Drinking Fountain

For every story of a utility system in crisis that makes the headlines, many more struggle in the shadows. Out of the more than 40,000 small community water systems operating in the United States, almost 1,800 were designated serious compliance violators of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 2020.

Wheelchair User Next to Water

Climate change poses unique dangers and challenges for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, despite wide recognition of the vulnerabilities of people with disabilities to climate change, disability perspectives and needs remain largely excluded from climate adaptation and mitigation efforts. Effective and inclusive climate action planning is essential to protecting the 26% of Americans who experience a disability from the most dangerous aspects of climate change.

Earth

On July 14, the ELI China Program hosted a webinar on climate change litigation in the United States for the environmental law community in China. The event garnered a record-breaking audience of over 5,500 participants sustained over the course of three hours of detailed instruction on climate law.

Hurricane Ridge in Olympic Peninsula WA

This is Part 2 of a two-part blog series on climate change and its impact on indigenous peoples in the United States. Part 1 introduced the impacts of climate change on indigenous communities, while Part 2 provides specific examples of how these communities are responding in order to protect their land, people, and resources. 

Drought affected ground

This is Part 1 of a two-part blog series on climate change and indigenous peoples in the United States. Part 1 introduces the impacts of climate change on indigenous communities, and Part 2 looks more in depth at how these communities are responding in order to protect their land, people, and resources. 

New York stock exchange building

Disclosure law in the United States is on the cusp of change. Significant shifts in the information investors expect to see in disclosures and how they use it are redefining what “material” is and changing disclosure obligations for companies. Federal financial regulators are also incorporating climate change risks into their work, adding pressure to improve climate-related disclosures.

Pongo the Stolen Orangutan, credit Jaclyn Schwanke

In a rural community in North Sumatra, Indonesia, an environmental NGO recently filed one of the first natural resource liability suits for illegal resource exploitation against a zoo holding critically endangered animals. Extending the “polluters-pay” principle, the case has the potential to set a global precedent for holding illegal wildlife traffickers accountable for repairing the harm they cause—not only to individual plants and animals, but also to species survival, ecosystem health, and human well-being.

Ocean wave

On May 26, Engine No. 1, an activist hedge fund owning 0.02% of ExxonMobil’s stock, led a shareholder revolt against the oil giant, ousting three of Exxon’s board members despite opposition from senior management. The change was part of a recent tide of losses for the global oil industry. Chevron’s shareholders also displayed an intolerance for corporate negligence toward climate change when they passed a resolution mandating the company to account for and cut down on Scope 3 emissions, which are released in the process of oil combustion. These emissions make up a far larger share of the company’s carbon footprint than emissions from operations and extraction. Together, these shareholders are jointly calling on the oil industry to adapt its business model to align with a decarbonized economy.

Sharks swimming in ocean

Industrial fisheries imperil sharks and rays. The populations of most species of sharks and rays are on the decline, and many populations are down to just 10 to 30 percent of their levels just a few decades ago. Although international agreements are in place to manage fisheries, restrict the trade of endangered species, and conserve migratory shark and ray populations, they have not been sufficiently effective in stopping the decline of many of these species.

Tower bridge in London

On January 31, the United Kingdom’s long and tumultuous departure from the European Union concluded with Brexit Day. This monumental, and by some, staunchly condemned, process ushered in a breadth of legal impacts, especially in regards to national environmental law and policy. EU directives previously served as the foundation for a large contingency of environmental standards, environmental protection regimes, conservation schemes, and enforcement and compliance in the U.K. Additional implications of Brexit include those at the intersection of agriculture and the environment, business and trade implications, sustainability efforts, chemical regulation, renewable energy development, the Paris Accord and other climate goals, and a variety of multinational treaties and directives. In short, the impacts on environmental governance were, and are, enormous and far-reaching.