Category Archives: Climate Change

Are we adapting to climate change? (L.Berrang-Ford, et al)

Author(s)

Lea Berrang-Ford, James D. Ford and Jaclyn Paterson (McGill University)

Keywords

Climate change; Global adaptation; Systematic review; Indicators; Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC

Abstract

Human systems will have to adapt to climate change. Understanding of the magnitude of the adaptation challenge at a global scale, however, is incomplete, constrained by a limited understanding of if and how adaptation is taking place. Here we develop and apply a methodology to track and characterize adaptation action; we apply these methods to the peer-reviewed, English-language literature. Our results challenge a number of common assumptions about adaptation while supporting others: (1) Considerable research on adaptation has been conducted yet the majority of studies report on vulnerability assessments and natural systems (or intentions to act), not adaptation actions. (2) Climate change is rarely the sole or primary motivator for adaptation action. (3) Extreme events are important adaptation stimuli across regions. (4) Proactive adaptation is the most commonly reported adaptive response, particularly in developed nations. (5) Adaptation action is more frequently reported in developed nations, with middle income countries underrepresented and low-income regions dominated by reports from a small number of countries. (6) There is limited reporting on adaptations being developed to take advantage of climate change or focusing on women, elderly, or children.

Citation

(2011) 21(1) Global Environmental Change 25-33

Paper

Are we adapting to climate change?

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Standing and global warming: is injury to all injury to none? (M. Bradford)

Author

Mank Bradford

Keywords

Global warming; access to justice; standing (locus standi); environmental law

Abstract

Since global warming potentially affects everyone in the world, does any individual have standing to sue the U.S. EPA or other federal agencies to force them to address climate change issues? Suits addressing global warming raise difficult standing questions because some Supreme Court decisions have stated or implied that courts should not allow standing for plaintiffs who file suits alleging general injuries to the public at large because the political branches of government – Congress and the executive branch – are better equipped to resolve such issues. There is a better argument, however, for courts to recognize standing for plaintiffs who suffer “concrete” mass injuries, including any physical harms that are more likely than not caused by global warming. Under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), courts should use a “reasonable possibility” standard to determine whether a federal agency must discuss the possible impact of its actions on global warming. In 2003, the EPA concluded that the Clean Air Act does not give the Agency authority to regulate carbon dioxide, although several states are challenging that conclusion. Even if the EPA cannot regulate carbon dioxide directly, there is a strong argument that the Agency must consider carbon dioxide emissions when new power plants apply for a permit under the new source review process. Under the Administrative Procedure Act and general standing principles, a plaintiff who suffers small, but tangible injuries should have standing under the Clean Air Act.

Citation

(2005) 35 Enviromental Law.

Paper

Standing and global warming: is injury to all injury to none?

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Tackling Climate Change at the Local Level: Constitutional Challenges … (M. O’Brien and S. Fathi)

Author(s)

Mike O’Brien and Sahar Fathi

Keywords

GHG emissions; Building sector, Legislation

Abstract

This article discusses Seattle’s attempts to reduce GHG emissions from the building sector, analyzing the potential application of Utility Bill Financing and PACE programs. The article next analyzes the constitutional hurdles that threaten to impede energy efficiency financing, looking in particular at HB 2853. Finally the article concludes by stating the case for the passage of legislation like HB 2853, and reiterating the ability of cities like Seattle to effectively implement a Utility Bill Financing program.

Citation

(2011) 1 Seattle Journal of Environmental Law

Paper

Tackling Climate Change at the Local Level: Constitutional Challenges to Housing Efficiency Legislation in Washington

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Forests, climate change and human rights: managing risks and trade-offs (F. Seymour)

Author

Frances Seymour

Keywords

Tropical deforestation, international agenda, human rights, climate change, forest governance, mitigation of forest-based emissions, procedural rights, Aarhus Convention, justice and equity, risks, trade-offs

Abstract

Following the decline over the years of interest relating to tropical deforestation, that was highlighted at the Rio Conference in 1992 (UNCEC), in recent years it has seemingly reappeared on the international agenda as has linked overwhelmingly to climate change. The Stern Review (2007) asserted that controlling deforestation was ‘one of the least expensive strategies for reducing emissions’ and subsequently reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation (REDD) is a focal point of global and national mitigation strategies. Aside from the environmental consequences of deforestation management of tropical forests is relevant to human rights owing, in part, to many of the world’s poorest people being dependent on forests for their survival and livelihoods. Unclear property rights, the absence of public scrutiny and historically repressive state actions are all socio-economic characteristics that contribute to climate change whilst infringing human rights. This article/chapter acts as an overview concerning the interconnection of deforestation, climate change and human rights issues.

Citation

Frances Seymour, Human Rights and Climate Change (CUP, Cambride 2010), Ch. 7, 207.

Paper

Forests, climate change, and human rights: managing risks and trade-offs.

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