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Columbia Law School

2020

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Briefing Note: Aligning International Investment Agreements With The Sustainable Development Goals, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Nathan Lobel Nov 2020

Briefing Note: Aligning International Investment Agreements With The Sustainable Development Goals, Lise Johnson, Lisa E. Sachs, Nathan Lobel

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Policy makers and other stakeholders are currently asking fundamental questions about whether and to what extent international investment agreements (IIAs) are consistent with and are helping to advance sustainable development objectives at home and abroad.

A 2019 paper from CCSI examines the alignment of IIAs with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, arguing that while FDI will play an important role in advancing development outcomes, existing treaties must be reformed and future IIAs reimagined in order to achieve deep alignment with the sustainable development goals.

The paper proposes that IIAs should be designed and evaluated with respect to their ability to …


Draft Transparency Policy And Dfc Board Of Directors Public Engagement Policy, Kaitlin Y. Cordes Nov 2020

Draft Transparency Policy And Dfc Board Of Directors Public Engagement Policy, Kaitlin Y. Cordes

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Submission to the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) regarding its draft Transparency Policy and Board of Directors Public Engagement Policy (2020).


The Comet Framework: Greenhouse Gas Data Transparency To Enable The Success Of Eu Climate Policy, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Solina Kennedy Oct 2020

The Comet Framework: Greenhouse Gas Data Transparency To Enable The Success Of Eu Climate Policy, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Solina Kennedy

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

To further and fully understand how to plan for the decarbonization of mining value chains, we need better data on carbon and other greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, neither consumers, corporates, or financial institutions know the embodied emissions in the products they produce or sell. While methods like life-cycle analysis and environmental product declarations exist, none use a verifiable, comparable, or widely adopted emissions reporting framework capable of sending supply chain signals.

To truly reform material supply chains, new solutions for markets, capital, and policy are required. COMET (the Coalition on Materials Emissions Transparency)—an alliance launched at Davos in January …


Health Priorities For Sustainable Development, Lisa E. Sachs, Jeffrey D. Sachs Oct 2020

Health Priorities For Sustainable Development, Lisa E. Sachs, Jeffrey D. Sachs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The right to health has been repeatedly recognized as one of the core human rights, essential for human functioning, human dignity, economic well-being and development. But the right to health continues to elude hundreds of millions and with Covid-19, perhaps billions of people. Poverty remains the most critical obstacle to the realization of the right to health in developing countries. Achieving universal health coverage, before the additional costs of Covid-19, would require roughly $50 billion per year, approximately 0.1 percent of the GDP of the high-income OECD countries. Yet despite this broad understanding of the vicious cycle of poverty and …


Free, Prior And Informed Consent: Addressing Political Realities To Improve Impact, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Leila Kazemi Oct 2020

Free, Prior And Informed Consent: Addressing Political Realities To Improve Impact, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Leila Kazemi

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Indigenous and Tribal peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) has transformative potential. Yet, there is a considerable gap between the theory and what happens in practice. Global actors supporting recognition of FPIC and effective prior consultation processes usually focus on normative standards and best practices. They concentrate much less on addressing the political challenges and opportunities that shape how these processes unfold.

With funding from the Ford Foundation, we looked at the politics of FPIC in Latin America, analyzing how the power and interests of the key players–across governments, companies and indigenous peoples–can determine the fate of …


Equipping The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation For The Low-Carbon Transition: How Are Other National Oil Companies Adapting?, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Francisco Javier Pardinas Favela Sep 2020

Equipping The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation For The Low-Carbon Transition: How Are Other National Oil Companies Adapting?, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Francisco Javier Pardinas Favela

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation’s (NNPC) persistent governance challenges have both hampered Nigeria’s oil sector development and deprived the country of public resources. The oil, climate, and COVID-19 crises and the ramp-up of the low-carbon transition exacerbate this reality, with the national oil company (NOC) delivering sub-optimal returns to its stakeholders.

Other NOCs have taken meaningful steps to become players in the low-carbon energy transition domestically or in­ternationally – for example, Sau­di Arabia’s Saudi Aramco, Norway’s Equinor, Brazil’s Petrobras, Malaysia’s Petronas, and Algeria’s Sonatrach. These NOCs can serve as sources of inspiration for NNPC. These five NOCs have also undergone …


Getting The Most Out Of Extractive Industries Transparency: How A More Explicit Treatment Of Political Considerations Could Strengthen The Impact Of Transparency Efforts, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Sep 2020

Getting The Most Out Of Extractive Industries Transparency: How A More Explicit Treatment Of Political Considerations Could Strengthen The Impact Of Transparency Efforts, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Work on transparency in the extractive industries (EI) has achieved important successes over the last two decades. For example, significant commitments to disclosure have been secured, the volume of publicly available information about critical activities has increased considerably, and norms around certain information being in the public domain have been established. There is also a growing library of use cases for this information. Nonetheless, important work remains to be done to translate these efforts into impact.

Political context is crucial to determining the fate of transparency efforts. Therefore, grappling with political context more effectively will also be key to unlocking …


Don’T Throw Caution To The Wind: In The Green Energy Transition, Not All Critical Minerals Will Be Goldmines, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Solina Kennedy, Howard Mann Jul 2020

Don’T Throw Caution To The Wind: In The Green Energy Transition, Not All Critical Minerals Will Be Goldmines, Perrine Toledano, Martin Dietrich Brauch, Solina Kennedy, Howard Mann

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The green energy transition will be exceedingly mineral intensive. Manufacturing solar panels, wind turbine and batteries to power cleaner energies is set to significantly increase the demand for co-called “critical” minerals. Such a forecast prompts high expectations in mineral-rich countries and suggests promising opportunities for developing countries.

However, the projects to increase the primary extraction of critical minerals rest on bullish forecasts and uncertain terrain due to a number of factors explored in the paper that threaten to leave these investments obsolete and economically stranded.

Governments, international actors, and mining advocates seeking to optimize the value of green energy mineral …


Investment Promotion And Facilitation For Sustainable Development, Brooke Guven Jul 2020

Investment Promotion And Facilitation For Sustainable Development, Brooke Guven

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Investment is a critical component of sustainable development. In particular, under the right conditions, foreign direct investment (FDI) can improve economic growth and living standards, create jobs, transfer technology and know-how and result in supply chain upgrading. However, its benefits are not automatic, and, if not carefully governed, investment can result in harm to the environment, labour standards and lead to tax evasion or other undesirable outcomes. Investment promotion and investment facilitation, in turn, can help states attract, expand and retain FDI.


Modern Provisions In Investment Treaties, Jesse Coleman Jul 2020

Modern Provisions In Investment Treaties, Jesse Coleman

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Governments are pursuing substantive and procedural reform of the international investment regime in recognition that there are fundamental, systemic, and interrelated concerns about current approaches to investment governance, and that current approaches have failed to meet their purported objectives.

A vast majority of the 1,023 publicly-known treaty-based claims have been brought under “old-generation” treaties. In 2018, for example, 60% of such claims were brought under treaties originally concluded in the 1990s or earlier, and all but one was filed under a pre-2011 treaty. These old-generation treaties include vague and far-reaching obligations for states, generally do not include any reference to …


Submission To Bonsucro Re Production Standard V5 (2019-21), Nami Patel, Sam Szoke-Burke Jul 2020

Submission To Bonsucro Re Production Standard V5 (2019-21), Nami Patel, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

In July 2020, CCSI made a formal submission to Bonsucro, an international multi-stakeholder initiative and certification scheme concerned with promoting sustainable sugar cane production. The submission formed part of consultations for Bonsucro’s draft Production Standard version 5. CCSI’s submission focused on challenges associated with implementing, and auditing for compliance with, three aspects of Bonsucro’s draft standard, namely:

  • Obtaining the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous and traditional communities when establishing or expanding sugar production operations
  • Implementing transparent and participatory processes to assess, monitor, and evaluate the environmental and social impacts of new and existing projects; and
  • Establishing accessible …


Incorporating Free, Prior And Informed Consent (Fpic) Into Investment Approval Processes, Kelly Dudine, Sam Szoke-Burke Jul 2020

Incorporating Free, Prior And Informed Consent (Fpic) Into Investment Approval Processes, Kelly Dudine, Sam Szoke-Burke

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Investment approval processes are the gateway through which governments set the agenda for their country’s investment environment. Yet too often these processes fail to incorporate meaningful requirements regarding participation in decision-making by Indigenous and other affected communities, increasing the risk of under-performing and conflict-ridden investments.

Enabling meaningful participation by rights holders and obtaining and maintaining their Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) throughout different investment approval processes can help governments to fulfill their legal obligations, mitigate financial and political risk, and, ultimately, attract more sustainable land-based investments.

Featuring concrete guidance and drawing on case studies from Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, Peru, …


Mechanisms For Consultation And Free, Prior And Informed Consent In The Negotiation Of Investment Contracts, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes Jun 2020

Mechanisms For Consultation And Free, Prior And Informed Consent In The Negotiation Of Investment Contracts, Sam Szoke-Burke, Kaitlin Y. Cordes

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Investor-state contracts are regularly used in low-and middle-income countries to grant concessions for land-based and natural resource investments, such as agricultural, extractive industry, forestry, or renewable energy projects. These contracts are rarely negotiated in the presence of, or with meaningful input from, the people who risk being adversely affected by the project. This practice will usually risk violating requirements for meaningful consultation, and, where applicable, free, prior and informed consent (FPIC), and is particularly concerning when the investor-state contract gives the investor company rights to lands or resources over which local communities have legitimate claims.

This article explores how consultation …


Best Practices In Data Driven Development Planning In Mining Regions, Nicolas Maennling, Josefina Correa Jun 2020

Best Practices In Data Driven Development Planning In Mining Regions, Nicolas Maennling, Josefina Correa

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Strategic development planning has long been used by private and public sectors to guide actions that will lead to a determined goal in the medium- to long-term. The SDG framework has helped to create a common language of what development means, what the global objectives are by 2030, and how progress can be measured. With the world entering an era in which data is generated and used at an unprecedented scale, data and ICT systems should be used to better inform policy decision making and help evaluate progress to hold stakeholders accountable to their promises and performance. This report outlines …


Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment Apr 2020

Comment On Us Trade And Investment Agreements Submitted To Ustr, Columbia Center On Sustainable Investment

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Comments to USTR Re: U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement (April 28, 2020): CCSI, in response to the United States Trade Representative’s request for public comment to inform its approach to a U.S.-Kenya Trade Agreement, submitted Comments elaborating on our main points that (1) investor-state dispute settlement should not be included in any U.S.-Kenya agreement and (2) principles that should guide an investment chapter or investment provisions in any such agreement should (a) strategically support cross-border investment that produces positive development outcomes for the U.S. and Kenya, (b) facilitate and support good governance of investment projects, and (c) enhance cooperation to solve challenges …


A Review Of Sierra Leone’S Mines And Minerals Act, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Sophie Thomashausen Mar 2020

A Review Of Sierra Leone’S Mines And Minerals Act, Tehtena Mebratu-Tsegaye, Perrine Toledano, Sophie Thomashausen

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

With the support of Oxfam, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment reviewed select provisions in the Mines and Minerals Act 2009 and corresponding policy statements from the Minerals Policy 2018 to provide recommendations for how to best align the anticipated new mining law with international best practice. The 2009 law was reviewed with a focus on the following topics:

  • Fiscal regime;
  • Climate change;
  • Access to and use of land;
  • Community consultations and participation;
  • Human rights; and
  • Community development agreements.

The policy brief aims to support the Government of Sierra Leone in the ongoing law reform process.


Preparing Legal Frameworks For Environmental Disasters: Practical Considerations For Host States, Brooke Guven, Perrine Toledano, Lise Johnson Feb 2020

Preparing Legal Frameworks For Environmental Disasters: Practical Considerations For Host States, Brooke Guven, Perrine Toledano, Lise Johnson

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Projects in the extractives sector carry risks of lasting, and sometimes irreversible, damage to the environment. Nonetheless, these projects are important for accelerating the economic development of host countries. Governments seeking to mitigate the adverse effects of foreign investment often face pushback from investors that are unwilling to change their practices in order to avert environmental disaster. This report sets forth certain steps that host-governments can take during the pre-investment, operation, and enforcement phases of extractives projects to provide financial and other protection in the context of environmental disasters associated with private sector investments.

Upon comparative review of five Case …


Electric Utility Alignment With The Sdgs & The Paris Climate Agreement, Perrine Toledano, Aniket Shah, Nicolas Maennling, Ryan J. Lasnick Feb 2020

Electric Utility Alignment With The Sdgs & The Paris Climate Agreement, Perrine Toledano, Aniket Shah, Nicolas Maennling, Ryan J. Lasnick

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda poses a unique and critical challenge to the energy sector: how to scale access to clean energy to power sustainable, economic development for a growing population, while simultaneously decarbonizing global energy supply. Expanding access to clean energy will play a crucial role in achieving nearly every one of the Sustainable Development Goals, including those related to agricultural production, health outcomes, educational performance, water systems, access to infrastructure, and reducing inequalities. However, practices by some actors in the energy sector, and continued over-reliance on greenhouse gas-intensive fossil fuels also undermine global efforts to mitigate climate change …


Sabin Center Diversity, Equity, Inclusion And Anti-Racism Plan, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law Jan 2020

Sabin Center Diversity, Equity, Inclusion And Anti-Racism Plan, Sabin Center For Climate Change Law

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

The climate crisis is a crisis of unprecedented scope and scale. It arises from everywhere, and impacts everyone. But some – some countries, some companies, some communities, some individuals – are more responsible than others; and some are more impacted, and more vulnerable, than others. Climate change has made clear that diversity increases the power of potential solutions and the resilience to adverse impacts – for ecosystems, social systems, economic systems and their various hybrids and combinations. At the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law we believe that by creating and fostering a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion, and anti-racism, …


Trump Impeachment Trials: Mcgahn Supboena And Congressional Oversight, Rebecca Darin Goldberg Jan 2020

Trump Impeachment Trials: Mcgahn Supboena And Congressional Oversight, Rebecca Darin Goldberg

Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity (Inactive)

A panel of three D.C. Circuit judges rejected the House Judiciary Committee’s request for testimony from Don McGahn, former White House Counsel, finding that the Committee lacked Article III standing to enforce a congressional subpoena in federal court. Framing the issue as one of separation of powers, the court declined to intervene in what it described as a purely political dispute between the executive and legislative branches. The ruling was a significant setback for the House in their efforts to force the Trump administration to comply with Congressional subpoenas and to yield to Congressional oversight more generally. Interestingly, in March, …


The Law Of Enhanced Weathering For Carbon Dioxide Removal, Romany M. Webb Jan 2020

The Law Of Enhanced Weathering For Carbon Dioxide Removal, Romany M. Webb

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Despite scientists’ dire warnings about the catastrophic impacts of climate change, the greenhouse gases that cause it continue to be emitted in substantial amounts. While there is no question that deep, across the board cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are essential, many scientists now agree that simply cutting future emissions will not be enough. It will also be necessary to remove previously-emitted greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This paper explores one greenhouse gas removal technique – enhanced weathering – which involves spreading finely ground silicate rocks or other materials with similar chemical composition over land or ocean waters. The materials …


When Politics Trump Science: The Erosion Of Science-Based Regulation, Romany M. Webb, Lauren Kurtz, Susan Rosenthal Jan 2020

When Politics Trump Science: The Erosion Of Science-Based Regulation, Romany M. Webb, Lauren Kurtz, Susan Rosenthal

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Science is science and facts are facts. My administration will ensure that there will be total [scientific] transparency and accountability without political bias.” That was the promise made in September 2016 by then-candidate Donald Trump when asked how he would protect federal scientists from political interference in their work. Since taking office, however, President Trump has led a concerted effort to undermine federal scientific research, particularly in areas where research findings contradict his own views or undermine the basis of his deregulatory agenda.

That effort is documented in the Silencing Science Tracker, an online database that records anti-science actions taken …


Climate Recommendations For A New Democratic President And A New Congress: A Compilation, Clara Grieder, Jordan Gerow Jan 2020

Climate Recommendations For A New Democratic President And A New Congress: A Compilation, Clara Grieder, Jordan Gerow

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Congress has not enacted a major new environmental law since 1990, when President George H.W. Bush signed the Clean Air Act Amendments and the Oil Pollution Act. He also supported, and the Senate ratified, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1992. The administration of President Bill Clinton supported the Kyoto Protocol, which was designed to achieve the objectives of the Framework Convention, but could not secure Senate ratification. President George W. Bush rejected the Kyoto Protocol and many other actions on climate change. President Barack Obama supported action on climate change; when he was unable to secure …


How Agency Science Is Under Threat, Romany M. Webb Jan 2020

How Agency Science Is Under Threat, Romany M. Webb

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

The Environmental Protection Agency has a tradition of scientific excellence. EPA has led groundbreaking research on acid rain, lead, chemical safety, and many other public health and environmental issues.

However, in the last four budget cycles, the Trump administration has proposed slashing funding for EPA research programs. When Congress has refused, administration officials have sought to prevent, hide, and discredit research in other ways. They have been remarkably successful despite the existence of agency policies designed to protect researchers against political interference.


Legal Tools For Achieving Low Traffic Zones (Ltzs): Lez, Ulez & Congestion Pricing In The U.S. Law Context, Amy E. Turner Jan 2020

Legal Tools For Achieving Low Traffic Zones (Ltzs): Lez, Ulez & Congestion Pricing In The U.S. Law Context, Amy E. Turner

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Cities around the world are looking to reduce greenhouse gas and other emissions from vehicles through the use of low emission zones and congestion pricing. These strategies have been employed to great success abroad, including in central London, where both congestion pricing and fees and restrictions on higheremitting vehicles are in effect. In the U.S. law context, these policy approaches give rise to significant legal issues that have not been well-explored. This Article proposes that these policy approaches be called “Low Traffic Zones” (LTZs), and surveys those legal considerations. The areas of law explored are: (1) potential for preemption of …


The Law And Science Of Climate Change Attribution, Michael Burger, Jessica A. Wentz, Radley Horton Jan 2020

The Law And Science Of Climate Change Attribution, Michael Burger, Jessica A. Wentz, Radley Horton

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

There is overwhelming scientific agreement that human activities are changing the global climate system and these changes are already affecting human and natural systems. The observational record shows that the planet is getting significantly warmer, with eighteen of the nineteen warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Other observed changes include rising sea levels, ocean warming and acidification, melting sea ice, thawing permafrost, increases in the frequency and severity of extreme events, and a variety of impacts on people, communities, and ecosystems. There are multiple lines of evidence linking these changes to anthropogenic influence on climate.


Executive Summary On Ensuring Economic Viability And Sustainability Of Coffee Production, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, James Rising, Perrine Toledano, Nicolas Maennling Jan 2020

Executive Summary On Ensuring Economic Viability And Sustainability Of Coffee Production, Jeffrey D. Sachs, Kaitlin Y. Cordes, James Rising, Perrine Toledano, Nicolas Maennling

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Coffee, the world’s favorite beverage, provides livelihoods for at least 60 million people across dozens of countries. Yet this beloved drink is experiencing a sustainability crisis. A sustained decline in world coffee prices has squeezed coffee producers, and thrown a tremendous number of producers below the global extreme poverty line of US$1.90 per day. This briefing note presents our research into sustainability within the coffee sector, including the results of our analytical and empirical modeling, and provides several recommendations.


Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine Human Rights Related To The Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill Jan 2020

Environmental Injustice: How Treaties Undermine Human Rights Related To The Environment, Lisa E. Sachs, Lise Johnson, Ella Merrill

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment Staff Publications

Growing cries for action to effectively address the climate and other environmental crises hold important implications for the governance of cross-border investments. Policymakers and environmental advocates have often overlooked how provisions granted by states in international investment agreements (IIAs) have been used by investors to challenge government measures taken in the public interest to protect the environment and advance environmental justice.

This 2019 paper, published in the Sciences Po Legal Review issue devoted to the climate crisis, explains how the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism, made available to investors in thousands of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements, may …


Legal Levers For Cleaner Air In Kolkata: An Assessment Of Local Legal Authority, Ama Francis Jan 2020

Legal Levers For Cleaner Air In Kolkata: An Assessment Of Local Legal Authority, Ama Francis

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

Air pollution in India results in significant adverse health and environmental outcomes. Only 16% of the population lives in an area that meets India’s national air quality standards, and less than 1% lives in an area that meets international guidelines for air quality. In 2015, air pollution resulted in 1.1 million deaths nation-wide. If the World Health Organization’s air quality standard was met, Indian life expectancy would increase by 5.2 years. The state of West Bengal, wherein Kolkata is located, faces some of the highest exposures to air pollution in the country, making local interventions there critical.

In recent years, …


Climate Change, Coming Soon To A Court Near You – Report Three: National Climate Change Legal Frameworks In Asia And The Pacific, Dena Adler, Hillary Aidun, Michael Burger, Ama Francis, Briony Eales, Maria Cecilia T. Sicango Jan 2020

Climate Change, Coming Soon To A Court Near You – Report Three: National Climate Change Legal Frameworks In Asia And The Pacific, Dena Adler, Hillary Aidun, Michael Burger, Ama Francis, Briony Eales, Maria Cecilia T. Sicango

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

National legal and policy frameworks underpin international climate action because they are the backbone of domestic responses to the climate emergency. Unless they support global objectives, local climate action stalls. Concerned by sluggish national responses to climate change or injured by its impacts, citizens are filing lawsuits, making courts central to national climate governance. To adjudicate these lawsuits, courts require current information about their climate change legal and policy frameworks. This report provides holistic syntheses of the climate legal and policy frameworks of 32 countries in Asia and the Pacific and discusses key legislative trends and climate-relevant constitutional rights.