International Environmental Law
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 …CONTINUE READING
Trump has had a single-minded focus on eliminating any traces of Obama’s presidency. But it’s not too late to turn the tide.
We’ve now had nearly four years of Trump’s all-out war on environmental protection. Trump has single-mindedly tried to wipe out every trace of Obama’s legacy. It’s time to see what’s left of Obama’s achievements. And what could a new President do to revive his legacy? In a Legal Planet post a week before the last …CONTINUE READING
Why Celebrating Environmental Values & Goals Is Now More Important Than Ever
Today marks the 50th anniversary of America’s first Earth Day. Beginning on April 22, 1970, the United States and global community have rallied each year to celebrate environmental values and goals. It seems especially important to commemorate and continue that tradition in the midst of the current coronavirus pandemic. The first Earth Day was a …CONTINUE READING
New CLEE and NRGI “FAQ” released today addresses common misconceptions
Co-authored with Ted Lamm and Patrick Heller (advisor at the Natural Resource Governance Institute and a senior visiting fellow at CLEE) The global transition from fossil fuel-powered vehicles to electric vehicles (EVs) will require the production of hundreds of millions of batteries. The need for such a massive deployment raises questions from the general public …CONTINUE READING
What would it do in terms of emissions targets and likely actual mitigation?
The European Union is, if one treats it as a country, the world’s third greatest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs). It has also been a leader in emissions reduction (“mitigation”), and its per capita emissions are merely 43% of the US’s. The EU government is presently considering a major new climate law that will set …CONTINUE READING
Although reducing emissions remains essential, it is time to focus on additional responses
Last month, representatives of all countries gathered for their annual meeting to prevent climate change. Despite the motto “Time for Action,” the New York Times described it as “one of the worst outcomes in a quarter-century of climate negotiations.” Should we be surprised? Disappointed? Despairing? I believe that insufficient cuts in greenhouse gas emissions — …CONTINUE READING
Conditions in Australia keep getting worse. The government offers platitudes.
Australia is remarkably exposed to climate change and remarkably unwilling to do much about it. Conditions keep getting worse. Yet climate policy in Australia has been treading water or backpedalling for years, as I discussed in an earlier post. Let’s start with the temperature. The Guardian reports that in the year up to July 2019, …CONTINUE READING
However, today’s ruling will likely have little direct impact
Today the Netherlands’ supreme court sided with an environmental organization and ruled that the Dutch government has an obligation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more aggressively. This is being widely praised by environmentalists and others concerned about climate change. However, this historic ruling will likely have little impact on actual emissions, at least directly. At …CONTINUE READING
As international climate action falters, the two climate leaders can fill the void
Note: this post is co-authored with Fan Dai, director of the University of California’s California-China Climate Institute. With the high-profile failure of last week’s UN climate conference in Madrid, the focus of international action on climate change will need to shift to political leaders of key global economies. We attended the conference in Madrid on …CONTINUE READING
The Support of Toyota and Other Manufacturers for the Trump Administration’s Policy Rollbacks Shows the Need to Confront Corporate Decisionmaking on Energy and Climate
As Cara Horowitz and Idalmis Vaquero discussed in their blog posts, the true highlight of COP 25 has been the numerous youth and indigenous interventions, actions, and disruptions. After spending four days at the COP, I came away from the events surprised by the level of corporate visibility and greenwashing in the side events, but …CONTINUE READING