With the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) focused on pledges reducing carbon emissions 2030 and beyond, the urgency to cut emission now seems overlooked. Unfortunately, the 2020s are ground zero in our uphill battle to thwart the rise in global warming, soon enough for those pledges to be meaningful. As global warming already exceeds 1°C of the 1.5°C targeted and continues to climb, we must slow emissions growth within this decade for a reasonable chance of future success.
In 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity and 350.org submitted a citizen petition calling on EPA to institute a national ambient air quality standard (NAAQS) for greenhouse gas emissions. Twelve years later, in January 2021, Administrator Andrew Wheeler issued a letter denying the petition.
How prepared is the United States to adapt to climate change? To answer this question, on a recent People Places Planet Podcast episode, “Is the U.S. Government Ready for the Climate Crisis? Examining Federal, State, and Local Climate Adaptation,” Staff Attorney Cynthia Harris spoke with three climate experts: Dr.
Ecuador is undoubtedly one of the most megadiverse countries in the world. It currently has 18,439,141.75 hectares of protected areas, which means that 13.7% of its territory is under special protection. Without underestimating the rest of the ecosystems and habitats that make up this small piece of land located in the middle of the world, the Galapagos Islands usually take the limelight. The Galapagos Islands have been declared a natural world heritage and are the reference by which many foreigners identify the country.
In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications have rapidly become more sophisticated and widespread, “even as legal and regulatory frameworks struggle to keep up.” Moreover, AI’s often-overlooked environmental implications are simultaneously “sweeping and quite complicated,” and for all of its promise to help improve the environment, AI could in fact cause environmental harm. With those framing remarks, Andrew Tutt, a Senior Associate with the law firm Arnold & Porter, opened a February 18 webinar on “Environmental Applications & Implications of Artificial Intelligence,” the third in ELI’s GreenTech series running through 2021.
A recent study by Eric Martinez and Christoph Winter surveyed over 500 legal academics regarding how and to what degree the law can protect future generations. Here, I discuss some of the authors’ findings and the implications for using law to take action against climate change.
The survey asked legal academics for their views on legal protection of future generations and other groups, which groups could be granted legal standing, the ability of law to influence the long-term future, and specific areas of law and sources of risk. Climate change and environmental law were featured in several questions, as both are commonly associated with future generations and the long-term future. This can be seen, for example, in the rise of environmental constitutionalism, scholarship on representing future people in climate governance and intergenerational justice, as well as a rapid increase in climate litigation, with global cases nearly doubling from 2017 to 2020.
“The United States has a very effective liability management policy and legal framework, but that same framework has some unintended consequences for the circular economy,” including risk aversion that can create barriers to circular economy businesses, said John Lovenburg, Vice President of Environment at BNSF Railway, in his opening remarks as moderator of ELI’s fourth GreenTech webinar March 24, 2021, on “The Emerging Circular Economy.”
One voter in seven believes that Hillary Clinton is running a cabal of satan-worshipping cannibalistic pedophiles. A member of Congress charges that last year’s wildfires in the western states were caused by Jewish space lasers. A U.S. senator insists that China aims to breed a race of super soldiers by harvesting visiting athletes’ DNA when it hosts the winter Olympics in 2022. The Ohio legislature recently heard testimony alleging that the Covid vaccines are magnetizing people. According to a 2012 survey, one in four members of the U.S. public does not know the Earth orbits the Sun. A poll by the Associated Press in 2014 found that four in ten Americans dispute evolution and half do not believe the Big Bang theory.
This summer, the Miami-Dade County’s Office of Resilience conducted a series of workshops inviting the community’s input into the drafting of the county’s climate action strategy plan. These workshops were held to offer community members the opportunity to comment on local policy measures as well as shape the direction of current and future policymaking by offering suggestions and ideas. Rather than simply checking off boxes for expectations of citizen engagement by local government, the stated goal of these workshops is to produce an accessible avenue for community members from all identities, especially those that have historically faced discrimination, to take the lead on local climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. In accomplishing this goal, language accessibility is a key consideration to ensure effective citizen engagement and maximized impact.