Category Archives: Ecological Footprint

The Paradox of the Future in Contemporary Energy Policy: A Human Rights Analysis (D. M. Smolin)

Author

David. M. Smolin

Keywords

human rights, energy policy, environmental damage, ecological damage, energy demand, energy technologies

Excerpt

As the world heads toward a projected 9 billion people by 2050, 2 there are fundamental questions about how to provide an adequate and sustainable standard of living for the world’s population. As a matter of human rights, the creation and provision of an adequate standard of living is fundamental. 3 As a practical matter, preparing to meet the projected needs of these future generations is one of the fundamental challenges of this generation and time.

Energy is a fundamental component of meeting present and future economic needs, both because it is a very significant economic sector, and also because virtually all economic activity is dependent on the availability of energy, in one form or another. The availability and price of energy therefore deeply impacts the entire economy, and hence is critical to both present and future economic challenges. There is no way to create an adequate standard of living for human beings, including food, water, sanitation, clothing, housing, health care, education, transportation, and cultural activities, without adequate and inexpensive sources of energy. 4

The question is whether there will be adequate sources of energy, available at a reasonable cost, to meet future demand. A closely related question is the extent of ecological and environmental damage that would be produced by the energy technologies used to meet this energy demand. Such damage is a matter of concern both for the sake of the environment and earth itself, and also due to negative effects of ecological and …

Citation

(2010) 40 Cumberland Law Rev. 135

Paper

The Paradox of the Future in Contemporary Energy Policy: A Human Rights Analysis

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The Janus-Head of Human Rights and Climate Change: Adaptation and Mitigation (O. W. Pedersen)

Author(s)

Ole W. Pedersen

Keywords

Climate Change, Human Rights, Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation, Clean Development Mechanism, Kyoto Protocol, Risk Assessment, Adaptation, Mitigation

Abstract

This article examines the role human rights instruments play when states seek to adopt regulatory initiatives in the name of addressing climate change. The article argues that a series of important restrictions exist. Governments responding to climate change need to take into account existing human rights. This observation is particularly relevant for countries implementing Reduction of Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) projects and for countries taking part in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects under the Kyoto Protocol. The article likewise argues that special human rights obligations arise in relation to the risks associated with climate change. These place on states a responsibility to secure risk assessment and risk communication while taking steps to mitigate climate change-associated risks. While the article considers these requirements to constitute an absolute minimum, it is argued that they can offer a way of securing that national governments are accountable when it comes to climate change responses. On the other hand, it will be shown that these human rights restrictions will sometimes have the potential to run counter to the adoption of effective climate change responses.

Citation

(2011) 80 Nordic Journal of International law 403-423

Paper

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Business Enterprises and the Environment: Corporate Environmental Responsibility (K.D. Jesse, E.V. Koppe)

Authors

Katinka Danielle Jesse and Erik V. Koppe

Keyword

Corporate Environmental Responsibility, Environmental Due Diligence, Environmental CSR, Business enterprises and the environment, Environmental complement to Ruggie Framework

Abstract

In 2011, following his 2005 initial mandate of the UN Commission on Human Rights and his extended 2008 mandate of the UN Human Rights Council, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on the issues of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, professor John Ruggie, issued the final text of the “Guiding Principles for the Implementation of the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework’’’. The 2008 Framework on Business and Human Rights and the complementing 2011 Guiding Principles consist of three pillars: the duty of states to protect human rights, the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights, and access to remedies for victims of human rights abuses. They currently qualify as the dominant paradigm in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) discourse, also because they now form part of various soft law and self-regulation initiatives. The Framework and Guiding Principles do not however specifically focus on environmental issues. But their systematic approach and structure do provide a model to address state duties and business responsibilities to care of the environment. This article is intended to complement the UN Framework and Guiding Principles on business and human rights with principles in the field of business and the environment. Hence, it is submitted that states have a customary duty to care for the environment (paragraph 2); it is similarly submitted that business enterprises have a responsibility to care for the environment (paragraph 3); and it is submitted that stakeholders must have access to remedies in relation to breaches of these duties and responsibilities (paragraph 4).

Citation

Jesse, K.D., Koppe, E.V., Business Enterprises and the Environment: Corporate Environmental Responsibility / Grotius Centre Working Paper 2014/036-SDL (2013) 4 The Dovenschmidt Quarterly December 176-189

Paper

Business Enterprises and the Environment: Corporate Environmental Responsibility

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Gandhi’s Nightmare: Bhopal and the Need for a Mindful Jurisprudence (N. A. Patel, K. Petlakh)

Authors

Nehal A. Patel and Ksenia Petlakh

Keywords

mindful, legal theory, non-western, Gandhi, jurisprudence, transnational, international, human rights, environment, corporation, industrial

Abstract

For decades, activists and academics have been lamenting the disparate impact of global environmental decay on populations less endowed with legal resources. However, the implicit biases of legal theory itself remain unchallenged even when global resource disparities are addressed. Little attention has been given in transnational jurisprudence to how the thought sub structures of modern legal theory contain dispositions that advantage privileged interests and hamper transnational environmental justice efforts.

How can transnational jurisprudence change to become more mindful of the environmental impacts disproportionately experienced by the disempowered, and what conception of global society shall the law embody such that it earns the voluntary submission of the people? We explore these questions with a speculation on how Gandhi’s thought applies to transnational environmental jurisprudence. Gandhi’s thought contains four components that contain the necessary ingredients to evaluate the dominant frames that debilitate global environmental justice efforts. First, Gandhi presented his own construction of the individual’s relationship to the physical and social environments. Second, Gandhi’s thought defines the relationships between societies in a way that is free of Western assumptions of global governance. Third, his thought contains a critique of industrialization and presents a powerful alternative. Fourth, his thought contains a reconstruction of the purpose and function of law and legal systems for a world in which “progress” includes social equality and environmental protection. Comprehensively, Gandhi’s thought reinvigorates a decayed relationship between global environmental justice and transnational environmental jurisprudence by simultaneously redefining the human-environment relationship, legal theory, and dominant Western assumptions of the relationships between nations.

We directly apply Gandhi’s thought to the case law that resulted from the Bhopal chemical disaster, which is widely considered the worst industrial disaster in world history. Applying Gandhi’s thought to the Bhopal cases is useful for two reasons. First, the Bhopal cases contain several core legal doctrines that appear regularly in transnational cases. Second, there is a profound power imbalance between the civilians and the corporation that highlights the case’s relevance to global environmental justice. Through our analysis of the legal principles and the parties’ arguments in this case law, we illustrate our conception of a mindful jurisprudence of the transnational environment.

Citation

N. A. Patel and K. Petlakh, Gandhi’s Nightmare: Bhopal and the Need for a Mindful Jurisprudence (2014) Vol. 30, Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice

Paper

Gandhi’s Nightmare: Bhopal and the Need for a Mindful Jurisprudence

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Transnational Corporations and Human Rights Violations in Indonesia (I. Prihandono)

Author

Iman Prihandono

Keywords

foreign direct investment, accountability mechanism, transnational corporations, Indonesia

Abstract

A number of empirical studies have shown that foreign direct investment has benefited the Indonesian economy, accelerating Indonesia’s export of goods, creating more jobs, increasing productivity and facilitating technology spillover. At the same time, it has also negatively affected the environment, the working conditions of local residents, and the social, cultural, and economic rights of local communities. Most significantly, the activities of transnational corporations have been a reason for a number of violent conflicts. Indeed, as foreign direct investment inflow increases, conflicts between transnational corporations and local communities in Indonesia intensify. This situation has not developed in the absence of laws and institutions but these have not been working efficiently. This article assesses Indonesia’s regulatory and institutional framework for dealing with human rights violations by foreign investors. It is argued that there are crucial challenges that need to be taken into account in order to establish a strong accountability mechanism for human rights violations by transnational corporations in Indonesia, mainly inadequate regulatory coverage and insufficient institutional support. Until these limitations are addressed, violations of human rights by transnational corporations will continue to occur. As victims have limited access to redress, conflicts involving transnational corporations will likely remain high in the years ahead.

Citation

I. Prihandono, Transnational Corporations and Human Rights Violations in Indonesia (July 22, 2013). Australian Journal of Asian Law, Vol. 14, No. 1, Article 5, 2013

Paper

Transnational Corporations and Human Rights Violations in Indonesia

 

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