At this week’s UN Environment Assembly, countries’ representatives debated a draft resolution regarding climate geoengineering. Unable to come to agreement, it was withdrawn Wednesday. This is not surprising to me, as — for the most part — leaders presently lack political incentives to take action. I am also not particularly disappointed, because a counter-productive resolution seemed fairly […]
International Environmental Law
We can think of the energy system as a kind of ecosystem, and renewables as an invasive species.
As I’ve discussed the earlier three posts in this series, it is possible to imagine a cycle of positive feedback, in which the history of past climate efforts increases the likelihood of future ones and even draws more jurisdictions into the effort. But it is also possible to imagine that bottom-up efforts might not catch […]
Isabel Hilton is a leading journalist whose current work spotlights the impact of China’s growing economy on people and the environment. Her work has appeared in the Financial Times, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, the New Yorker, and many other publications. In 2006, Hilton launched chinadialogue.net, a groundbreaking website that publishes reporting and analysis […]
Bottom-up appraches aren’t just fallbacks when top-down fails. They have their own strengths.
There are some obvious advantages to top-down climate police, whereby a uniform global climate policy is adopted at the global level and then seamlessly implemented by nations, or whereby a similar process takes place at the national level. Of course, this top-down model requires first global agreement on a uniform policy and then effective […]
In the past twenty years, climate policy has taken an unexpected form. Here’s what to expect.
There’s been a major change in the way environmental governance works, which is most obvious in terms of climate policy. We initially expected climate policy to be set at the international level, followed by incorporation into national legislation, and implementation by agencies and lower levels of government like states. But this top-down governance scheme isn’t […]
The potential of a proposed Global Pact for the Environment remains uncertain
The 1990s were the heyday of international environmental lawmaking. The 1992 United Nations “Rio Conference” on Environment and Development catalyzed the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention on Biological Diversity, and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. The decade also witnessed the launch of the Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent as well as protocols […]
Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity reject a moratorium-like decision
The recent news in international environmental negotiations has been dominated by this month’s Conference of Parties (COP) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. (See UCLA’s Ted Parson setting the stage, the New York Times article, and Carbon Brief’s detailed report.) The recent COP of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) flew somewhat under the […]
Much at Stake in COP-24, Including Negotiation of Paris Rulebook to Implement 2015 Commitments
This week and next, negotiators are meeting in Poland for the big annual international climate-change meeting. This meeting, formally, is the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the 1992 treaty that provides the foundation for all official international action on climate change, and informally is called “COP-24.” It […]
While we’ve been obsessing about Trump, India has made great strides in renewable energy.
We get so focused on the problems in our own country that it’s easy to lose track of what’s happening globally. It turns out that while we’ve been mired in our own travails, India has been making remarkableprogress on renewable energy. What happens in India has tremendous significance. It is now the most populous country […]
Solar geoengineering is often inaccurately portrayed in the media
If you had followed the climate change news over the weekend, you might have been shocked to see headlines such as “Scientists Prescribe a Healthy Dose of Sulphate Particles to Promote Global Cooling on the Cheap.” CNN tweeted that “Harvard and Yale scientists are proposing that we tackle climate change by dimming the sun.” And […]