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Category Archives: Environmental Law

The end of the Arctic as we know it?

A new report released at the International Conference on Arctic Science in the United States this week shows that profound changes are under way in the Arctic. Driven by increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases and a warming Arctic Ocean, these changes are so dramatic, and so rapid, that they are creating a new Arctic climate. The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), one of the Arctic Council’s six working groups, used the conference to launch its second Snow, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) report. The document assesses the current state of knowledge on the Arctic cryosphere (the portion of the earth’s surface that is seasonally or perennially frozen), the past, present and future trends and their implications. The assessment points to some major, and worrying, changes in the region. For a variety of reasons, the Arctic has been warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the world for the past 50 years and that’s having dramatic effects on the Arctic cryosphere. This rapid warming is reducing the extent of older, multi-year sea ice to 4 million km2 from around 7.5 million km2 in 1979. It is also shrinking glaciers, reducing snow cover, and thawing permafrost…”

Atlas of the Human Planet 2017 Global Exposure to Natural Hazards

European Commission (Free PDF) – “The Atlas of the Human Planet 2017. Global Exposure to Natural Hazards summarizes the global multi-temporal analysis of exposure to six major natural hazards: earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, floods, tropical cyclone winds, and sea level surge. The exposure focuses on human settlements assessed through two variables: the global built-up and the… Continue Reading

NOAA Fisheries Economics of US and ImprovedStatus of Stocks Reports

“Today, NOAA Fisheries announced the release of two new reports: the Annual Report to Congress on the Status of U.S. Fisheries and the 2015 Fisheries Economics of the United States Report. These reports highlight the continued rebuilding and recovery of U.S. fisheries and the broad economic impact of commercial and recreational fisheries on the U.S.… Continue Reading

Threats on Tap: Widespread Violations Highlight Need for Investment in Water Infrastructure and Protections

NRDC: “America has a drinking water crisis. An NRDC study has found that contaminants that may harm human health are found in tap water in every state in the nation. Established in 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act is one of our bedrock environmental laws, consisting of rules that regulate about 100 contaminants found in… Continue Reading

Climate change already forcing 17 U.S. communities to move, new analysis says

“…a new report, released (May 3) by the Center for Progressive Reform, lays out other ways for indigenous communities to buy land as their homes buckle from melting permafrost or are swallowed by rising seas. One of the report’s three authors, Loyola University law professor Robert R.M. Verchick, said he hopes that the analysis achieves two things: That… Continue Reading

New NOAA mapping tool – see how sea level rise will impact your specific local coastline

Sea Level Rise Viewer – NOAA Office for Coastal Management:  “Use this web mapping tool to visualize community-level impacts from coastal flooding or sea level rise (up to 6 feet above average high tides). Photo simulations of how future flooding might impact local landmarks are also provided, as well as data related to water depth,… Continue Reading

Courting Disaster: Climate Change and the Adjudication of Catastrophe

Weaver, R. Henry and Kysar, Douglas A., Courting Disaster: Climate Change and the Adjudication of Catastrophe (May 8, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2965084 “Do we court disaster by stretching the bounds of judicial authority to address problems of massive scale and complexity? Or does disaster lie in refusing to engage the jurisgenerative potential of courts… Continue Reading

Cardozo School of Law Trains Students as Advocates For Shifting Legal Landscape

“In response to unprecedented legal uncertainty in the first weeks of the Trump administration, Cardozo School of Law is offering new classes to prepare future lawyers for a shifting legal and political landscape…Cardozo School of Law is offering students a 10-week course called The First 100 Days: The Trump Administration and the Rule of Law.… Continue Reading

Chicago mayor Emanuel posts EPA’s deleted climate change page

Politico: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s response to the Trump administration pulling down its website detailing information about climate change: putting up his own. “The new section of the City of Chicago’s website, launched this weekend, pulls data from the archived Environmental Protection Agency page, noting, “while this information may not be readily available on the… Continue Reading

Sabin Center Launches Database of State Environmental Actions

Earth Institute: “The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has launched a new database to track environmental actions undertaken by state attorneys general. The center partnered with StateAG.org, a research and education website, to build the database, which includes legal actions initiated by state attorneys general against the federal government, private actors and other public… Continue Reading

The Nation’s Fiscal Health: Action is Needed to Address the Federal Government’s Fiscal Future

The Nation’s Fiscal Health: Action is Needed to Address the Federal Government’s Fiscal Future, GAO-17-579T: Published: May 3, 2017. Publicly Released: May 3, 2017. “A plan is needed to put the nation on a sustainable long-term fiscal path. But in the near-term, Congress and executive branch agencies have opportunities to improve the government’s fiscal condition,… Continue Reading

Report – Insurgency, Terrorism and Organised Crime in a Warming Climate

Nett, Katharina and Lukas Rüttinger 2016: Insurgency, Terrorism and Organised Crime in a Warming Climate. Analysing the Links Between Climate Change and Non-State Armed Groups. Berlin: adelphi. “Over the past ten years, both our understanding and awareness of the links between climate change and security have increased tremendously. Today the UN, the EU, the G7… Continue Reading