialism for others. Rather than entering that debate, I’d like to reflect on how issues of colonialism might relate to climate change. The study …

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Africa in 2050

The continent will face vast challenges. Dealing with them is a global priority.

Take explosive population growth, acute vulnerability to future climate change, and social vulnerability.  Stir well and bake. That’s a recipe for trouble. It’s also Africa in 2050. Overcoming the resulting problems is among humanity’s greatest challenges. Currently, 490 million Africans live below the extreme poverty level ($2/day per person). The number is rising but the …

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What if someone just does it?

A scenario exercise on unauthorized use of solar geoengineering

Note: This post is co-authored with Jesse L. Reynolds, who recently completed an Emmett Institute Geoengineering Governance Fellowship As the climate crisis grows more urgent, unconventional technological responses are getting increased attention and controversy. We’ve written previously on Legal Planet about these technologies and their promise and risks. The most high-stakes and controversial of these …

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