Tag Archives: US

Enforcing Environmental Human Rights: Selected Strategies of US NGOs (J. Cassel)

Author(s)

Jennifer Cassel

Keywords

environmental harm, human rights violations, international human rights law, NGO’s, US, United States, environmental human rights

Abstract

In spite of the clear link between environmental harm and human rights violations, international human rights law which contemplates environmental destruction as a violation of human rights has only recently begun to emerge, and clear definitions of environmental human rights have yet to be formulated. Scholars in the field have proposed different concepts of environmental rights, including environmental rights as new, separate human rights, and environmental rights as encompassed within previously established human rights. Three non-governmental organizations, Earthjustice, the Center for International Environmental Law (“CIEL”), and Earthrights, have strategically used those concepts in their pursuit of enforcing environmental human rights. Earthjustice’s strategy has involved working through the United Nations system toward establishing environmental rights as enforceable law. CIEL has pursued environmental rights enforcement by submitting petitions to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (“IACHR”). Finally, Earthrights International has focused on submitting amicus briefs in litigation in US federal courts under the Alien Torts Claims Act. Of the three strategies used by these organizations, CIEL’s strategy of petitioning the IACHR to recognize the violation of well-established human rights by means of environmental degradation has been most successful in enforcing environmental rights claims thus far. By continuing to petition regional tribunals like the IACHR to enforce both concepts of environmental rights, as well as pressing international bodies to recognize such rights, international law may finally come to recognize the inherent intertwining of human rights and the environment.

Citation

(2008) 6 Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights 104.

Paper

Enforcing Environmental Human Rights: Selected Strategies of US
NGOs

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Human Rights and Environmental Regulation (R. M. Bratspies)

Author(s)

Rebecca M. Bratspies

Keywords

environment, regulation, BP Oil Spill, United States, US, legal obligations, participations, fairness, accountability, legitimacy

Abstract

Because environmental regulators exercise vast discretion against a background of scientific uncertainty, the background assumptions they use to guide their decisionmaking are particularly influential. This article suggests that were federal regulators to view themselves as human rights decisionmakers, we might well see a new kind of regulatory decisionmaking emerge–one not only more responsive and transparent but also more likely to enjoy the trust of the American public. Drawing from the BP Oil Spill and the United States regulatory response to climate change this article shows how human rights norms might enrich domestic regulatory processes and help environmental regulators implement their statutory mission of protecting the public welfare. It demonstrates how interpreting domestic legal obligations through the lens of human rights would enhance a commitment to participation, fairness and accountability, thereby making the domestic regulatory process not only better and fairer, but also more likely to be perceived as legitimate by the general public. The article concludes by pointing out some key obstacles the human rights approach for achieving environmental ends.

Citation

(2012) 19 New York University Environmental Law Journal 225.

Paper

Human Rights and Environmental Regulation

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Climate Change, the United States, and the Impacts of Arctic Melting: A Case Study in the Need for Enforceable International Environmental Rights (R. S. Abate)

Author

Randall S. Abate

Keywords

climate change, case study, artic melting, environmental protection, US, United States, environmental rights

Abstract

Climate change is currently the most significant and daunting international environmental problem, with disproportionate and devastating impacts on indigenous groups. Indigenous people and species in the Artic now combat grave threats to their cultural identity and subsistence from the effects of thinning sea ice caused by climate change. Similarly, inhabitants of low-lying island nations face potentially catastrophic consequences because of sea level rise triggered by melting sea ice in the polar region […]

Citation

(2007) 26A Stanford Environmental Law Journal 3.

Paper

Climate Change, the United States, and the Impacts of Artic Melting: A Case Study in the Need for Enforceable International Environmental Rights

 

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The Intersection of International Human Rights and Domestic Environmental Regulation (R.M. Bratspies)

Author

Rebecca M. Bratspies

Keywords

Human rights, environmental norms, legal process

Abstract

This Article focuses on how international human rights and their associated environmental norms can be useful for deepening the domestic legal process, particularly in the area of public participation in environmental decision-making in an age of global warming. To make this argument, this Article looks at the process by which the United States approved oil leases in the Chukchi Sea, and how that process might have been improved had it been enriched by the international norms that would generally be considered to make up the putative right to a healthy environment. Part II provides a general introduction to the intersection of international human rights and environmental law. Part III offers a brief framework of the relevant domestic laws and then Part IV examines what the United States actually did to implement those laws in the context of the Chukchi Sea leases. Part V shows how interpreting these domestic legal obligations through the lens of the international environmental norms that make up the putative right to a healthy environment would make the domestic regulatory process not only better, fairer, and more legitimate, but also more likely to ensure that the state respects the humanrights of its citizens. At the same time, Part VI points out some key limitations of the anthropocentric human rights approach for achieving environmental ends.

This Article does not argue that there is an international human right to a healthy environment. Nor does it propose that the United States adopt international humanrights as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenants as domestic law. It is not that I necessarily disagree with either proposition, but both are theoretical matters, and this Article focuses on practicality-on how available tools for “on-the-ground implementation” can make for a better regulatory system. Thus, my argument is more prudential than normative: regulators should incorporate environmentalhuman rights concerns into domestic decision-making processes, not because incorporation of these concerns is mandatory under any existing hierarchy of law, but because it is useful.

Citation

(2010) 38 Georgia Journal of International and Comparative Law 649

Paper

The Intersection of International Human Rights and Domestic Environmental Regulation

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Beyond the Carbon Economy: Energy Law in Transition (D. Zillman, et al)

Editor(s)

Don Zillman, Catherine Redgwell, Yinka Omorogbe, and Lila K. Barrera-Hernández

Keywords

Health, Environment, Sustainable Development, TAANSAAFL Problem, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Lower-Carbon Future, Climate Change, Carbon Capture and Storage, Biofuels, Public International Law, South America, Clean Energy, Africa, Heavy Duty Transition Fuels, EU Law and Policy, Wind, Nuclear Power, China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Australia, Japan, Russia, US,

Abstract

Explores topical controversies over alternative energy sources including nuclear power, and over sustainability and environmental concern versus energy supply in the developing world

Regional, sectoral and technology-based analysis, and a wide variety of national perspectives demonstrate how the law can impede or advance the shift to a significantly different world energy picture
Examines the roles of public international law and international legal bodies, regional legal structures and major international nongovernmental actors
The present energy economy, with its heavy dependence on fossil fuels, is not sustainable over the medium to long term for many interconnected reasons. Climate change is now recognized as posing a serious threat. Energy and resource decisions involving the carbon fuels therefore play a large role in this threat. Fossil fuel reserves may also be running short and many of the major reserves are in politically unstable parts of the world.

Yet citizens in nations with rapidly developing economies aspire to the benefits of the modern energy economy. China and India alone have 2.4 billion potential customers for cars, industries, and electrical services. Even so, more than half of the world’s citizens still lack access to energy. Decisions involving fossil fuels are therefore a significant part of the development equation.

This volume explains how the law can impede or advance the shift to a world energy picture significantly different from that which exists today.

It first examines the factors that create the problems of the present carbon economy, including environmental concerns and development goals. It then provides international and regional legal perspectives, examining public international law, regional legal structures, the responses of international legal bodies, and the role of major international nongovernmental actors. The book then moves on to explore sectoral perspectives including the variety of renewable energy sources, new carbon fuels, nuclear power, demand controls, and energy efficiency. Finally, the authors examine how particular States are, could, or should, be adapting legally to the challenges of moving beyond the carbon economy.

Readership: Lawyers, public policy-makers, and corporate analysts in the energy and natural resources sectors, and scholars in the fields of energy and environmental law, environmental management, development economics and sustainable development.

Citation

Don Zillman, Catherine Redgwell, Yinka Omorogbe, and Lila K. Barrera-Hernández (eds), Beyond the Carbon Economy: Energy Law in Transition (OUP, Oxford 2008)

Book

Beyond the Carbon Economy: Energy Law in Transition

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