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Full-Text Articles in Law

On Environmental, Climate Change & National Security Law, Mark P. Nevitt Oct 2020

On Environmental, Climate Change & National Security Law, Mark P. Nevitt

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This Article offers a new way to think about climate change. Two new climate change assessments — the 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA) and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel’s Special Report on Climate Change — prominently highlight climate change’s multifaceted national security risks. Indeed, not only is climate change a “super wicked” environmental problem, it also accelerates existing national security threats, acting as both a “threat accelerant” and “catalyst for conflict.” Further, climate change increases the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events while threatening nations’ territorial integrity and sovereignty through rising sea levels. It causes both internal displacement …


Environmental Soft Law As A Governance Strategy, Cary Coglianese Oct 2020

Environmental Soft Law As A Governance Strategy, Cary Coglianese

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Soft law governance relies on nongovernmental institutions that establish and implement voluntary standards. Compared with traditional hard law solutions to societal and economic problems, soft law alternatives promise to be more politically feasible to establish and then easier to adapt in the face of changing circumstances. They may also seem more likely to be flexible in what they demand of targeted businesses and other entities. But can soft law actually work to solve major problems? This Article considers the value of soft law governance through the lens of three major voluntary, nongovernmental initiatives that address environmental concerns: (1) ISO 14001 …


Deploying Machine Learning For A Sustainable Future, Cary Coglianese May 2020

Deploying Machine Learning For A Sustainable Future, Cary Coglianese

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To meet the environmental challenges of a warming planet and an increasingly complex, high tech economy, government must become smarter about how it makes policies and deploys its limited resources. It specifically needs to build a robust capacity to analyze large volumes of environmental and economic data by using machine-learning algorithms to improve regulatory oversight, monitoring, and decision-making. Three challenges can be expected to drive the need for algorithmic environmental governance: more problems, less funding, and growing public demands. This paper explains why algorithmic governance will prove pivotal in meeting these challenges, but it also presents four likely obstacles that …


Decarbonization In Democracy, Shelley Welton Jan 2020

Decarbonization In Democracy, Shelley Welton

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Conventional wisdom holds that democracy is structurally ill-equipped to confront climate change. As the story goes, because each of us tends to dismiss consequences that befall people in other places and in future times, “the people” cannot be trusted to craft adequate decarbonization policies, designed to reduce present-day, domestic carbon emissions. Accordingly, U.S. climate change policy has focused on technocratic fixes that operate predominantly through executive action to escape democratic politics — with vanishingly little to show for it after a change in presidential administration. To help craft a more durable U.S. climate change strategy, this Article scrutinizes the purported …


Transactional Scripts In Contract Stacks, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman Jan 2020

Transactional Scripts In Contract Stacks, Shaanan Cohney, David A. Hoffman

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Deals accomplished through software persistently residing on computer networks—sometimes called smart contracts, but better termed transactional scripts—embody a potentially revolutionary contracting innovation. Ours is the first precise account in the legal literature of how such scripts are created, and when they produce errors of legal significance.

Scripts’ most celebrated use case is for transactions operating exclusively on public, permissionless, blockchains: such exchanges eliminate the need for trusted intermediaries and seem to permit parties to commit ex ante to automated performance. But public transactional scripts are costly both to develop and execute, with significant fees imposed for data storage. Worse, bugs …


Regulation Of Algorithmic Tools In The United States, Christopher S. Yoo, Alicia Lai Jan 2020

Regulation Of Algorithmic Tools In The United States, Christopher S. Yoo, Alicia Lai

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Policymakers in the United States have just begun to address regulation of artificial intelligence technologies in recent years, gaining momentum through calls for additional research funding, piece-meal guidance, proposals, and legislation at all levels of government. This Article provides an overview of high-level federal initiatives for general artificial intelligence (AI) applications set forth by the U.S. president and responding agencies, early indications from the incoming Biden Administration, targeted federal initiatives for sector-specific AI applications, pending federal legislative proposals, and state and local initiatives. The regulation of the algorithmic ecosystem will continue to evolve as the United States continues to search …