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Vibrant Environment

Maps Show Grim Future for Nation

Global Warming Predictions
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

After the revelation that July and August tied as the warmest months ever recorded in human times, the discovery of a potentially habitable planet circling a red dwarf star that is part of the nearby Alpha Centauri system was welcome news. Proxima Centauri b is the closest Earth-like planet beyond the solar system, 4.3 light years away. By the year 2500, when a new study predicts almost 50 feet of sea-level rise — which would wipe out the homes of billions, erasing whole nations from the globe — we should have the star drive needed to migrate to a new planet.

Environmental Literacy is a Key to Overcoming Climate Denial

Children in class, Amanda Mills
By Stephen R. Dujack, Editor, The Environmental Forum®
Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The sage lexicographers at the Oxford Dictionary chose the hyphenated couplet post-truth as the Word of the Year for 2016 — twelve months that saw made-up facts supersede real facts on a daily basis. An analysis by BuzzFeed concluded that “in the final three months of the U.S. presidential campaign, the top-performing fake election news stories on Facebook generated more engagement than the top stories from major news outlets” including the New York Times, Washington Post, and 17 others — combined.

FOOD WASTE: From The Ground Up: How Cities and States Can Be Leaders in Food Waste Reduction

Food scraps, Tim Jewett
By Emmett McKinney, Former Research Associate, Linda Breggin, Senior Attorney; Director of the Center for State, Tribal, and Local Environmental Programs, and Carol Adaire Jones, Visiting Scholar
Wednesday, December 14, 2016

In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency announced an ambitious goal of reducing food waste in the United States by 50% by 2030. While the change in presidential administrations presents new obstacles for many federal environmental initiatives, reducing food waste continues to offer fertile ground for cooperation.

Trump’s Proposed Environmental Agenda May Be Easier Said (or Tweeted) Than Done

US White House Logo
By Loyti Cheng, Co-head of the Environmental Practice Group and Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and David A. Zilberberg, Counsel, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Monday, December 12, 2016

President-elect Donald Trump's environmental agenda to date has generally been focused on undoing certain specific Obama administration regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan (CPP) or the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, and relaxing restrictions on domestic fossil fuel exploration and production.

Rhetoric or Reality: What Would Withdrawal From the Paris Agreement Require?

Donald Trump and the Eiffel Tower
By John Pendergrass, Vice President, Programs & Publications
Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The annual business meeting of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 22d such Conference of the Parties (COP 22), just concluded in Marrakech, Morocco. At the top of the agenda was implementation of the Paris Agreement, which entered into force November 4, 2016, just days before the COP opened and the U.S. election. The latter apparently shifted the focus of hallway conversations as President-elect Donald Trump’s views on climate change and climate treaties were of great interest to participants and observers.

ELI’s Model Law Can Help Countries Implement Their Commitments Under the Paris Agreement

Signing the Paris Agreement
By John Pendergrass, Vice President, Programs & Publications
Wednesday, November 2, 2016

As the Paris Agreement enters into force today, it is important to recognize both the significance of this event and the substantial work now required to implement its provisions. While much attention has been given to its goal of limiting the rise in global temperature to “well below 2°C” relative to pre-industrial times, and to pursue efforts to limit warming to a 1.5°C increase, the real significance of the Paris Agreement is that at least 190 countries and the European Union have pledged to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

The Paris Agreement is a Miracle

Eiffel Tower
By Ann Carlson, Shirley Shapiro Professor of Environmental Law and Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the UCLA School of Law
Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Something extraordinary happened last week: the Paris Agreement on climate change became a reality. Fifty-five percent of the world’s countries, and countries responsible for 55% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, ratified the accord. The agreement will go into effect on November 4th, far faster than many observers predicted.

Changing Maps, Changing Coastal Laws & Policies

Coastal flooding
By David Roche, Staff Attorney
Thursday, September 8, 2016

Imagine a map of sea-level rise in the year 2100. You know the ones—they show many of the world’s major coastal cities inundated by blue shading. With the sea predicted to rise one to two meters over that time, those maps are showing the consequences. Billions of people and trillions of dollars will be flooded out.

However, those maps only tell part of the story. Most of the world will not passively await the blue shading to come over them. Instead, local and national governments will adapt to sea-level rise. Through a suite of adaptation strategies, they will try to reduce impacts when possible and manage retreat when required.

Conversation About Climate and Courts

California
By Jay Austin, Senior Attorney; Editor-in-Chief, Environmental Law Reporter®
Thursday, July 21, 2016

While all eyes are on the challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan, currently being briefed in the D.C. Circuit, other forms of climate litigation are slowly gaining traction in courts around the country. In Oregon, where I live, a group of young plaintiffs have invoked the “atmospheric trust” theory in their attempt to compel the state government to regulate greenhouse gases; similar state-law actions are pending in Colorado, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Washington. The Oregon youths have brought an even more ambitious suit against the entire federal government, alleging that its long history of climate change inaction amounts to a violation of their fundamental constitutional rights.

Thanks to Environmental Pioneers in the United States Who Set the Example for the Rest of the World

William Eichbaum, former Vice President World Wildlife Fund
By Robbin Marks, Vice President, Development & Membership
Thursday, May 12, 2016

ELI was founded in 1969—a time when U.S. environmental law was in its infancy and needed a place for cultivation and growth (an imperative that is still incredibly relevant today given the interconnectedness and severity of conservation challenges across the globe). At that moment in time, individuals across the country looked around and saw rivers catching on fire, poor air quality making it hard for children to breathe, and unfettered toxic pollution.