ELI Primary Menu

Skip to main content

Vibrant Environment

The Paris Agreement, Climate Engineering, and an Uncertain Future

Monday, December 30, 2019

In early December, delegates from around the world convened in Madrid for the 25th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 25). They celebrated the 2nd meeting of the parties to the Paris Agreement, aiming to complete the Paris Agreement rulebook.

Building on the Past to Secure the Future

By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Monday, December 23, 2019

The Environmental Law Institute’s 50th anniversary on December 22 occured during a record-breaking year in terms of the sheer number of ELI educational and convening programs, which have been organized around the themes that continue to animate the work of environmental protection after half a century.

Sinking Politics and Climate Migrants: Legal Opportunities for the United States (Part 2)

By Jessica Oo, Research & Publications Intern
Wednesday, December 18, 2019

In the past, some domestic and international attempts to alleviate the burdens of migrant populations and establish legal protections for them have been implemented, but many of these protections are not specific enough and lack legally binding measures adequate to ensure that peoples displaced by weather-related disasters are protected on a global scale. International norms are important, as they can at least symbolically set a standard that national governments can follow.

Wildfire Liability, Environmental Justice, and Climate Change

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

As climate change worsens, so does the risk of wildfires. This is especially so in the western United States, as seen all too well in California in recent weeks. Adding fuel to the fire are the increasing number of homes built near areas prone to wildfires, the wildland-urban interface (WUI), which increases the risk to people and their homes, makes wildfires harder to control, and prohibits fires from being allowed to burn naturally.

Typhoon Hagibis and the Future of Japan’s Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation Strategy

By Anna Beeman, Research Associate
Monday, November 11, 2019

Japan has been no stranger to large environmental and natural disasters over the last decade: the country has experienced several typhoons with flooding, earthquakes, heat waves, as well as the infamous Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011. In September, Typhoon Faxai hit Tokyo and Chiba prefecture; its strong winds and rains halted train service, damaged buildings, and took down power lines. It left three dead and dozens injured. Only a few weeks later, Typhoon Hagibis tore through the Kanto and Tohoku regions. The typhoon was so strong that three days after reaching Japan, the National Weather Service in Anchorage, Alaska, reported remnants of the typhoon had reached the other side of the Pacific. 

Business Intelligence Within the U.S. Coal Combustion Residuals Market, Part 1

By Mark Rokoff, AECOM Senior Vice President of Environment, John Priebe, AECOM Co-Leader of CCR Management Practice, and Dave Cox, FirmoGraphs Founder
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Although it may not be a trending cocktail party topic, coal ash compliance activities are certainly well-known in the legal and environmental risk management community. Billions of dollars are at stake for the owners and operators of coal power plants impacted by the 2015 Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals (CCR) rule.

Educating Judges for the Climate Litigation of Today and Tomorrow

By Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Some months back, I received a visit from two leaders in the climate science and sustainable energy arena: the former president of Climate Central, Paul Hanle, and David van Hoogstraten, who had just left his position as director of federal environmental regulatory affairs at BP America.

Wetlands Then and Now: Nominations for the 31st National Wetlands Awards Now Open

By Dominic Scicchitano, Research Associate
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

During the 19th century’s period of rapid population growth, America’s wetlands were largely considered to be an eyesore and an obstacle to development. These were bodies of water that needed to be drained in order to make way for agriculture, buildings, and major roadways. The successive Swamp Land Acts of 1849, 1850, and 1860 turned titles of federally owned swamp and “overflowed” land over to states, who in turn agreed to drain the land to make it fit for cultivation.

Juliana Studies Abroad: Lessons From Global Climate Change Litigation

By Kieran Minor, Research & Publications Intern
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Greta Thunberg’s arrival in New York last month was highly publicized. So was her choice to travel via a “zero-emissions” yacht and her speech before the U.N. General Assembly. What many missed was that she also filed a complaint against five countries over their climate negligence during her visit. But before Greta, there was (is) Juliana (well, Kelsea). Kelsea Cascadia Rose Juliana is the leading plaintiff in Juliana v. United States, otherwise known as the Youth Climate Case. Supported by the nonprofit organization Our Children’s Trust, Juliana and 20 other youth plaintiffs sued the U.S. government in 2015 over its lack of action to combat climate change. Greta and Juliana’s cases are among a small but growing docket of climate-related litigation around the globe, cases that may become the Marbury v. Madison of climate case law.

A Tax by Another Name? EPA’s Existing Authority to Impose a Carbon User Fee

Monday, October 7, 2019

A number of bills have been introduced in recent years to price greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via a federal carbon tax. These proposals proceed from the implicit assumption that the federal government in general, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in particular, does not already have such authority. But this assumption, according to former EPA Assistant Administrator and General Counsel E. Donald Elliott, is incorrect.