International Environmental Law

The Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Managing Climate Change in the Anthropocene

The Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Managing Climate Change in the Anthropocene

My book is now available!

I interrupt my ongoing blog series on new biotechnologies and their governance (1, 2, 3) to announce that my book The Governance of Solar Geoengineering Managing: Climate Change in the Anthropocene is available today from Cambridge University Press. The brief description is: Climate change is among the world’s most important problems, and solutions based on […]

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Genetically Modifying Wild Populations

Gene drive inheritance. Image from the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The third in a series examines powerful new gene drive tools

In my previous two posts, I introduced what I call first, second, and third generation genetically modified organisms: (1) GM bacteria for diverse, mostly indoor purposes; (2) GM crops and agricultural animals; and (3) GMOs that would be intentionally placed into natural environments, where they would live, reproduce, and transmit their modified genes to offspring. […]

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In Defense of Live Carbon

Why Stopping Deforestation May be the Hardest and Most Important Part of the Climate Change Challenge

When contemplating the enormous challenge of global climate change, it is sometimes helpful to think about a simple model of the global carbon budget (see figure below).  These admittedly reductionist schematics distinguish between sources, sinks, and reservoirs.  Fossil hydrocarbons from the geological reservoir–call this dead carbon—are extracted and burned to generate energy, emitting vast amounts […]

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Could Genetically Modified Organisms Help Conserve Biodiversity?

Oxitec GM mosquitoes are released in the Cayman Islands. Photo by Taneos Ramsay of the Cayman Compass.

The second in a series examines GMOs intentionally released into the wild

Last week, I introduced what I call “first generation” genetically modified organisms (GMOs) – altered bacteria for diverse, mostly indoor purposes – and “second generation” ones – GM crops and agricultural animals. Here, I describe third generation GMOs, which are those that would be intentionally placed into natural environments, where they would live, reproduce, and […]

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Genetically Modified Organisms Return to the International Policy Agenda

March Against Monsanto, Vancouver, May 25, 2013. Photo by Rosalee Yagihara, CC BY 2.0

This first in a series begins by looking back at GMOs and environmental law

Although the big news in international biodiversity this week was the release of the summary of the first global assessment from a relatively new UN-affiliated body, the topic of another report warrants attention as well. Yesterday the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) published its findings on “the potential positive and negative impacts of synthetic […]

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From Brussels to the Bay: Sustainable Finance in the EU & California

Berkeley Law Conference on Thursday, May 23rd, with State Controller Betty Yee, European Commission Director Mario Nava & CLEE’s Dave Jones

Join Berkeley Law’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment (CLEE) and the European Union for a roundtable discussion on regulatory developments in sustainable finance and responsible investment. Hear from European Commission Director Mario Nava, of DG FISMA (the European Commission department responsible for EU policy on banking and financial services) on the state of […]

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International Conference On Electric Vehicles & Urban Residents

Register Today For UC Berkeley Law Event On June 4th & 5th, Co-Organized By University of Paris

Policy makers and industry leaders have a tough challenge making electric vehicles accessible for the world’s urban residents. Many apartment dwellers lack access to dedicated spots with electricity to charge the vehicles, while other city residents may need access to shared EVs to get around city streets. Unless EV leaders can solve these challenges, global […]

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Governing Geoengineering at the United Nations? No, at Least Not Now

UN Environment Assembly

A proposed resolution falters at the UN Environment Assembly

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 […]

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Bottoms-Up! An Emerging New Governance System (4)

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 […]

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China in the Global Environment — Q&A with Isabel Hilton, Founder and CEO of chinadialogue.net

Isabel Hilton UCLA Law event

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 […]

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