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Columbia Law School

Environmental Law

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Articles 1 - 11 of 11

Full-Text Articles in Law

The Legal Framework For Offshore Carbon Capture And Storage In Canada, Romany M. Webb, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

The Legal Framework For Offshore Carbon Capture And Storage In Canada, Romany M. Webb, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Averting catastrophic climate change requires immediate action to prevent additional carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere. However, even that may not be sufficient, with many scientists now warning that it will likely also be necessary to reduce the existing atmospheric carbon dioxide load. That could be achieved using negative emissions technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store or utilize it in some way. One promising technology is direct air capture (“DAC”) which uses liquid chemical solutions or solid sorbent filters to capture carbon dioxide from the air and concentrate it into a ...


Making America A Better Place For All: Sustainable Development Recommendations For The Biden Administration, John C. Dernbach, Scott E. Schang, Robert W. Adler, Karol Boudreaux, John Bouman, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Kimberly Brown, Mikhail Chester, Michael B. Gerrard, Stephen Herzenberg, Samuel Markolf, Corey Malone-Smolla, Jane Nelson, Uma Outka, Tony Pipa, Alexandra Phelan, Leroy Paddock, Jonathan D. Rosenbloom, William Snape, Anastasia Telesetsky, Gerald Torres, Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, Audra Wilson Jan 2021

Making America A Better Place For All: Sustainable Development Recommendations For The Biden Administration, John C. Dernbach, Scott E. Schang, Robert W. Adler, Karol Boudreaux, John Bouman, Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, Kimberly Brown, Mikhail Chester, Michael B. Gerrard, Stephen Herzenberg, Samuel Markolf, Corey Malone-Smolla, Jane Nelson, Uma Outka, Tony Pipa, Alexandra Phelan, Leroy Paddock, Jonathan D. Rosenbloom, William Snape, Anastasia Telesetsky, Gerald Torres, Elizabeth Ann Kronk Warner, Audra Wilson

Faculty Scholarship

In 2015, the United Nations Member States, including the United States, unanimously approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be achieved by 2030. The SDGs are nonbinding; each nation is to implement them based on its own priorities and circumstances. This Article argues that the SDGs are a critical normative framework the United States should use to improve human quality of life, freedom, and opportunity by integrating economic and social development with environmental protection. It collects the recommendations of 22 experts on steps that the Biden-Harris Administration should take now to advance each of the SDGs. It is part of ...


Principles Of International Law And The Adoption Of A Market-Based Mechanism For Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Shipping, Hillary Aidun, Daniel J. Metzger, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Principles Of International Law And The Adoption Of A Market-Based Mechanism For Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Shipping, Hillary Aidun, Daniel J. Metzger, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

Emissions from shipping are a significant driver of human-induced climate change. International action to date has not succeeded in setting those emissions on a sustainable trajectory. The International Maritime Organization has committed to implementing an effective, international approach to tackle international shipping’s contribution to climate change.

This paper considers international law principles, exploring whether and how these principles may provide a basis for the IMO to address those contributions. The polluter pays principle, which counsels that whoever produces pollution should cover the costs their pollution imposes on others, is a doctrine of international law that offers strong support for ...


America's Zero Carbon Action Plan: Federal Legislative And Administrative Framework, John C. Dernbach, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

America's Zero Carbon Action Plan: Federal Legislative And Administrative Framework, John C. Dernbach, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter sets out proposed federal laws and policies for America's Zero Carbon Action Plan, a comprehensive report on how to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. This chapter sets forth recommendations for all four pillars of deep decarbonization – electricity decarbonization, energy efficiency and conservation, electrification of transportation and buildings, and carbon capture. It is supplemented with recommendations for significant reductions in emissions of non-carbon dioxide pollutants, as well as for changes in foreign policy. Each set of recommendations is accompanied by an explanation of the underlying strategy for the proposed changes.


Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement And Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Romany M. Webb, Korey Silverman-Roati, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement And Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges And Opportunities, Romany M. Webb, Korey Silverman-Roati, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

This paper explores two ocean-based carbon dioxide removal strategies – ocean alkalinity enhancement and seaweed cultivation. Ocean alkalinity enhancement involves adding alkalinity to ocean waters, either by discharging alkaline rocks or through an electrochemical process, which increases ocean pH levels and thereby enables greater uptake of carbon dioxide, as well as reducing the adverse impacts of ocean acidification. Seaweed cultivation involves the growing of kelp and other macroalgae to store carbon in biomass, which can then either be used to replace more greenhouse gas-intensive products or sequestered.

This paper also examines the international and U.S. legal frameworks that apply to ...


Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2021

Presidential Progress On Climate Change: Will The Courts Interfere With What Needs To Be Done To Save Our Planet?, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The Biden Administration is undertaking numerous actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels as part of the fight against climate change. Many of these actions are likely to be challenged in court. This paper describes the various legal theories that are likely to be used in these challenges, assesses their prospects of success given the current composition of the Supreme Court, and suggests ways to minimize the risks.


For Coöperation And The Abolition Of Capital, Or, How To Get Beyond Our Extractive Punitive Society And Achieve A Just Society, Bernard E. Harcourt Jan 2020

For Coöperation And The Abolition Of Capital, Or, How To Get Beyond Our Extractive Punitive Society And Achieve A Just Society, Bernard E. Harcourt

Faculty Scholarship

In hindsight, the term "capitalism" was always a misnomer, coined paradoxically by its critics in the nineteenth century. The term misleadingly suggests that the existence of capital produces a unique economic system or that capital itself is governed by economic laws. But that's an illusion. In truth, we do not live today in a system in which capital dictates our economic circumstances. Instead, we live under the tyranny of what I would call "tournament dirigisme": a type of state-directed gladiator sport where our political leaders bestow spoils on the wealthy, privileged elite.

We need to displace this tournament dirigisme ...


Emergency Exemptions From Environmental Laws, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2020

Emergency Exemptions From Environmental Laws, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

The national response to the coronavirus crisis may face several impediments but federal and state environmental laws should not be among them. Most of these laws have emergency exemptions that allow the usual (and sometimes lengthy) procedures to be bypassed, and some substantive requirements to be waived, in instances of true urgency. However, there is concern that some agencies and corporations will use this as an excuse to bypass environmental laws that aren’t actually getting in the way of responses to the crisis.


Legal Pathways To Deep Decarbonization In The United States, Michael B. Gerrard, John C. Dernbach Jan 2019

Legal Pathways To Deep Decarbonization In The United States, Michael B. Gerrard, John C. Dernbach

Faculty Scholarship

Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States provides a “legal playbook” for deep decarbonization in the United States, identifying well over 1,000 legal options for enabling the United States to address one of the greatest problems facing this country and the rest of humanity.

The book is based on two reports by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) that explain technical and policy pathways for reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. This 80x50 target and similarly aggressive carbon abatement goals are often referred to as deep decarbonization, distinguished ...


Will International Law Save Us From Climate Disasters, Michael B. Gerrard Jan 2014

Will International Law Save Us From Climate Disasters, Michael B. Gerrard

Faculty Scholarship

I am going to address the role of international law in dealing with disasters that can be caused or worsened by climate change.


Recovery For Economic Loss Following The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 1994

Recovery For Economic Loss Following The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

The physical cleanup following one of the worst oil spills in history, that of the Exxon Valdez, is done. The legal cleanup, however, has barely begun. Over 100 law firms participating in over 200 suits in federal and state courts involving more than 30,000 claims are presently engaged in litigation. Fishermen, cannery workers, fishing lodges, tour boat operators, oil companies whose shipments were delayed, and even California motorists facing higher gasoline prices have filed claims against Exxon and its fellow defendants.

Most claimants face a formidable roadblock, the so-called Robins doctrine. Under Robins Dry Dock & Repair Co. v. Flint ...