International Environmental Law

Here’s a New Acronym: CBAM. You’re Going to be Seeing It a Lot.

European Union flag

The EU has taken a major step to pressure global industries to clean up their act.

In December, the EU provisionally adopted a carbon tariff on imports. The official name is the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, or CBAM for short. The purpose of the mechanism is that EU companies, unlike many in other countries, have to pay a price for the carbon emitted in manufacturing. They need a border adjustment to …

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A Dangerous Disruption

A startup firm proposes to sell dubious carbon credits from stratospheric aerosol injection

Last week, MIT’s “Technology Review” reported that a small startup firm is proposing to spray reflective aerosols in the stratosphere commercially as a climate corrective. (Stratospheric Aerosol Injection or SAI.) Previously announced online in the Google Geoengineering Group, the firm is small and new, operating with a claimed total of $750K of venture financing. They …

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Loss and Damage

A deeper dive into the top issue at COP27

As I noted in my last post, this year’s conference of the parties to the climate treaties (COP27) became pretty much a single-issue conference, focused on adaptation and the associated needs for finance – in particular on the urgent need for financial assistance to support adaptation in the Global South, and the lamentable record of …

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Guest Contributor Laurel Hunt: Egypt’s Corals Get a Seat at the Table at COP27

Derek Keats, Diver, bubbles and wall at Elphinstone Reef, Red Sea, Egypt https://www.flickr.com/photos/dkeats/6186078630/

The region’s coral reefs are a precious resource under threat, but they also exhibit exceptional thermal tolerance to heat stress

Laurel Hunt (UCLA JD ’23) attended COP27 as a member of the UCLA Emmett Institute delegation. This is her fifth UN Climate meeting. This year, she moderated two panels on coral reefs and risk mapping. She is the former Executive Director of Los Angeles’ regional climate collaborative and an international city-to-city climate network. As global climate leaders edged toward …

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The Sleepwalking COP

Thoughts on COP27, this year’s climate conference

It’s two weeks since the end of this year’s annual Conference of the Parties to the international climate treaties, COP27, held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. You might have noticed an odd vagueness in accounts of this year’s COP.  These annual meetings are huge media events — understandably, since they are the highest-level international event on …

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Should China Pay Climate Reparations?

‘Yes’ under some reparation theories, ‘no’ under others.

At the international negotiating session in Egypt, demands for climate reparations — “Loss and Damage” in UN lingo — were front and center. The debate was focused on the obligations of developed countries. But there was another issue percolating in the background: Does China, the world’s largest carbon emitter, have an obligation to compensate poorer …

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Subnational Solutions to Deforestation on Display at COP27

A recap of Sharm el-Sheikh from the Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force

The Governors’ Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF Task Force) participated in the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt during the second week of the conference (November 14-18, 2022). There were high-level talks, bilateral partnership discussions, celebrations, and re-engagement with the Brazilian President-elect Luiz Inácio …

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Guest Contributor Veronika Bagi: Loss and Damage Finance Now! Or Not?

A view from inside the COP27 loss and damage negotiations

Veronika Bagi (UCLA LLM ’23) attended COP27 as a member of the UCLA Emmett Institute delegation and as an Expert Member of the Hungarian delegation. She writes here in her personal capacity.  The 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, ended last Sunday, …

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Wildfires and the Grid

Wildfires are huge problem in California. Maybe we can learn from those on the other end of the Pacific.

California and Australia are 8000 miles apart, but it turns out they have similar wildfire problems.  And in both cases, the electric grid and climate change are part of the equation.  The problems in California and the rest of the West are familiar to many readers. Though they don’t necessarily get much attention in the …

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The Supreme Court’s Earliest Pollution Cases

Long before Congress, a notoriously conservative Court started taking pollution seriously.

Well over a century ago, the Supreme Court ruled that it had that power to remedy interstate water pollution. That was in 1901. Six years later, the Court decided its first air pollution case.  Notably, these cases came during the conservative Lochner era when the Court was hardly known for its liberalism.  Quite the contrary. …

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