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Environmental Law

Climate change

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Articles 1 - 30 of 327

Full-Text Articles in Law

Investing In America's Surface Transportation Infrastructure: The Need For A Multi-Year Reauthorization Bill: Hearing Before The S. Comm. On Env't & Pub. Works, 116th Cong., July 10, 2019, Vicki Arroyo Jul 2019

Investing In America's Surface Transportation Infrastructure: The Need For A Multi-Year Reauthorization Bill: Hearing Before The S. Comm. On Env't & Pub. Works, 116th Cong., July 10, 2019, Vicki Arroyo

Testimony Before Congress

The Fourth National Climate Assessment, released in November 2018, described the serious impacts of climate change already being felt throughout the U.S., and made clear that the risks to communities all across the country are growing rapidly.

These findings, along with those in the 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report should serve as an immediate call to action. Even if we manage to limit planetary warming to just 2 degrees Celsius, the world will still face increased chances of economic and social upheaval from more severe flooding, droughts, heatwaves, and other climate impacts as well as devastating ...


New Realities Require New Priorities: Rethinking Sustainable Development Goals In The Anthropocene, Robin Kundis Craig Jun 2019

New Realities Require New Priorities: Rethinking Sustainable Development Goals In The Anthropocene, Robin Kundis Craig

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

The United Nations 17 sustainable development goals are nominally unprioritized. However, numerically and rhetorically, the list effectively makes development goals more important than the environmental goals. This de facto prioritization, however, is deeply flawed in two respects. First, as early sustainable development theorists acknowledged, the environment is the boundary of, not co-equal to, development, constraining potential progress both economically and socially. The Anthropocene’s rapidly accelerating deterioration of the global ecological and physical processes that make human development possible will ultimately constrain development options and potential. Second, human priorities will also change dramatically as adaptation to climate change — the most ...


Dealing With Climate Change Under The National Environmental Policy Act, Arnold W. Reitze Jr. Jun 2019

Dealing With Climate Change Under The National Environmental Policy Act, Arnold W. Reitze Jr.

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was an important environmental law for several decades before climate change became an issue of concern. Beginning in the 1990s efforts began to include in NEPA’s environmental assessments and environmental impact statements both the impact of federal government actions on climate change and the impact of climate change on proposed federal actions. These efforts were encouraged by the Council on Environmental Quality. However, implementation at the agency level has been uneven. Some Federal agencies have resisted making serious efforts to incorporate climate change impacts into their decision-making process. Moreover, the courts have not ...


Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee May 2019

Agency Statutory Abnegation In The Deregulatory Playbook, William W. Buzbee

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

If an agency newly declares that it lacks statutory power previously claimed, how should such a move—what this article calls agency statutory abnegation—be reviewed? Given the array of strategies an agency might use to make a policy change or move the law in a deregulatory direction, why might statutory abnegation be chosen? After all, it is always a perilous and likely doctrinally disadvantageous strategy for agencies. Nonetheless, agencies from time to time have utilized statutory abnegation claims as part of their justification for deregulatory shifts. Actions by agencies during 2017 and 2018, under the administration of President Donald ...


The Federal Government Has An Implied Moral Constitutional Duty To Protect Individuals From Harm Due To Climate Change: Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall To See What Sticks, Hope M. Babcock May 2019

The Federal Government Has An Implied Moral Constitutional Duty To Protect Individuals From Harm Due To Climate Change: Throwing Spaghetti Against The Wall To See What Sticks, Hope M. Babcock

Georgetown Law Faculty Publications and Other Works

The continuing failure of the federal government to respond to the growing threat of climate change, despite affirmative duties to do so, creates a governance vacuum that the Constitution might help fill, if such a responsibility could be found within the document. This Article explores textual and non-textual constitutional support for that responsibility, finding that no single provision of the Constitution is a perfect fit for that responsibility. However, the document as a whole might support constitutionalizing an environmental protection norm as an individual right or affirmative government obligation given the norm's importance to the enjoyment of other constitutional ...


Time To Act: Response To Questions Posed By The Expert Panel On Sustainable Finance On Fiduciary Obligation And Effective Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, Janis P. Sarra, Cynthia Williams Jan 2019

Time To Act: Response To Questions Posed By The Expert Panel On Sustainable Finance On Fiduciary Obligation And Effective Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, Janis P. Sarra, Cynthia Williams

Faculty Publications

While there are numerous strategies to be deployed to move Canada to a financially sustainable future, this study addresses two critically important issues: fiduciary obligation of corporate- and pension-fiduciaries, and national action on environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) financial disclosure, including climate-related financial risk disclosure. The Canadian economy is facing significant challenges and disruptions in the transition to a lower carbon world. Absent clear and innovative steps to ensure our corporations and financial institutions act to address carbon emissions and other environmental, social and governance risks and opportunities, we will be seriously prejudiced in a world that is rapidly moving ...


Environmental Justice And The Possibilities For Environmental Law, Sarah Krakoff Jan 2019

Environmental Justice And The Possibilities For Environmental Law, Sarah Krakoff

Articles

Climate change and extreme inequality combine to cause disproportionate harms to poor communities throughout the world. Further, unequal resource allocation is shot through with the structures of racism and other forms of discrimination. This Essay explores these phenomena in two different places in the United States, and traces law’s role in constructing environmental and economic vulnerability. The Essay then proposes that solutions, if there are any to be had, lie in expanding our notions of what kinds of laws are relevant to achieving environmental justice, and in seeing law as a possible tactic for instigating broader social change but ...


Energy Re-Investment, Hari M. Osofsky, Jacqueline Peel, Brett H. Mcdonnell, Anita Foerster Jan 2019

Energy Re-Investment, Hari M. Osofsky, Jacqueline Peel, Brett H. Mcdonnell, Anita Foerster

Journal Articles

Despite worsening climate change threats, investment in energy — in the United States and globally — is dominated by fossil fuels. This Article provides a novel analysis of two pathways in corporate and securities law that together have the potential to shift patterns of energy investment.

The first pathway targets current investments and corporate decision-making. It includes efforts to influence investors to divest from owning shares in fossil fuel companies and to influence companies to address climate change risks in their internal decision-making processes. This pathway has received increasing attention, especially in light of the Paris Agreement and the Trump Administration’s ...


Adaptive Management For Ecosystem Services At The Wildland-Urban Interface, Robin Kundis Craig, J.B. Ruhl Jan 2019

Adaptive Management For Ecosystem Services At The Wildland-Urban Interface, Robin Kundis Craig, J.B. Ruhl

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

Managing the wildland-urban interface (WUI) is a widely-recognized land use problem plagued by a fractured geography of land parcels, management jurisdictions, and governance mandates and objectives. People who work in this field have suggested a variety of approaches to managing this interface, from informal governance to contracting to insurance. To date, however, none of these scholars have fully embraced the dynamism, uncertainty, and complexity of the WUI — that is, its status as a complex adaptive system. In focusing almost exclusively on the management of this interface to control wildfire, this scholarship largely ignores the factor that rampant wildfire is itself ...


Does The Evolving Concept Of Due Process In Obergefell Justify Judicial Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases And Climate Change?: Juliana V. United States, Bradford Mank Jan 2019

Does The Evolving Concept Of Due Process In Obergefell Justify Judicial Regulation Of Greenhouse Gases And Climate Change?: Juliana V. United States, Bradford Mank

Faculty Articles and Other Publications

Justice Kennedy’s Obergefell opinion, which held that same sex marriage is a fundamental right under the Constitution’s due process clause, reasoned that the principles of substantive due process may evolve because of changing societal views of what constitutes “liberty” under the clause, and that judges may recognize new liberty rights in light of their “reasoned judgement.” In Juliana v. United States, Judge Aiken used her “reasoned judgement” to conclude that evolving principles of substantive due process in the Obergefell decision allowed the court to find that the plaintiffs were entitled to a liberty right to a stable climate ...


Heat Waves: Legal Adaptation To The Most Lethal Climate Disaster (So Far), Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2019

Heat Waves: Legal Adaptation To The Most Lethal Climate Disaster (So Far), Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Globally, the ten warmest years on record have all been since 1998, with the four warmest years occurring since 2014. In the contiguous United States, average annual temperatures are about 1.8°F higher than they were over the period from 1895-2016. This is expected to increase by about 2.5°F before mid-century, regardless of what happens to greenhouse gas levels. If, at the end of this century, greenhouse gas emissions are at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s high scenario (termed “RCP 8.5”), average U.S. temperatures could go up by as much as 11.9 ...


Betting On Climate Policy: Using Prediction Markets To Address Global Warming, Gary M. Lucas Jr, Felix Mormann Jan 2019

Betting On Climate Policy: Using Prediction Markets To Address Global Warming, Gary M. Lucas Jr, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

Global warming, sea level rise, and extreme weather events have made climate change a top priority for policymakers across the globe. But which policies are best suited to tackle the enormous challenges presented by our changing climate? This Article proposes that policymakers turn to prediction markets to answer that crucial question. Prediction markets have a strong track record of outperforming other forecasting mechanisms across a wide range of contexts — from predicting election outcomes and economic trends to guessing Oscar winners. In the context of climate change, market participants could, for example, bet on important climate outcomes conditioned on the adoption ...


Cleaning Up Our Toxic Coasts: A Precaution And Human Health-Based Approach To Coastal Adaptation, Robin Kundis Craig Aug 2018

Cleaning Up Our Toxic Coasts: A Precaution And Human Health-Based Approach To Coastal Adaptation, Robin Kundis Craig

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

Hurricanes in the United States in 2005, 2012, and 2017 have all revealed an insidious problem for coastal climate change adaptation: toxic contamination in the coastal zone. As sea levels rise and violent coastal storms become increasingly frequent, this legacy of toxic pollution threatens immediate emergency response, longer term human health, and coastal ecosystems’ capacity to adapt to changing coastal conditions.

Focusing on Hurricane Harvey’s 2017 devastation of Houston, Texas, as its primary example, this Article first discusses the toxic legacy still present in many coastal environments. It then examines the existing laws available to clean up the coastal ...


Sea Level Rise And Storm Surge Projections For The National Park Service, M. A., R. L. Beavers Caffrey, C. H. Hoffman May 2018

Sea Level Rise And Storm Surge Projections For The National Park Service, M. A., R. L. Beavers Caffrey, C. H. Hoffman

Federal Documents

Over one quarter of the units of the National Park System occur along ocean coastlines. Ongoing changes in relative sea levels and the potential for increasing storm surges due to anthropogenic climate change and other factors present challenges to national park managers. This report summarizes work done by the University of Colorado in partnership with the National Park Service (NPS) to provide sea level rise and storm surge projections to coastal area national parks using information from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and storm surge scenarios from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) models. This research ...


Beyond The Beltway: A Report On State Energy And Climate Policies, Daniel A. Farber Feb 2018

Beyond The Beltway: A Report On State Energy And Climate Policies, Daniel A. Farber

Center for Law, Energy & the Environment Publications

There is increasing awareness today of the importance of state level policies regarding renewable energy and climate change. The focus, however, has generally been on states such as California that are considered to be on the forefront of addressing these issues, and not on states where progress has been slower or stalled. This report attempts to present a fuller picture, taking into account policy developments in all fifty states. Geography and politics are obvious factors in explaining differences between states’ renewable energy and climate policies. States with strong wind resources are naturally more likely to develop wind; major coal producing ...


Cholera And Climate Change: Pursuing Public Health Adaptation Strategies In The Face Of Scientific Debate, Robin Kundis Craig Feb 2018

Cholera And Climate Change: Pursuing Public Health Adaptation Strategies In The Face Of Scientific Debate, Robin Kundis Craig

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

Climate change will affect the prevalence, distribution, and lethality of many diseases, from mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever to directly infectious diseases like influenza to water-borne diseases like cholera and cryptosporidia. This Article focuses on one of the current scientific debates surrounding cholera and the implications of that debate for public health-related climate change adaptation strategies.

Since the 1970s, Rita Colwell and her co-researchers have been arguing a local reservoir hypothesis for cholera, emphasizing that river, estuarine, and coastal waters often contain more dormant forms of cholera attached to copepods, a form of zooplankton. Under this hypothesis, climatically ...


Free Trade, Fair Trade, And Selective Enforcement, Timothy Meyer Jan 2018

Free Trade, Fair Trade, And Selective Enforcement, Timothy Meyer

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

The 2016 presidential election was one of the most divisive in recent memory, but it produced a surprising bipartisan consensus. Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders all agreed that U.S. trade agreements should be, but are not, “fair.” Although only achieving broad consensus recently, the critique that U.S. trade agreements are unfair has been around for decades. Since 1992, much of this fairness critique has focused on ensuring that trade liberalization does not undermine non-commercial values, such as environmental protection and labor conditions. Beginning with the negotiation and ratification of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA ...


Polar Opposites: Assessing The State Of Enviromental Law In The World's Polar Regions, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival Jan 2018

Polar Opposites: Assessing The State Of Enviromental Law In The World's Polar Regions, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Constrained Regulatory Exit In Energy Law, Jim Rossi Jan 2018

Constrained Regulatory Exit In Energy Law, Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In recent years, the federal government’s efforts to open up competitive electricity markets have transformed how we think about the regulation of energy. In many respects, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) broad “deregulatory” efforts, which commenced in the 1990s, might appear to be a case of paradigmatic regulatory exit as defined by J.B. Ruhl and Jim Salzman. But our case study of FERC’s restructuring of wholesale electricity markets reveals some important institutional features that make exit in federalism contexts, and under federal statutory duties, a rich and difficult problem. In the context of energy, exit ...


Could Official Climate Denial Revive The Common Law As A Regulatory Backstop?, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival Jan 2018

Could Official Climate Denial Revive The Common Law As A Regulatory Backstop?, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Trump Administration is rapidly turning the clock back on climate policy and environmental regulation. Despite overwhelming, peer-reviewed scientific evidence, administration officials eager to promote greater use of fossil fuels are disregarding climate science. This Article argues that this massive and historic deregulation may spawn yet another wave of legal innovation as litigants, including states and their political subdivisions, return to the common law to protect the health of the planet. Prior to the emergence of the major federal environmental laws in the 1970s, the common law of nuisance gave rise to the earliest environmental decisions in U.S. history ...


Keynote: Motivating Private Climate Governance: The Role Of The Efficiency Gap, Michael P. Vandenbergh Jan 2018

Keynote: Motivating Private Climate Governance: The Role Of The Efficiency Gap, Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

In response to the shrinking federal role in environmental protection, many policy advocates have focused on the role of states and cities, but this symposium focuses on another important source of sustainability initiatives: the private sector, including corporations, households, civic and cultural organizations, religious organizations, private hospitals, colleges and universities, and other organizations. States, cities, and local governments are increasingly important, but the limited geographic reach of subnational governments and widespread concerns about the size and intrusiveness of the public sector constrain their ability to address many environmental problems. Private governance initiatives offer an opportunity to bypass concerns about big ...


Private Governance Responses To Climate Change: The Case Of Global Civil Aviation, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Daniel J. Metzger Jan 2018

Private Governance Responses To Climate Change: The Case Of Global Civil Aviation, Michael P. Vandenbergh, Daniel J. Metzger

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

This Article explores how private governance can reduce the climate effects of global civil aviation. The civil aviation sector is a major contributor to climate change, accounting for emissions comparable to a top ten emitting country. National and international governmental bodies have taken important steps to address civil aviation, but the measures adopted to date are widely acknowledged to be inadequate. Civil aviation poses particularly difficult challenges for government climate mitigation efforts. Many civil aviation firms operate globally, emissions often occur outside of national boundaries, nations differ on their respective responsibilities, and demand is growing rapidly. Although promising new technologies ...


Harvey, Irma, And The Nfip: Did The 2017 Hurricane Season Matter To Flood Insurance Reauthorization?, Robin Kundis Craig Jan 2018

Harvey, Irma, And The Nfip: Did The 2017 Hurricane Season Matter To Flood Insurance Reauthorization?, Robin Kundis Craig

Utah Law Faculty Scholarship

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has become a coastal hurricane insurance program—a fact that is bankrupting it. As a result of climate change, the ocean surrounding the United States is both rising and becoming warmer, and hurricanes and other coastal storms are projected to become both more frequent and more destructive. While no particular hurricane can yet be blamed exclusively on climate change, these projections nevertheless have real implications for the future of the NFIP.

In 2017, Congress was gearing up to reauthorize the NFIP just as the United States entered its worst hurricane season in over a ...


Low Carbon Land Use: Paris, Pittsburgh, And The Ipcc, John R. Nolon Jan 2018

Low Carbon Land Use: Paris, Pittsburgh, And The Ipcc, John R. Nolon

Pace Law Faculty Publications

This article describes strategies that local governments are employing to both mitigate and adapt to climate change, using their state-given powers to plan community development and to regulate private building. Local governments have significant legal authority to shape human settlements and, in so doing, lower CO2 emissions from buildings and vehicles, increase the sequestration of carbon by the natural environment, and promote distributed energy systems and renewable energy facilities that lower fossil fuel consumption. Local elected leaders are highly motivated to avoid the on-the-ground consequences of our changing climate. The effects of climate change manifest themselves at the local level ...


Climate Change And Human Trafficking After The Paris Agreement, Michael Gerrard Jan 2018

Climate Change And Human Trafficking After The Paris Agreement, Michael Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

At least 21 million people globally are victims of human trafficking, typically involving either sexual exploitation or forced labor. This form of modern-day slavery tends to increase after natural disasters or conflicts where large numbers of people are displaced from their homes and become highly vulnerable. In the decades to come, climate change will very likely lead to a large increase in the number of people who are displaced and thus vulnerable to trafficking. The Paris Climate Agreement of 2015 established objectives to limit global temperature increases, but the voluntary pledges made by nearly every country fall far short of ...


Market Segmentation Vs. Subsidization: Clean Energy Credits And The Commerce Clause's Economic Wisdom, Felix Mormann Jan 2018

Market Segmentation Vs. Subsidization: Clean Energy Credits And The Commerce Clause's Economic Wisdom, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

The dormant Commerce Clause has long been a thorn in the side of state policymakers. The latest battleground for the clash between federal courts and state legislatures is energy policy. In the absence of a decisive federal policy response to climate change, nearly thirty states have created a new type of securities—clean energy credits—to promote lowcarbon renewable and nuclear power. As more and more of these programs come under attack for alleged violations of the dormant Commerce Clause, this Article explores the constitutional constraints on clean energy credit policies. Careful analysis of recent and ongoing litigation reveals the ...


Can Clean Energy Policy Promote Environmental, Economic, And Social Sustainability?, Felix Mormann Jan 2018

Can Clean Energy Policy Promote Environmental, Economic, And Social Sustainability?, Felix Mormann

Faculty Scholarship

Two and a half decades of clean energy policymaking focused primarily on environmental and economic sustainability have yielded considerable environmental and economic benefits. Along the way, however, other policy considerations, such as the social sustainability of the transition to a cleaner, renewably fueled energy economy, have gone largely overlooked. As clean energy technologies continue to gain ever-greater traction in the United States and global energy economies, the social impacts of their enabling policies become more and more salient. Already, ratepayers, taxpayers, and other stakeholders who fear being left behind by the clean energy transition question the “fairness” of today’s ...


The Societal Impacts Of Climate Anomalies During The Past 50,000 Years And Their Implications For Solastalgia And Adaptation To Future Climate Change, Edward P. Richards Jan 2018

The Societal Impacts Of Climate Anomalies During The Past 50,000 Years And Their Implications For Solastalgia And Adaptation To Future Climate Change, Edward P. Richards

Journal Articles

No abstract provided.


A Comparative Study On Carbon Emission Reduction Systems, Mingde Cao Nov 2017

A Comparative Study On Carbon Emission Reduction Systems, Mingde Cao

Dissertations & Theses

The overwhelming majority of scientists have concluded that global warming is unequivocal. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) fifth report in 2013 concluded that the challenge of climate disruption to human beings is even more imperative than the previous report claimed, and that anthropogenic greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions have extremely likely been the dominant causes of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century.

Anthropogenic GHGs emissions have many implications, including more intensive, extreme meteorological events, spreading of diseases, and threatening human health and life. Climate change also causes injustice in human society because of the dislocation of the ...


Fiduciary Obligations In Business And Investment: Implications Of Climate Change, Janis P. Sarra Oct 2017

Fiduciary Obligations In Business And Investment: Implications Of Climate Change, Janis P. Sarra

Faculty Publications

Fiduciary obligation, under both corporate law and the common law, requires directors and officers to identify and address climate-related financial and other risks. In fulfilling their obligations to act in the best interests of the company, directors and officers must directly engage with developments in knowledge regarding physical and transition risks related to climate change and how these risks may impact their corporation. Depending on the firm’s economic activities, the risk may be minor or highly significant, but directors and officers have an obligation to make the inquiries, to devise strategies to address risks, and to have an ongoing ...