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Full-Text Articles in Law

Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Fertilization: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Korey Silverman-Roati, Romany M. Webb, Michael Gerrard Jul 2022

Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Fertilization: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Korey Silverman-Roati, Romany M. Webb, Michael Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Carbon dioxide removal (“CDR”) will be needed, alongside deep emissions cuts, to achieve global temperature goals. According to a 2022 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to keep global average temperatures within 1.5°C above preindustrial levels, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions must reach net-zero by mid-century. Scientists have proposed a number of land- and ocean-based CDR techniques. This paper focuses on ocean fertilization, which involves adding iron or other nutrients to the ocean to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton that uptake carbon dioxide and convert it into organic carbon. The hope is that the ...


Allocation Of Climate-Related Risks In Investor–State Mining Contracts, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Perrine Toledano, Cody Aceveda Jun 2022

Allocation Of Climate-Related Risks In Investor–State Mining Contracts, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Perrine Toledano, Cody Aceveda

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Domestic laws and regulations are the ideal legal instrument to regulate the mining sector’s contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. Even so, as a stop-gap-measure in the absence of a robust legal and regulatory framework, governments may consider updating model mining development agreements (MMDAs) or negotiating climate­-related contractual provisions.

The CCSI paper Five Years After the Adoption of the Paris Agreement, Are Climate Change Considerations Reflected in Mining Contracts?, published in July 2021, explores whether governments are using, and how they can use, investor–state mining contracts to advance climate goals.

This companion piece expands the analysis ...


Permitting Seaweed Cultivation For Carbon Sequestration In California: Barriers And Recommendations, Korey Silverman-Roati, Romany M. Webb, Michael B. Gerrard Jun 2022

Permitting Seaweed Cultivation For Carbon Sequestration In California: Barriers And Recommendations, Korey Silverman-Roati, Romany M. Webb, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Interest is growing in seaweed cultivation and sequestration as a carbon dioxide removal strategy. This white paper explores the barriers to seaweed permitting for carbon sequestration in California, including a complex, costly, and time-consuming lease and permitting process. Other states in the U.S., namely Maine and Alaska, have permitting systems designed to be more supportive of seaweed cultivation. This paper describes the legal framework for seaweed cultivation permitting in California and discusses the permitting systems in Maine and Alaska. The paper then explores possible reforms to streamline California’s permitting process, while maintaining appropriate environmental and other safeguards.


Helping New Jersey State Agencies And Departments Align Their Actions With Ghg Reduction Mandates And Environmental Justice Principles, Jennifer Danis, Zoe Makoul May 2022

Helping New Jersey State Agencies And Departments Align Their Actions With Ghg Reduction Mandates And Environmental Justice Principles, Jennifer Danis, Zoe Makoul

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

This white paper analyzes New Jersey’s implementation gap in both the climate and justice space. Its findings are potentially applicable to the many other states who have set climate and justice goals, without robustly embedding them into their existing legal and administrative landscapes. New Jersey already has GHG reduction targets, a plan, and mapped pathways. While more aggressive tactics and targets may be required to meet evolving scientific knowledge, and cost-effective technology and markets will evolve over time, New Jersey’s climate-alignment tools and pathways are clear. The EMP, the 2020 GWRA 80x50 Report, and EO-274, among other strong ...


Incorporating Climate Change In Nepa Reviews: Recommendations For Reform, Michael Burger, Romany M. Webb, Jessica A. Wentz May 2022

Incorporating Climate Change In Nepa Reviews: Recommendations For Reform, Michael Burger, Romany M. Webb, Jessica A. Wentz

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

The National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) requires federal agencies to conduct an environmental review prior to moving ahead with any major federal project, plan, or program that could significantly affect the environment. As part of the environmental review, agencies must share information with, and solicit feedback from, the public. The goal is to improve federal decision-making by ensuring that agencies take a hard look at the environmental effects of their actions and fully inform the public about those effects.

In guidance issued in 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”)—the federal body charged with implementing NEPA—identified climate change ...


Legal Provisions On Shared Use Of Mining Infrastructure: Rail, Port, And Power, Logan Hinderliter, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Perrine Toledano May 2022

Legal Provisions On Shared Use Of Mining Infrastructure: Rail, Port, And Power, Logan Hinderliter, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Perrine Toledano

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In 2011, CCSI began to research how mining infrastructure can be leveraged for sustainable development and in 2013 created an economic, legal, and operational framework to generate shared-use benefits from rail, ports, power, water, and internet and telecommunications. CCSI has published many works on shared use in the mining sector. Those works, along with other mining-related publications and mining concessions available online, ground the analytical framework of this paper, provide insight on the economic drivers of the mining sector, and detail how legal provisions – including laws, regulations, and contractual terms – can forefront shared use.

This paper is part of CCSI ...


Exploring The Bedrock For Earth Jurisprudence, Maria Antonia Tigre Apr 2022

Exploring The Bedrock For Earth Jurisprudence, Maria Antonia Tigre

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

This article calls for a reassessment of our core beliefs on how we relate to the environment through a deep dive into the philosophical foundations of environmental protection. With this purpose, it shows how Earth-centered discourses have existed in human societies and civilizations for millennia. Different religious and philosophical underpinnings all share a view of humanity as an integral part of an organic whole, revering all living things. While recent developments in jurisprudence may appear novel, they are somewhat latent and emergent. Theories of land ethics, rights of nature, Earth-centered environmental ethics, wild law, and Earth jurisprudence all build on ...


Climate Action Needs Investment Governance, Not Investment Protection And Arbitration, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Mar 2022

Climate Action Needs Investment Governance, Not Investment Protection And Arbitration, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

A response by the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment to the OECD Public Consultation on Investment Treaties and Climate Change.

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) — a joint research center of Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University — explores elements of the international investment legal framework, including the impact of investment treaties, investor–state dispute settlement, and home and host government policies governing inward and outward investment, among many other issues.


A Pause On Proof-Of-Work: The New York State Executive Branch's Authority To Enact A Moratorium On The Permitting Of Consolidated Proof-Of-Work Cryptocurrency Mining Facilities, Jacob Elkin Mar 2022

A Pause On Proof-Of-Work: The New York State Executive Branch's Authority To Enact A Moratorium On The Permitting Of Consolidated Proof-Of-Work Cryptocurrency Mining Facilities, Jacob Elkin

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

As cryptocurrency mining facilities have expanded their energy consumption, certain fossil fuel power plants have increased energy generation to provide behind-the-meter power to cryptocurrency miners. The New York legislature has responded by proposing bills to enact a moratorium on state permitting of such consolidated facilities while the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) studies their impacts through a Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS), but these bills have stalled. This white paper analyzes the legal authority of the New York executive branch to put in place such a moratorium and concludes that the executive branch does possess such authority, though ...


Opposition To Renewable Energy Facilities In The United States: March 2022 Edition, Hillary Aidun, Jacob Elkin, Radhika Goyal, Kate Marsh, Neely Mckee, Maris Welch, Leah Adelman, Shane Finn Mar 2022

Opposition To Renewable Energy Facilities In The United States: March 2022 Edition, Hillary Aidun, Jacob Elkin, Radhika Goyal, Kate Marsh, Neely Mckee, Maris Welch, Leah Adelman, Shane Finn

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Achieving lower carbon emissions in the United States will require developing a very large number of wind, solar, and other renewable energy facilities, as well as associated storage, distribution, and transmission, at an unprecedented scale and pace. Although host community members are often enthusiastic about renewable energy facilities’ economic and environmental benefits, local opposition often arises. This report updates a previous Sabin Center report, published in February 2021, and documents local restrictions on and opposition to siting renewable energy projects for the period from 1995 to early 2022. Importantly, the authors do not make normative judgments as to the legal ...


New Producer Contract Terms And Uncertainty: Lessons From The Recent Past, Patrick R.P. Heller, Perrine Toledano, David Mihalyi, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye Mar 2022

New Producer Contract Terms And Uncertainty: Lessons From The Recent Past, Patrick R.P. Heller, Perrine Toledano, David Mihalyi, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The petroleum industry is volatile, and governments in “new producer” countries have operated at a significant information disadvantage when negotiating with international oil companies. This challenge is growing today; new producer countries face intensifying questions around whether to offer fiscal incentives to maintain investment in the face of 1) the pandemic-induced volatility in oil prices and 2) long-term questions about the future of the industry in the face of the climate crisis and the global energy transition.

This confluence of short-term and long-term uncertainty is prompting a reexamination of the narrative that once took hold in many new producer countries ...


Legal Primer: Respecting The Human Rights Of Communities In Wind And Solar Project Deployment, Sarah Dolton-Zborowski, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2022

Legal Primer: Respecting The Human Rights Of Communities In Wind And Solar Project Deployment, Sarah Dolton-Zborowski, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

As a companion to the Business Guide, the Legal Risk Primer is geared towards general counsels and corporate legal teams, as well as internal and external stakeholders. It provides an overview of the wide range of potential legal risks for wind and solar energy companies associated with community-related adverse human rights impacts. The legal risks outlined arise from home and host government laws, community litigators, financiers, and power purchase agreements.

Together, these two resources support wind and solar energy companies – as well as external stakeholders seeking to influence companies, including investors, civil society organizations, and project-affected communities – in driving a ...


North Africa Can Reduce Europe's Dependence On Russian Gas By Transporting Wasted Gas Through Existing Infrastructure, Mark Davis, Perrine Toledano, Thomas Schorr Mar 2022

North Africa Can Reduce Europe's Dependence On Russian Gas By Transporting Wasted Gas Through Existing Infrastructure, Mark Davis, Perrine Toledano, Thomas Schorr

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Russia's war against Ukraine is a wake-up call to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian oil, gas, and coal. It is also a defining moment to accelerate the energy transition to a net-zero society with more supply diversity, energy security, and resilience. Europe needs to massively invest in a cleaner energy system. In the short term, this crisis should accelerate our focus on reducing waste gas from flaring, venting, and leaking – some 260 billion cubic meters (BCM) globally or 1.7x that of the European Union's gas imports from Russia. By capturing gas from flaring, venting, and leaking ...


Business Guide: Respecting The Human Rights Of Communities In Wind And Solar Project Deployment, Sarah Dolton-Zborowski, Sam Szoke-Burke Mar 2022

Business Guide: Respecting The Human Rights Of Communities In Wind And Solar Project Deployment, Sarah Dolton-Zborowski, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Companies involved in commercial wind and solar projects are facing heightened scrutiny of their human rights performance. This Business Guide provides companies with information and strategies to identify, prevent, mitigate, and account for adverse human rights impacts that they cause, contribute to, or are directly linked to through their operations, products, or services by virtue of their business relationships. It may also be useful for investors, business partners, government actors, civil society organizations, communities, and other stakeholders.

Drawing on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the Guide provides practical recommendations, with over 40 examples from peer companies ...


Ccsi’S Consolidated Feedback On The Wba Draft Nature Benchmark Methodology, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Mar 2022

Ccsi’S Consolidated Feedback On The Wba Draft Nature Benchmark Methodology, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Private sector actors are paying more attention to their negative impacts on climate, nature, and biodiversity. CCSI engages with private sector initiatives, frameworks, and benchmarks in this area to ensure the core corporate responsibility to respect human rights is prioritized and addressed.

As part of this work, in March and April 2022, CCSI submitted comments to and engaged with the World Benchmarking Alliance on their Draft Methodology for their Nature and Biodiversity Benchmark. The World Benchmarking Alliance is a leading multi-stakeholder organization which creates benchmarks to publicly assess and rank the world's most influential companies on their contributions to ...


How Much Have The Oil Supermajors Contributed To Climate Change?, Jiarui Chen, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch Mar 2022

How Much Have The Oil Supermajors Contributed To Climate Change?, Jiarui Chen, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In the 40-year period 1980–2019, annual carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel combustion, including flaring, increased by more than 80%, and total emissions from those sources represented approximately 83% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions (also including cement production and land-use change) without accounting for sinks. Understanding the carbon footprint of countries and companies along the oil value chain is fundamental to outlining paths to reduced reliance on fossil fuels. However, academic analyses of carbon footprints are limited by the lack of a reliable dataset and carbon accounting method that would allow comparisons across countries and companies.


Reframing Global Biodiversity Protection After Covid-19: Is International Environmental Law Up To The Task?, Maria Antonia Tigre, Natalia Urzola, Victoria Lichet Feb 2022

Reframing Global Biodiversity Protection After Covid-19: Is International Environmental Law Up To The Task?, Maria Antonia Tigre, Natalia Urzola, Victoria Lichet

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

In an increasingly interdependent world, the climate and biodiversity crises are, more than ever, inextricably tied to human health and the transmission of infectious diseases. The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has irrevocably shown us that the exploitation of wild species and deforestation increases and modifies the interface between people and wildlife, leading to a spillover of diseases from wildlife to people. From a legal perspective, the gaps in international environmental law have contributed to the lack of an effective international biodiversity policy. In light of the challenges brought by the pandemic, there is now an opportunity to rethink our existing legal ...


Plus Politics: Tackling The Eia Impact Gap, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Feb 2022

Plus Politics: Tackling The Eia Impact Gap, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

PLUS POLITICS is a multi-part series of briefs from the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment that aims to encourage practitioners to apply a more systematic political lens to their work on governance in the extractive industries. Each brief will deal with a key governance issue and will provide a brief analysis of its political challenges and practical recommendations to address them.


Evaluating Climate Risk In Nepa Reviews: Current Practices And Recommendations For Reform, Romany M. Webb, Michael Panfil, Stephanie H. Jones, Dena Adler Jan 2022

Evaluating Climate Risk In Nepa Reviews: Current Practices And Recommendations For Reform, Romany M. Webb, Michael Panfil, Stephanie H. Jones, Dena Adler

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

In recent years, policymakers, practitioners, and scholars have increasingly considered how climate change should factor into existing environmental review obligations, including review of U.S. federal agency actions under the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”). Attention thus far has focused primarily on the critical question of how to account for an action’s contribution to climate change via direct, indirect, or cumulative greenhouse gas emissions. However, less focus has been given to the equally critical question of how actions will be affected by, and can prepare for, the impacts of climate change. This paper combines an extensive review of ...


Unlocking The Power Of Reformers To Achieve Better Progress On Extractives Governance, Leila Kazemi, Perrine Toledano Jan 2022

Unlocking The Power Of Reformers To Achieve Better Progress On Extractives Governance, Leila Kazemi, Perrine Toledano

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Focusing on supporting “reformers” - those with a genuine commitment to reforms - is a way of trying to start on auspicious footing by targeting those with an existing interest in seeing good governance of extractive industries take root. While providing resources to bolster the technical capacity of these actors will be a critical aspect of their prospects for success, another is helping them to more effectively interact with their political contexts. Indeed, for the potential of reformers to drive and sustain relevant policy and institutional changes to be realized, the incentive and power dynamics that can impede these actors must be ...


The Insular Cases Run Amok: Against Constitutional Exceptionalism In The Territories, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus Jan 2022

The Insular Cases Run Amok: Against Constitutional Exceptionalism In The Territories, Christina D. Ponsa-Kraus

Faculty Scholarship

The Insular Cases have been enjoying an improbable — and unfortunate — renaissance. Decided at the height of what has been called the “imperialist” period in U.S. history, this series of Supreme Court decisions handed down in the early twentieth century infamously held that the former Spanish colonies annexed by the United States in 1898 — Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam — “belong[ed] to, but [were] not a part of, the United States.” What exactly this meant has been the subject of considerable debate even as those decisions have received unanimous condemnation. According to the standard account, the Insular Cases ...


This Is Not A Drill: The War Against Antiracist Teaching In America, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw Jan 2022

This Is Not A Drill: The War Against Antiracist Teaching In America, Kimberlé W. Crenshaw

Faculty Scholarship

On January 5, 2022, Professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw received the 2021 Triennial Award for Lifetime Service to Legal Education and the Legal Profession from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS). In this modified acceptance speech delivered at the 2022 AALS Awards Ceremony, she reflects on the path that brought her to this moment and the crisis over antiracist and social justice education that is unfolding today. Arguing that the legal academy bears a collective responsibility to fight back against the silencing of antiracist frameworks, she calls on legal educational institutions to confront their historical agnosticism toward racial subordination and ...


New York Environmental Legislation In 2021, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan Jan 2022

New York Environmental Legislation In 2021, Michael B. Gerrard, Edward Mctiernan

Faculty Scholarship

This annual survey of New York environmental legislation describes numerous new laws on single-use plastics, lead exposure, drinking water, fuel oil, climate resilience, solar energy, invasive species and other areas that were signed into law in 2021.


The Genius Of Common-Law Intellectual Property, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2022

The Genius Of Common-Law Intellectual Property, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship

Among Richard Epstein’s influential contributions to legal scholarship over the years is his writing on common-law intellectual property. In it, we see his attempt to meld the innate logic of the common law’s conceptual structure with the realities of the modern information economy. Common-law intellectual property refers to different judge-made causes of action that create forms of exclusive rights and privileges in intangibles, interferences that are then rendered enforceable through private liability. In this essay, I examine Epstein’s writing on two such doctrines, hot-news misappropriation and cybertrespass, which embrace several important ideas to which modern discussions of ...


Structural Biases In Structural Constitutional Law, Jonathan S. Gould, David E. Pozen Jan 2022

Structural Biases In Structural Constitutional Law, Jonathan S. Gould, David E. Pozen

Faculty Scholarship

Structural constitutional law regulates the workings of government and supplies the rules of the political game. Whether by design or by accident, these rules sometimes tilt the playing field for or against certain political factions – not just episodically, based on who holds power at a given moment, but systematically over time – in terms of electoral outcomes or policy objectives. In these instances, structural constitutional law is itself structurally biased.

This Article identifies and begins to develop the concept of such structural biases, with a focus on biases affecting the major political parties. Recent years have witnessed a revival of political ...


The Banker Removal Power, Da Lin, Lev Menand Jan 2022

The Banker Removal Power, Da Lin, Lev Menand

Faculty Scholarship

The Federal Reserve (“the Fed”) can remove bankers from office if they violate the law, engage in unsafe or unsound practices, or breach their fiduciary duties. The Fed, however, has used this power so rarely that few even realize it exists. Although major U.S. banks have admitted to repeated and flagrant lawbreaking in recent years, the Fed has never removed a senior executive from one of these institutions.

This Article offers the first comprehensive account of the banker removal power. It makes four contributions. First, drawing on a range of primary sources, it recovers the power’s statutory foundations ...


Judicial Minimalism In Lower Courts, Thomas P. Schmidt Jan 2022

Judicial Minimalism In Lower Courts, Thomas P. Schmidt

Faculty Scholarship

Debate about the virtues and vices of “judicial minimalism” is evergreen. But as is often the case in public law, that debate so far has centered on the Supreme Court. Minimalism arose and has been defended as a theory about how Justices should judge. This Article considers judicial minimalism as an approach for lower courts, which have become conspicuous and powerful actors on the public law scene. It begins by offering a framework that disentangles the three basic meanings of the term “judicial minimalism”: decisional minimalism, which counsels judges to decide cases on narrow and shallow grounds; prudential minimalism, which ...


Mindful Debiasing: Meditation As A Tool To Address Disability Discrimination, Elizabeth F. Emens Jan 2022

Mindful Debiasing: Meditation As A Tool To Address Disability Discrimination, Elizabeth F. Emens

Faculty Scholarship

Antidiscrimination law is at a critical juncture. The law prohibits formal and explicit systems of exclusion, but much bias nonetheless persists. New tools are needed. This Article argues that mindfulness meditation may be a powerful strategy in the battle against disability discrimination. This Article sets out eight reasons that disability bias is particularly intractable. The Article then draws on empirical, philosophical, and scholarly sources to identify mechanisms through which mindfulness meditation can address these dynamics. The Article concludes by presenting concrete doctrinal implications of bringing mindfulness to bear on disability discrimination. This Article thus contributes to the established fields of ...


Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley Jan 2022

Contractual Evolution, Matthew Jennejohn, Julian Nyarko, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Conventional wisdom portrays contracts as static distillations of parties’ shared intent at some discrete point in time. In reality, however, contract terms evolve in response to their environments, including new laws, legal interpretations, and economic shocks. While several legal scholars have offered stylized accounts of this evolutionary process, we still lack a coherent, general theory that broadly captures the dynamics of real-world contracting practice. This paper advances such a theory, in which the evolution of contract terms is a byproduct of several key features, including efficiency concerns, information, and sequential learning by attorneys who negotiate several deals over time. Each ...


The Democratic (Il)Legitimacy Of Assembly-Line Litigation, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter, Alyx Mark Jan 2022

The Democratic (Il)Legitimacy Of Assembly-Line Litigation, Jessica K. Steinberg, Colleen F. Shanahan, Anna E. Carpenter, Alyx Mark

Faculty Scholarship

Millions of debt cases are filed in the civil courts every year. In debt actions, asymmetrical representation is the norm, with the plaintiff almost always represented by counsel and the defendant very rarely so. A number of jurisdictions report that up to ninety-nine percent of defendants in debt cases appear pro se — a figure that calls into question the basic legitimacy of these proceedings.

Professor Daniel Wilf-Townsend’s central contribution to the literature on debt collection, and state civil justice more broadly, is to demonstrate through sophisticated empirics what has long been anecdotally reported: that a cluster of corporate plaintiffs ...