Environmental & Climate Change Law / Disaster Law

Ahmad, Nadia, ‘Climate Cages: Connecting Migration, the Carceral State, Extinction Rebellion, and the Coronavirus through Cicero and 21 SavageLoyola Law Review Review, New Orleans (forthcoming)
Abstract: This article addresses the unmapped linkage of mass incarceration and encagement as responses to climate change and the coronavirus. I coin the phrase, climate cages, to highlight how public policy responses to atmospheric dynamics limit mobility, worsen prison conditions, and increase carcerality. In this article, I use the song lyrics of 21 Savage’s ‘A Lot’ and his subsequent arrest as an example to highlight the intersectionality of race, climate change, migration, protest movements, and COVID-19. Further, I reexamine Cicero’s adage of ‘summum ius summa iniuria’ to show problematic configurations of the carceral state and the edifice of the law generally. A warming planet has decreased available land, freshwater, and clean air to live and earn a livelihood. The world’s megacities from New Delhi to Houston are choking from air pollution of their vehicles, power plants, factories, and industrial facilities. Not even rural areas are immune from the impacts of chemicals from agricultural activities. These natural resource stresses have served as threat multipliers for conflict, compounding centuries of economic and racial inequality. Economic and environmental chokepoints are leading to migration, movement, and higher rates of mass incarceration. Currently, the level of income inequality is at its peak, and record high and low temperatures are becoming the norm. The governmental response from the halls of Congress to the desk of the Oval Office has not been to find solutions to the climate crisis, but to restrict mobility and incarcerate black and brown people to maximize available land and space for those who are either more affluent and/or of the more preferred race, religion, and national origin. While historically human hierarchies and caste systems have existed for thousands of years, the impacts of intensified global warming have correlated with the increased prison populations and worsening prison conditions in the age of the Anthropocene.

Alekseeva, Nadezhda A, ‘Legal Aspects of Environmental Safety in the Field of Medical Waste Management in the Context of the Pandemic’ (2021) 25(3) RUDN Journal of Law 586–601
Abstract: Medical waste management has always been relevant from a practical point of view, but as a result of the pandemic declared in 2020, this topic has multiplied, leading to significant changes in the legal regulation of medical waste. The realization that re-contamination from medical covid-waste is possible led to the obligation to install disinfectants in medical and pharmacological organizations. The division of medical waste into classes predetermined the assignment of medical covid-waste to class ‘B’, and after disinfection - to ‘A’-class, that are possible to transport and dispose after disinfection. However, there is a huge amount of covid-waste outside medical and pharmacological organizations, which is, clearly, are not medical. When mixed with solid household waste and garbage that does not require a transport licence, it increases the likelihood of re-infection of those who handle such waste. The object of the work is to explore these topics and to raise the issue of separation of the accumulation and disposal of non-medical covid-waste in legal regulation, as well as the ways to implement them. Related to this is the issue of environmental pollution in the context of the pandemic, because non-medical covid-waste has increased the amount of plastic that pollutes the environment.

Alibegovic, Mia et al, ‘COVID-19 & SDGs: Does the Current Pandemic Have an Impact on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals? A Qualitative Analysis’ (FEEM Policy Brief No 07–2020, 8 June 2020)
Abstract: The following Policy Brief proposes a qualitative analysis on the impact the COVID-19 pandemic and the current Italian crisis could have on the achievement of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The analysis considers all the 169 targets of the 2030 Agenda, in order to study, specifically, which will be the effects of the crisis concerning the three dimensions of sustainable development: economy, society and environment. The reflection emerging from this document attempts to understand for each Goal and target which could and can be the impacts of the pandemic, of the lockdown and of the overall economic crisis caused by the previous. The results presented in the Brief are based on the evolution of the crisis and on the decree-laws of the Italian government in order to contain it; nevertheless, those outcomes cannot be taken as final, considering the subsisting nature of the crisis, the still outstanding lockdown measures, and the absence of quantitative data related to the post-crisis.

Antal, Attila, ‘The Climate and Ecological Emergency in the Era of a State of Exceptions’ (Graz Law Working Paper No 07–2021, 12 June 2021)
Abstract: We live in an era of overlapping states of exceptions: the climate and ecological emergency, the permanent crisis of global capitalism, the migration crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. Relying on the Hungarian political system, this paper investigates how and why exceptional measures restructure our life. Against the background of the current Hungarian authoritarian populist regime, municipal experiences, and other contemporary tendencies, three main forms of states of exceptions are investigated: (1) the exceptionality of the migration crisis of 2015; (2) the climate emergencies declared by local governments, which are rather political declarations and not legally accepted versions of exceptional measures; (3) the overlapping forms of COVID-19-related emergencies. It can be argued that the main outcome of the exceptional measures is the rise of a new executive power and it is demonstrated how heavily authoritarian regimes rely on the state of exception. Amplifying the authoritarian tendencies and the abusive application of the exceptional legal order, the COVID-19 crisis basically proved that it is worth considering institutionalizing the climate and ecological emergency as a tool in the struggle of resolving the planetary crisis of our time.

Antoine Ibrahim, Imad, ‘Legal Tools for Addressing Uncertainty and Managing Risks in the Energy Sector: Is There a Role for International Disaster Law?’ (2021) 14(3) The Journal of World Energy Law & Business 163–175
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted once again the existing legal vacuums in the energy sector when it comes to addressing various situations such as disaster risk management and reduction. This reality can be seen in various instances where other regulatory frameworks are used instead of energy law. This article seeks to address the existing legal vacuum in the energy field in the context of pre- and post-energy disasters, such as the Covid-19 health disaster resulting in negative consequences for the energy sector. The author argues that international disaster law, taking the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction as a case study, can provide guidance when it comes to managing pre- and post-energy disasters scenarios. The author will support this claim by examining the potential use of the Sendai Framework priorities as guidance for policymakers in addressing disasters in the energy field while stressing the need to strike a balance between using existing binding and nonbinding frameworks from other regulatory fields to address the legal gaps and making sure that energy law applies in such situations.

Arlota, Carolina, ‘The United States Climate Change Policies and Covid-19: Poisoning the Cure’ (2021) 41(2) Pace Law Review 94–148
Abstract: Climate change is complex during the best of times. It is commonly conceptualized as the quintessential global collective action problem: it affects those who do not contribute to it while the benefits of climate change mitigation measures are not restricted to those who pursue such measures. This conceptualization illustrates the high transaction costs involved in domestic policies as well as in international agreements addressing climate change, and it is of academic and practical interest. As such, this Article discusses the current challenges that climate change policies face, focusing on the linkages between the climate change policies of the Trump administration and the COVID-19 pandemic and on the effects of those linkages, both in the United States and globally. Specifically, this Article addresses the Trump administration’s attacks on climate science and its deregulatory climate agenda, as well as the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. In addition, it discusses principles of international law and the challenges related to state liability for environmental harms in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. This Article also assesses how the United States’ climate policies are likely to aggravate inequalities both domestically, as well as globally, in the aftermath of the pandemic. This Article offers several original contributions. First, it provides a unique assessment of how the deregulatory climate policies implemented nationally and internationally by the Trump administration have magnified the COVID-19 crisis. Second, the law and economics methodology used in this Article validates the claim that improving environmental quality is connected to optimizing early regulatory action. Third, this Article discusses the challenges of state liability for climate harms in the aftermath of the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and concurrent COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, this Article offers relevant insights for the literature on climate change that are likely to be applicable to critical future situations, whether they are health-related, a global economic crisis, or climate-related emergencies. Ultimately, this Article concludes that, in the aggregate, all such climate change policies have contributed to increased pollution, including elevated greenhouse gas emissions that have aggravated pre-pandemic inequalities embedded within the United States and among countries. Consequently, the domestic and international policy choices of the Trump administration are worsening the impact of the pandemic, particularly for those in more vulnerable positions, as well as indelibly poisoning the global commons.

Astriani, Nadia et al, ‘The Responsibility of the Indonesian Government to Fulfill the Rights to Water During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Some Legal Issues’ (2021) 51(4) Environmental Policy & Law 327–341
Abstract: Indonesia has enough access to freshwater resources of the planet. However, uneven distribution together with mediocre water management and a lack of water infrastructures make a significant number of households in this country have inadequate access to safe water. This becomes big issues, because the provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions are essential to protect human health and save humanity during the Covid-19 pandemic. When this article was written, COVID-19 patients who were confirmed to be infected were in all Indonesian provinces, with the largest numbers of patients located in Java. The purpose of this study is to determine the efforts of the Indonesian government to fulfill its responsibilities in fulfilling clean water during a pandemic. The study collects all regulations and policies concerning clean water and an analyses them using doctrinal method. The result of the study shows that although there are enough regulations governing the use of clean water, they have not resolved the problem of clean water fulfillment. In overcoming water needs during the pandemic, the Indonesian government did not make additional efforts other than those previously planned in the Strategic Plan of the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. The disruption of the economy has an impact on state finance, causing the government to refocus budgeting. As a result, many programs related to clean water are postponed. This minimum effort by government is neglecting its responsibility in fulfilling the right to water. The government must emulate how to fulfill the needs for water during the pandemic from other countries and using this situation to fix the problem of clean water in Indonesia.

Bennett, Juliet, ‘Reorienting the Post-Coronavirus Economy for Ecological Sustainability’ [2020] (85) Journal of Australian Political Economy 212–218
Abstract: The increase in zoonotic viruses (transferring from animals to humans) from SARS to Ebola, HIV, Zika (Bell ‘et al.’ 2004) and now COVID-19 is inextricably linked to humanity’s continuing expansion and impact on the planet. Climate chaos resulting from greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accumulating in the atmosphere is predicted to amplify the future pandemics, socio-economic and ecological crises (Watts et al. 2018). Tackling the roots of the COVID-19 pandemic calls into question the industrialised socio-political-economic systems that assume limitless growth in consumption and production. The urge to ‘return to normal’ remains stuck in growth economics. Meanwhile innovative cities like Amsterdam and countries such as New Zealand embrace contextual alternatives. This article identifies a few ways that Australia may reorientate their economy for post-coronavirus (and post-bushfires) recovery so to help prevent future pandemics and ecological catastrophes associated with a return to business-as-usual.

Błaszczuk-Zawiła, Marzenna, ‘Poland and the European Green Deal amidst the Pandemic’ in Menkes, Jerzy and Magdalena Suska, The Economic and Legal Impact of Covid-19: The Case of Poland (Routledge, 2021)

Bogojević, Sanja, ‘COVID-19, Climate Change Action and the Road to Green Recovery’ (2020) 32(3) Journal of Environmental Law 355–359
Abstract: Can there be a silver lining to a pandemic? Lockdown, a common response to COVID-19 by governments across the world, dramatically changed peoples’ lives by confining their movement to their homes. It thus also changed our transportation and consumption patterns, leading to huge reductions in emissions. Images snapped by NASA and the European Space Agency showing clouds of nitrogen dioxide disappearing over China following its quarantine measures gave hope that on the other side of the pandemic, a cleaner climate awaits.2Efforts to minimise the spread of COVID-19 have many commonalities with attempts at tackling other large and volatile problems, such as climate change. After all, both are classic examples of a collective problem that is cross-jurisdictional, polycentric and with devastating non-linear outcomes. The current pandemic brings to the fore just how much governments, and leadership anchored in science, matter. Similarly, being able to coordinate state responses and scientific expertise on a global scale is crucial, which is why umbrella organisations like the World Health Organisation are, as Angela Merkel quipped, ‘a good thing’.5 This echoes some of the credit the UNFCCC has received for its coordinating efforts on climate change.6 All of this is to say that like COVID-19, climate change demands individual and collective behavioural adjustments—but the time scale differs. The need to fight climate change stretches over years and decades, making action seem less urgent compared to what is required for in dealing with a global pandemic. Nonetheless, COVID-19, as Rhiannon Ogden-Jones writes, ‘has woken up states’ to environmental problems, and revived governments’ and organisations’ commitments to dealing with climate change.

Borovitskaja, Aleksandra, ‘COVID-19: Into the Inferno' ERNO’ (2020) 12(3) Amsterdam Law Forum 9–14
Introduction:It took quite some time, considering our 24-hour news cycle, before the effects of the COVID-19 coronavirus strain became well-known. During the past few months, the numerous measures to stop the spreading of COVID-19 taken by governments have brought on an additional layer of insecurity to many aspects of our lives and futures. As of August 2020, many months after it was officially identified, many aspects related to the virus still remain unknown and uncertain. How soon will we be able to get a vaccine? What will happen to the (global) economy in the aftermath of the virus? There has been a great deal of commentary on there being a possible positive momentum for change now that societies globally have been put to a halt.2 Others, in their turn, have commented on how eager everyone is to get back to ‘normal’ - the normal of belief in conspiracies, the normal of massive wealth disparities, the normal of environmental exploitation.3 Several academic works by Zygmunt Bauman, Ulrich Beck, and Bruno Latour may shed some light on these questions and positions. These authors have made some remarkably apt observations in works that preceded the corona crisis, that can be applied to what is happening in the world at the present time. These authors have in common that they argue for a change of our ways, particularly: the way humanity is currently exploiting the planet and individuals on a large scale, is having disastrous effects on that planet and on humanity as a whole. The only author still alive from these three to see the crisis play out, Latour, has commented on Twitter that the global shutdown is a prime moment to refocus the political discussion on the effects of climate change. In this essay these authors’ theories will be examined and critically assessed in light of the corona crisis, while answering the question which of these theories can be applied most effectively.

Braakman, August J, ‘Climate and COVID-19: Will the Shipping Industry Succeed in Charting the Right Course Between Scylla and Charybdis?’ (2020) 26(2) Journal of International Maritime Law 102–108
Abstract: Discusses the EU institutions’ need to balance Member States’ measures towards zero climate change emissions and their aid measures to address the coronavirus pandemic. Examines the potential conflicts arising from the shipping industry’s plight.

Bratspies, Rebecca et al, ‘Environmental Law, Disrupted by COVID-19’ (2021) 51(6) Environmental Law Reporter 10509–10523
Abstract: For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about systemic racial injustice have highlighted the conflicts and opportunities currently faced by environmental law. Scientists uniformly predict that environmental degradation, notably climate change, will cause a rise in diseases, disproportionate suffering among communities already facing discrimination, and significant economic losses. In this Article, members of the Environmental Law Collaborative examine the legal system’s responses to these crises, with the goal of framing opportunities to reimagine environmental law. The Article is excerpted from their book Environmental Law, Disrupted, to be published by ELI Press later this year.

Bristol-Alagbariya, Edward T, ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic Era: Flashlight on the Challenges and Opportunities of Environmental Democracy in Nigeria’s EIA Process’ (2021) 9(1) Global Journal of Politics and Law Research 23–38
Abstract: The global benchmarked stipulation for environmental democracy is expressed in Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992. UN systems, international-intergovernmental organisations, regions, countries and private sector organisations as well as other sectors and units of the world’s political economy are designing and evaluating their environmental democracy frameworks to achieve this global benchmarked stipulation. Hence, the UN Economic Commission for Europe’s Aarhus Convention, 1998, features as an elaborate expression of environmental democracy around the world. While developing countries are yet unable to efficiently implement environmental democracy in the course of Environmental Assessment in their respective jurisdictions, especially in resource-rich developing countries like Nigeria, the COVID-19 pandemic erupted and is ravaging humanity and disrupting the economic wellbeing of countries. Thus, this paper examines the challenges and opportunities associated with environmental democracy in the course of Environmental Impact Assessment process and practice in Nigeria.

Bronin, Sara C, ‘Law’s Disaster: Heritage at Risk’ in Susan Kuo, John Marshall and Ryan Rowberry (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Disaster Law: Risk, Recovery and Redevelopment (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2021)
Abstract: If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that our laws and legal institutions are ill-prepared for disasters of all kinds. Even as we continue to consider the ramifications of the pandemic, we must also grapple with natural hazards – large-scale meteorological and geological events such as hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, floods, blizzards, wildfires, earthquakes, extreme heat, and drought – that will inevitably wreak havoc during our long recovery. Some consequences of these disasters are well-known: loss of life, economic catastrophe, and destruction of homes. Perhaps less well-known are the threats to the historic and cultural sites that speak to human identity and create a sense of connection across generations. A hurricane or earthquake could destroy completely an old building, especially one that has not been structurally reinforced. Extreme heat and intense precipitation can weaken joints, erode paint or other protections, and bring mold, reducing the lifespan of historic materials. Climate change, exacerbated by man, has made many of these events more frequent and more intense. Given the increasing risks to historic sites, one might think that disaster-related planning, mitigation, and recovery efforts are being undertaken with increased urgency. Unfortunately, this is not the case. This Essay argues that legal reforms at the intersection of disaster law and historic preservation law are desperately needed to protect historic places before they succumb to flame, water, wind, or the earth itself. It starts by explaining what’s at stake: archaeological sites, vulnerable buildings, and even threatened national landmarks like Mesa Verde and the Statue of Liberty. It then establishes the three stages where disaster-related legal protection of historic resources is needed: before, during, and after disaster. The Essay next critiques the multi-governmental, federalist framework for heritage-related disaster planning, and highlights two states and four local governments starting to make necessary reforms. While no physical or legal intervention will ever be able to make historic sites last forever, we should try to make them more resilient to the avoidable consequences of obvious threats by changing the laws that render them vulnerable.

Bronin, Sara C, ‘What the Pandemic Can Teach Climate Attorneys’ (2020) 72(May) Stanford Law Review Online 155-164
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused more rapid changes to the law than most of us have seen in our lifetimes. These changes have remade, and in many cases severed, our social and economic connections to each other, in ways unprecedented except during war.As many have argued, climate change is also a dire emergency, requiring an equally sweeping legal response. Climate change is COVID-19 in slow motion, but with less clarity and far greater destructive capacity.Lawyers, like legislators and executive branch leaders, are responding to the coronavirus pandemic with creativity and improvisation. We may find that attorneys seeking to address climate change will be able to learn valuable lessons from the legal response to COVID19.Part I of this Essay, echoing a point that has already been made many times now, explains why, on a practical level, COVID-19 and climate are intertwined. Part II argues that climate attorneys should focus on coronavirus lawsuits, which could be more consequential to climate progress than recent executive or legislative action. Part III of the Essay identifies three specific lawsuits climate attorneys should track. And Part IV concludes with a thought for attorneys as we weather this pandemic – and a warming planet – together.

Burrows, David, ‘Has the Lockdown Changed Green Regulation for Good?’ (2020) 546 ENDS Report 8–9
Abstract: Reports on how the environmental regulation bodies of England, Wales and Scotland changed their working practices but continued to carry out their obligations during the coronavirus pandemic. Examines whether new approaches based on technology will continue to be useful in the long term.

Carević, Melita, ‘The Covid-19 Pandemic and the Implementation of the European Green Deal’ (2021) 5(EU 2021 – The Future of the EU in and After the Pandemic) EU and Comparative Law Issues and Challenges Series (ECLIC) 903–925
Abstract: This paper aims to explore how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the implementation of the European Green Deal and to which extent have the European Union’s green growth and sustainable development goals been incorporated into its COVID-19 Recovery Strategy. The European Union’s Green Deal, a ‘generation defining’ growth strategy, which lays down the strategic pathway of the European Union’s economic development for the upcoming two decades, has been faced with a major challenge shortly after its adoption in December 2019. However, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which has continuously been putting all European Union member states to a harsh challenge during the past year, climate change and the green transition have been at the top of the political agenda in the European Union and have managed to occupy the attention of the mainstream politics and European Union citizens. Furthermore, the unprecedented levels of public financing which have been mobilised due to the pandemic have provided an opportunity for speeding up the green transition, without which the achievement of the Green Deal’s main aims and the fulfilment of the European Union’s obligations under the Paris Agreement would likely be put in question. In order to analyse how the has the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the implementation of the Green Deal, the paper first examines how the member states and the European Union institutions initially reacted to the idea of pursuing the implementation of the Green Deal simultaneously with economic recovery. This is accomplished through an analysis of statements given by the European Union and member state officials and the adopted measures and legislative proposals. The paper then focuses on publicly available data on legislative delays in regard to the implementation of the Green Deal which took place due to the pandemic and concludes that no significant postponements occurred. It subsequently turns to examine which measures have been adopted at the European Union level that link the economic recovery and the green transition. In this regard, special attention is paid to the Recovery and Resilience Facility and its measures aimed at ensuring that member states pursue climate change and environmental objectives in their recovery plans. Given the size of the public investments which will take place in the following years, the paper emphasises the importance of stringent environmental standards in order to ensure that they contribute to the green transition and avoid a fossil fuel lock-in.

Choudhury, Barnali, ‘Climate Change as Systemic Risk’ (2021) 18(2) Berkeley Business Law Journal 52–93
Abstract: Hindsight tells us that COVID-19, thought by Trump and others to have come out of nowhere, is more aptly labelled a ‘gray rhino’ event, one that was highly probable and one that we had the power to prevent. Indeed, despite considerable evidence of the impending threats of pandemics, for the most part, pandemic preparation was ignored, resulting in wide-scale social and economic losses.The lessons from COVID-19 however should remind us of the perils of ignoring gray rhino risks. Nowhere is this more apparent than with climate change, a highly probable, high impact threat that has largely been ignored to date. Despite those who deny climate change, there remains ample evidence of the increasing temperature of the earth, which like COVID-19, has the potential not only to create public health emergencies but also to create wide scale, enormous adverse impacts on the economy. Indeed, the risks posed by climate change to the economy have the potential to be so far-reaching that it should, as this article argues, be termed a systemic risk. As such, the economic implications of climate change need to be mitigated in order to preserve economic stability. This is necessary not only for prudential and economic reasons, but also to protect citizens’ health and safety, and to ensure that business does not exceed the limits of the planet.While there has been some attention to addressing the economic implications of climate change at the global level, progress in the US has been minimal. This is surprising, not only because climate change has already caused unprecedented damage in certain parts of the country, but also because, to some extent, existing legislation and models may offer the tools to address the systemic risks of climate change. Drawing inspiration from the Dodd-Frank Act, SEC rules, and the FDIC model, among others, this article proposes regulatory approaches for mitigating climate change systemic risks in hopes that COVID-19 does not foreshadow our fate for climate change.

Collins, Jason, ‘COVID-19, Tax Policy and Climate Change’ (2020) 1491 Tax Journal 8
Abstract: Calls for a coherent approach to tax and spending policy, to achieve the UK targets for reducing emissions and mitigating climate change, while facilitating economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Donati, Alessandra, ‘Climate Change and Pandemics: The EU Risk-Management Strategy Under Scrutiny’ (Max Planck Institute Luxembourg for Procedural Law, Research Paper No 4, 10 July 2020)
Abstract: Coronavirus and climate change are not two different crises. They represent two sides of the same significant turmoil relating to the progressive degradation of our environmental and health ecosystems. Against this backdrop, and in light of, not only, the cyclical time of pandemics, but also of the predictable occurrence of a new pandemic associated with the worsening of the climate crisis, what should EU law do to prevent and better manage the occurrence of such risks? To answer this question, the core claim of this paper is that the EU should implement a common, coordinated, and consistent risk management strategy.

Drenovak-Ivanović, Mirjana, ‘Standing in Environmental Law after Urgenda, Juliana and COVID-19 Crises’ (2020) 4 EU and comparative law issues and challenges series (ECLIC) 3–20
Abstract: Teaching environmental law and climate change issues one may open a number of questions on relations between environmental protection, governmental duties and public rights, starting with: has a government duty to care and maintain a dissent environment and stable climate conditions?; what is a ground for governmental decision-making on actions threatening sustainability of the climate conditions?; where is the beginning and the end of the responsibility of an individual or of an country? The article outlines the elements that provide the criteria under which one may discus on whether it should be the court to force the government to act or should it be a parliament to set laws initiating actions to protect citizens and their human rights from irreversible climate change? The article points out the recent cases State of the Netherlands v. Urgenda Foundation (court decision from December 2019) and Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana v. USA (court decision from January 2020). In Urgenda, the court concerned questions: whether the Netherlands is obliged to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases from its soil by at least 25% by the end of 2020 compared to 1990, whether the court can order the State to do so and whether the government is bound to protect human rights in climate crisis? In Juliana, a group of children between the ages of eight and nineteen filed suit against the federal government, claiming that the government violated their constitutional rights by causing dangerous carbon dioxide concentrations. Although the court had found the injury and evidence on causation between government’s actions and climate crisis, it found a lack of redressability. The aim of the article is to examine if the concepts of European Green Deal presented on January 2019 by the Von der Leyen Commission to enshrine the 2050 climate neutrality target into life are in line with conclusions from analysed cases and lessons learned from COVID-19 crisis.

Duvic-Paoli, Leslie-Anne, ‘The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Limits of International Environmental Law’ in Barrie Sander and Jason Rudall (eds), Opinio Juris Symposium on COVID-19 and International Law (2020)
Abstract: What can a global health crisis tell us about international environmental law? To answer this question, this short piece maps the interconnections between the COVID-19 pandemic and international environmental law at three stages of the crisis: its origins, policy responses, and consequences. It argues that the pandemic sheds light on the weaknesses of international environmental law.

Engel, Kirsten H, ‘Climate Federalism in the Time of COVID-19: Can the States “Save” American Climate Policy?’ (Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No 20–28, 18 June 2020)
Abstract: States attempting to address climate change today face a host of new challenges. A lack of adequate national leadership on the pandemic is forcing states, and especially state governors, to pick up the slack in responding to this overwhelming health crisis. This may better equip them to respond to natural disasters that are projected to be more frequent and severe with climate change, such as wildfires, hurricanes and flooding. But the importance of responding to the pandemic will inevitably edge out other priorities such as climate change at the same time it threatens to drain state and local government coffers. Even aside from the curve-ball thrown by the pandemic, the prospects for robust state and local action on climate change will also depend on legal variables extrinsic to climate policy debates, such as the success to preempt state regulations of GHGs through vehicle emission standards and energy generation. Although President Trump can pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement and may succeed in rolling back federal climate regulations, he cannot extinguish the power of states, individually or collectively, to address climate change. Nevertheless, states currently face numerous unanticipated challenges in addressing the climate crisis due to the global coronavirus pandemic. This as well as legal hurdles to their power to address various aspects of the climate crisis will shape the effectiveness of future state and local climate actions.

Engstrom, Gustav et al, ‘What Policies Address Both the Coronavirus Crisis and the Climate Crisis?’ (CESifo Working Paper No 8367, 2020)
Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has led many countries to initiate unprecedented economic recovery packages. Policymakers tackling the coronavirus crisis have also been encouraged to prioritize policies which help mitigate a second, looming crisis: climate change. We identify and analyze policies that combat both the coronavirus crisis and the climate crisis. We analyze both the long-run climate impacts from coronavirus-related economic recovery policies, and the impacts of long-run climate policies on economic recovery and public health post-recession. We base our analysis on data on emissions, employment and corona-related layoffs across sectors, and on previous research. We show that, among climate policies, labor-intensive green infrastructure projects, planting trees, and in particular pricing carbon coupled with reduced labor taxation boost economic recovery. Among coronavirus policies, aiding services sectors (leisure services such as restaurants and culture, or professional services such as technology), education and the healthcare sector appear most promising, being labor intensive yet low-emission—if such sectoral aid is conditioned on being directed towards employment and on low-carbon supply chains. Large-scale green infrastructure projects and green R&D investment, while good for the climate, are unlikely to generate enough employment to effectively alleviate the coronavirus crisis.

Estrada, Mario Arturo Ruiz, ‘The Quantification of Disposable Masks Pollution Worldwide’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3703185, 1 October 2020)
Abstract: The use of disposable masks became an essential daily protection item against the spread of COVID-19 globally. This research is interested in evaluating the impact of disposable masks on the environment by continent. We try to determine how much pollution can generate disposable masks worldwide. Hence, the increment in disposable masks’ uses can cause high pollution of rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans, respectively. Meanwhile, in this research, we can confirm that disposable masks’ pollution is irretrievable (fauna and ecological) can generate more damage than COVID-19. Finally, this research supports alternative types of masks with low environmental cost, easy to clean, and safety.

Etty, Thijs et al, ‘Indigenous Rights amidst Global Turmoil’ (2020) 9(3) Transnational Environmental Law 385
Abstract: The year 2020 cannot end quickly enough.We enter the final quarter of a year in which cataclysmic fires erupted across Australia and the United States (US) west coast, devastating floods swept across Sudan, a pandemic ravages the lives of millions while bringing the global economy to a virtual standstill, and acts of profound injustice have acted as a startling reminder of the systemic racism that pervades American society as well as others around the world. Environmental concerns are deeply interwoven with each of these storylines. In many respects 2020 represents a glimpse into the future that climate science haswarned us about for decades. The risk of intensified fires and floods has long been a major theme of such warnings. Epidemiologists have cautioned that infectious diseases may spread faster and further in a warmer world. Also, social unrest, with its invariably racist inflections, will no doubt result from climate migration, from strains on global food supply, from water insecurity, and from the multitude of other ways in which environmental change and climate change expose and exacerbate existing social and ecological vulnerabilities.

Etty, Thijs et al, ‘Transnational Environmental Law in a Transformed Environment’ (2020) 9(2) Transnational Environmental Law 197–209
Abstract: The events over the first few months of 2020 have cast doubt on many perceived certainties related to societal relationships, professional and private life, and the shape of the future. The deadly pandemic responsible for these uncertainties has created widescale human suffering, with effects that will be felt for some time. The tireless work of medical professionals and other related professionals is central to mitigating the effects of this crisis. As environmental scholars, with various skills, our work can help in contributing to new visions of the future with changing behaviour and changing impacts on nature. As transnational scholars, our work can be a reminder of the need to continue to collaborate, even at times where borders are closing and global supply chains are strained.

Farber, Daniel A, ‘A Tale of Two Crises: COVID-19, Climate Change, and Crisis Response’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper No ID 3767579, 16 January 2021)
Abstract: This very short book chapter provides an overview of how the COVID-19 pandemic has already impacted climate emissions, the potential long-term effects on emissions, and already adopted and proposed green stimulus programs in the U.S. and elsewhere. Experience from the 2008 financial crisis suggests that a green stimulus could provide a long-term boost to renewable energy and related carbon-free technologies and infrastructure.

Flatt, Victor Byers, ‘Holding Polluters Accountable in Times of Climate and COVID Risk: The Problems with “Emergency” Enforcement Waivers’ (2021) 12 San Diego Journal of Environment & Energy Law (forthcoming)
Abstract: One of the first actions of the Environmental Protection Agency after the declaration of the COVID-19 crisis in mid-March 2020 was to announce that it would relax its enforcement policies with respect to environmental reporting and violations during the time of the pandemic. Ostensibly this was to ensure that regulated entities were not penalized by their inability to have inspectors on the front lines to ensure that substantive permit and monitoring requirements were followed. Taking their lead from the EPA, many states announced that they were following suit. EPA always has discretion in terms of enforcement, but in making a blanket announcement, the agency created the space for substantial pollution and health risk from lack of adequate compliance in the regulated communities. It is hard to know what harms exist when reporting requirements are waived. This also sent the message that environmental protection is not a ‘critical function’ which it should be at all times. After climate induced disasters, federal and state agencies have done the same thing, abusing the ‘emergency’ exemption privileges to give a broad non-compliance pass to regulated industries. The uproar of the enforcement pause during the COVID-19 epidemic has shown a light on the abuse of enforcement discretion in disasters which are becoming more frequent with climate change. This article examines the legal basis of emergency exemptions, provides examples of how they have been abused in climate related disasters and the COVID-19 epidemic, and proposes solutions to curtail the abuse of these exemptions while still accounting for genuine emergency conditions.

Fletcher, Robert et al, ‘“Close the Tap!”: COVID-19 and the Need for Convivial Conservation’ [2020] (85) Journal of Australian Political Economy 200–211
Abstract: When 2020 was declared a ‘super year’ for biodiversity conservation, no one suspected that a particular form of this biodiversity would proliferate to such an extent as to bring all of the anticipated activity to a screeching halt. With species and ecosystems in dangerous decline the world over (IPBES 2019), there is growing recognition that previous conservation strategies have been largely inadequate to tackle the challenges they face, and hence that something radically different is needed.

Fisher, Liz, ‘Thinking Collectively: Law and Scholarship in Precarious Times’ (2020) 32(3) Journal of Environmental Law 339–343
Abstract: As collective action problems, the pandemic and environmental problems require collective responses. That is not an ideological statement. It is a factual one. No single person or single actor can ‘solve’ or even ‘manage’ COVID-19 or environmental problems. They require a multitude of co-ordinated contributions from across the public and private sectors. Markets, organisations, public administration, legislatures and households are all involved. Law has an important role to play in all of this. Law frames problems.9 It provides structures for addressing them in legitimate and authoritative ways. It empowers decision makers and structures their discretion. It creates markets and holds together supply chains. It creates stability. It limits and holds power to account. As legal scholars, we do need to ‘think collectively’ in light of COVID-19 and environmental problems. Thinking collectively is not thinking uniformly. It is not thinking without rigour. It is thinking as a scholarly community committed to illuminating the law and the problems it applies to.

Ghaleigh, Navraj Singh and Louise Burrows, ‘Resetting or Reversion in the New Climate Normal’ (Edinburgh School of Law Research Paper No 2020/12, 12 June 2020)
Abstract: This chapter makes the case that ambitious climate action should central to the ‘new normal’ in Asia, and that law has an important role in delivering it. From the perspective of climate change policy and law, the Covid-19 catastrophe offers the slim possibility that we will ‘build back better,’ restoring our societies and economies along climate-friendly lines. This approach – resetting – envisages national stimulus packages and allied actions of central banks and financial regulators which are oriented towards economic growth and net-zero emission pathways in the months and years following Covid-19. Such policy approaches would include monetary financing, asset purchase programs, SME support, and bailouts. Being ‘Paris-aligned’ (aligned with the objectives of the Paris Agreement), these initiatives would be heavily weighted towards net-zero buildings, energy storage, climate-friendly materials, clean industry and land-use, transport and greenhouse gas (GHG) removal. The alternative narrative – reversion – identifies a recovery trajectory in which policies that are supportive of carbon-intensive pathways push the Paris Agreement targets further out of reach. Components of such recovery packages include unconditional bailouts for the fossil fuel sector, conventional mobility (i.e. aviation, combustion engine-powered vehicles), and so on. Reversion may appear akin to the status quo, but resetting is far from a marginal preoccupation of the environmental movement. Advocates include international organizations, leading central bankers, major corporations, and governments, although the signals can be scrambled.We explore the tension between these two approaches in the immediate response to Covid-19, focusing on the coal sector as an emblematic variable in climate change debates. Coal is particularly significant in terms of its environmental impact, its predominance in Asia, and its unstable economics. These aspects each have relevance to policy responses to climate change, in particular the means by which coal is financed by states through export credit agencies (ECAs), which may be susceptible to legal challenge. Our discussion is limited to a selection of Asian jurisdictions that are representative of the major trends and processes.

Goodday, Victoria, ‘Environmental Regulation and the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Review of Regulator Response in Canada’ (University of Calgary, School of Public Policy Publications, SPP Briefing Paper No 14:10, March 2021)
Abstract: Governments worldwide weakened environmental protection in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including federal and provincial government agencies across Canada. In this briefing paper, I review and analyze these actions, comparing the types of rules changed, types of changes, rationale and sectors impacted. Results show that Canadian regulators took one of two approaches: enforcement discretion or pre-emptive rule adjustment. Industry, government and public stakeholders all benefited from relaxed rules. Most of the rules relaxed, however, were specific to certain industrial sectors: the oil, gas and coal; mining; fisheries and water sectors. Regulators’ main reason for adjusting environmental rules was to address capacity constraints faced by regulated entities, with limited detail provided to justify the changes in most cases. Over a third of the changes were indefinite with no set end date. I discuss implications of these actions, including increased risk of harm to the environment and human health, budgetary impacts, noncompliance enforcement and considerations for regulatory design moving forward.

Grodzińska-Jurczak, Małgorzata, ‘Environmental Choices vs. COVID-19 Pandemic Fear: Plastic Governance Re-Assessment’ (2020) 4(2) Society Register 49–66
Abstract: Alarming plastic production growth worldwide reinforces the public debate about the prevailing environmental crisis, whereby single-use-plastic (SUP) items are considered as by far the most harmful to the environment and public health. Accordingly, European environmental policy aims at eliminating SUP. Recently, we presented a model of plastic governance that derives from a circular economy approach identifying and taking into consideration perspectives of different actors in the plastic governance, such as producers, wholesalers, shop keepers, consumers, citizen scientists, and academia. Our results illustrate that the vast majority of stakeholders cared for the natural environment and understood the need to phase out SUP from the global economy. We proposed that a knowledge brokerage, undertaken by scientists via means of citizen science, as the most effective method to implement elimination policy, as it provides stakeholders with knowledge on why and how to handle SUP issues. However, at the time of the global COVID-19 pandemic, a plastic governance model required a re-assessment. The perceived role of SUP has changed, as it reflects the health emergency. Namely, due to the health safety reasons stakeholders and consumers are requesting even more SUP than previously. Following up on our data gathered prior to the pandemic, we suggest that under the new circumstances health concerns outweigh the environmental concerns being determined by a shift in the value hierarchization. The paper discusses preliminary results.

Hale, RC and B Song, ‘Single-Use Plastics and COVID-19: Scientific Evidence and Environmental Regulations’ (2020) 54(12) Environmental Science & Technology 7034–7036
Abstract: The US has no federal regulations limiting single-use plastics. Several states and numerous localities have enacted restrictions, but these have been under pressure by plastic manufacturers and allied interests. Recently, these interests have built upon concerns regarding the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2, also known as COVID-19) pandemic to push back on reusable bag usage and restrictions on single-use plastics.

Handayani, Otih, ‘Implementation of Prudential Principles in the Use of Disinfectants as an Effort to Prevent Covid-19 Pandemic for Legal Protection of Ecosystems’ (2020) 1(1) Journal of Morality and Legal Culture 58–65
Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic spreads almost all over the world, including Indonesia. The rapid spread of many fatalities resulted in the government using various means to overcome the pandemic, among others, with preventive efforts through massive disinfectant spraying. This research aims to lysis on applying the principle of prudence in the use of a disinfectant. This research is doctrinal/normative legal research with a statutory approach. Data is collected with literature studies, qualitatively analyzed. The results describe the use of large and inappropriate disinfectants that cause environmental pollution and adverse effects on public health. Environmental law analysis using Law No. 32 of 2009 and the regulations below can protect legal certainty and protect everyone’s right to a good and healthy environment to protect the entire ecosystem.

Hanshaw, Roger, ‘Paying for a Pandemic: “Just Compensation” and the Exercise of Police Powers for Public Safety’ (2021) 35(3) Natural Resources & Environment 38–42

Hobela, Volodymyr et al, ‘Economic and Legal Measures for Ensuring the Economy Greening in Post-Pandemic Period’ (2021) 10(44) Revista Amazonia Investiga 252–260
Abstract: The study proposed to intensify the economy greening by using the most effective greening tools whose effectiveness was assessed by using expert analysis. The most effective greening tools were identified: environmental taxes, quotas, environmental funds, environmental audit, and environmental certification. Based on the results of the study, several economic and legal measures for economy greening in the post-pandemic period were developed.

Huang, Jie (Jeanne) and Jiaxiang Hu, ‘Can Free Trade Agreements and Their Dispute Resolution Mechanisms Help Protect the Environment and Public Health? The CPTTP, MARPOL73/78 and COVID-19’ (Sydney Law School Research Paper No 20/24, 14 April 2020)
Abstract: Preventing or managing a global pandemic such as COVID-19 requires states to strictly comply with International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR). However, they lack a strong enforcement mechanism, like many multilateral environmental protection agreements. Over the past fifteen years, several such conventions have been incorporated into free trade agreements (FTAs) to enhance State compliance and therefore promote environmental protection. A typical example is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships and its Protocols (MARPOL 73/78). Vessels, like viruses, are globally mobile. Vessel-sourced pollution also mirrors human-carried viral infection, because the locations of potential harm are unpredictable and widespread. This Chapter examines first whether FTAs (especially mega-regional FTAs) can effectively encourage States to comply with MARPOL 73/78. Through this analysis, it generates implications regarding whether the IHR regime could also rely on new or renegotiated FTAs, or be reformed directly, to enhance state compliance with public health initiatives.

Khan, Intan Nadia Ghulam, ‘The New Norms for Household Solid Waste Management in Time of Covid-19: Malaysian Legal Perspective’ (2020) 3(1) INSLA E-Proceedings 660–668
Abstract: Many countries, including Malaysia, have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic which was newly discovered at the end of 2019. Malaysia is taking steps to enforce Movement Control Order starting March 2020 and, the latest is the enforcement of the Recovery Movement Control Order until the end of this year. Covid-19 poses new challenges to waste management whereby a failure in managing wastes in the time of facing this pandemic will cause adverse effects on public safety and health as well as the environment. Hence, the relevant authorities and the public should manage waste carefully and effectively. The households may generate household hazardous solid waste such as contaminated face masks or other household solid wastes during the pandemic which must be properly disposed of. By employing a library research method and interview, this paper discusses from the legal perspective, the new norms for household solid waste management in the time of Covid-19. The findings seem to suggest that the new norms in respect of the household are seen in terms of the increased practice of 3R and separation of waste and the implementation of Standard Operating Procedures in managing household solid waste by the relevant authorities. It is recommended that households should be provided with a comprehensive guideline on household solid waste management during the pandemic of Covid-19.

Klasche, Benjamin, ‘After COVID-19: What Can We Learn About Wicked Problem Governance?’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3637837, 30 June 2020)
Abstract: The governance of the coronavirus crisis has shown some promising results as the spread of the disease to a critical level was avoided. Due to its complex nature, the crisis must be considered a wicked problem and its successful governance could, therefore, serve as a resource for governing other wicked problems such as the climate crisis. This short article suggests that the principles of metagovernance are useful in governing wicked problems and places governance tactics of the coronavirus crisis and the climate crisis in analytical categories derived from it. By doing so, possible lessons for the governance of the climate crisis were extracted. Based on these, the key for governing wicked problems lies in the acceptance end embracing of failure as a governance outcome which leads to the ability to modify or abandon policies swiftly. It also stresses the responsibility of the population to support policies and their execution pro-actively.

Klenert, David et al, ‘Five Lessons from COVID-19 for Advancing Climate Change Mitigation’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3622201, 2 June 2020)
Abstract: The nexus of COVID-19 and climate change has so far brought attention to short-term greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions, public health responses and clean recovery stimulus packages. We take a more holistic approach, making five broad comparisons between the crises with five associated lessons for climate change mitigation policy. First, delay is costly. Second, policy design must overcome biases to human judgment. Third, inequality can be exacerbated without timely action. Fourth, global problems require multiple forms of international cooperation. Fifth, transparency of normative positions is needed to navigate value judgments at the science-policy interface. Learning from policy actions during the COVID-19 crisis could enhance efforts to reduce GHG emissions and prepare humanity for future crises.

Kuh, Katrina et al, ‘Environmental Law Disrupted By COVID-19’ (2021) 51 Environmental Law Reporter 10509–10523
Abstract: For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about systemic racial injustice have highlighted the conflicts and opportunities currently faced by environmental law. Scientists uniformly predict that environmental degradation, notably climate change, will cause a rise in diseases, disproportionate suffering among communities already facing discrimination, and significant economic losses. In this Article, members of the Environmental Law Collaborative examine the legal system’s responses to these crises, with the goal of framing opportunities to reimagine environmental law. The Article is excerpted from their book Environmental Law, Disrupted, to be published by ELI Press later this year.

Kum, Ekia Gilbert, ‘What Can the World Health Organization (WHO), and the 1979 Geneva Convention (CLRTAP) Do, under the Rules of Public International Law (PIL), to Curb Air Pollution Which Has Amplified the Death Toll Rate of the Coronavirus-19 in the World?’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3635016, 24 June 2020)
Abstract: The most important natural resource on the planet earth is air because people, animals and plants (vegetation) need to breathe in clean air that is not polluted in order to be alive. Breathing is a vital natural process which is called respiration. In the process of respiration, also known as ‘cellular respiration’, a living subject or thing takes in oxygen from the air and expels carbon dioxide (CO2) as a waste product. Therefore, if the respiration of ambient air is intoxicated by the gaseous or chemical substances produced by air pollution (PM 10, 2.5, or 0.5), the lives of people, animals and plants, will be in serious danger. The environment, structures and the ecosystem will also suffer destruction and depletion of the ozone layer (effects of the ozone hole). This Article strives to scientifically investigate, analyse and demonstrate that the actual public international law rules put in place have not substantively provisioned the remedies and constitutional or treaty mechanisms which should tackle air pollution effectively. Legal Scholar will draw on the public international law instruments of this research question in order to make a preliminary proposed reform that should remedy the devastating effects of air pollution in the World. The Article envisages to substantiate on how air pollution has contributed in increasing the number of deaths on the coronavirus-19 patients around the globe. The study moves on to advice COVID-19 victims on the tortious liability actions they could engage against their national Governments, if they can substantiate that, air pollution aggravated their COVID-19 situations, which injuriously caused them any substantiated loss or harm. Researcher will move on with his conclusion by inciting Nation-States and the United Nations Organizations, to study the reform he has proposed in this introductory Article and make use of such. The continuation of the greater part of the project will comparatively analyse and investigate on how the national and public international law rules of air pollution countries like France, Britain, the USA, China and India regulate air pollution? The complete project of which this Article is the first part, will be concluded through the presentation of a proposed public international law instrument that should effectively regulate air pollution. Such an instrument will be in the form of a model drafted international treaty of a jus cogens character. It will aim at drastically curbing air pollution and imposing compliance on all Members and non-Members of the United Nations Organization (UNO), who have ratified or not the proposed reform, if adopted by the United Nation Organization (UNO).

Kunguma, Olivia, Alice Ncube and Mosekama O Mokhele, ‘COVID-19 Disaster Response: South African Disaster Managers’ Faith in Mandating Legislation Tested?’ (2021) 13(1) Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies a1099 (advance article)
Abstract: For the first time in the history of the Disaster Management Act, 57 of 2002, South Africa declared COVID-19 an epidemiological disaster. Section 3 and 27(1) of this Act activated the responsible Minister in consultation with other Ministers to issue regulations in response to the disaster. The declaration exposed the already criticised Act to scrutiny by the public. Therefore, this study investigated the Metropolitan Disaster Management Centres that coordinate local events and support the provincial and national disaster management centres, their perceptions concerning the disaster management legislation that mandates them. The study recognised a gap in this regard and saw it imperative to give the disaster managers a voice and a platform to express their opinion concerning the heavily criticised legislation. A model of the policy implementation process guided the study investigation. This model argues that implementation of policies tends to generate tensions, which result in a disruption of the policy formulators’ expectations. The research uses some of the model’s variables to measure the perceptions of disaster managers. Using an interview guide, the researchers conducted virtual interviews with the disaster managers. Scholarly and media articles review concerning the Act formed part of the data collection. The study finds that the disaster managers perceive the disaster management legislation as a very useful guide, an excellent piece of legislation and trust it regardless of the criticism it received. The gaps the critics identified in the legislation became evident and had negative effects on the COVID-19 disaster response.

Kyle, Mikaela, ‘COVID-19 in Ontario: An Opportunity to Degrade Environmental Law and Policy’ (York University, MES Major Papers, 2021)
Abstract: This paper identifies and evaluates the early responses to the COVID-19 pandemic within Ontario. The concept of policy windows is used in this paper to articulate how the pandemic created opportunities for policy and legal changes within Ontario. The Ford government was presented with two potential paths in confronting the unprecedented health and economic crises that were unfolding. These paths were to double down on supporting existing economic actors including entrenched businesses and industries while continuing pre-pandemic trajectories, or to make significant economic changes by putting Ontario on a path towards green business and in doing so spurring new economic activity. This paper demonstrates that the former path was taken, doubling down on pre-existing paths while also degrading and reverting existing environmental protections. To demonstrate this policy window and the path that was selected, this paper compiles all the decisions and changes made by the Ford government in the first months of the pandemic which relate to or have impacts on environmental laws and policy. This paper compares these decisions to the Ford government’s pre-existing pathways to assess how the pandemic did or did not change trajectories. This paper concludes that these pathways were not significantly altered. Many of the decisions that were made during these initial months were decisions that were already on the government’s agenda. However, this paper does see an increased hostility towards environmental policies, laws and protections that may indicate further degradations in the future – especially in the areas of public participation and consultation, particularly with respect to land use development issues.

Larson, Rhett, ‘Water Law and the Response to COVID-19’ (2020) 45(7–8) Water International 716–721
Abstract: John Snow’s defeat of a deadly, growing threat has become the stuff of legend. No, I’m not talking about Jon Snow of Game of Thrones fame. I am talking about John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology. Snow famously traced the source of deadly cholera outbreaks in nineteenth-century London to contamination of drinking water from untreated sewage, giving rise to the legend of Snow breaking the handle off a pump on Broad Street in London and saving the city. Less well known is the role Snow played in reforming legislation to improve the legal response to epidemics. Early responses to cholera outbreaks were based on the ‘miasma theory’, meaning that the disease arose from impurities in the air. In 1855, legislators proposed to regulate and punish supposed sources of these impurities in London, the ‘offensive trades’ such as gas works and bone-boiling operations. Representatives of these industries called on Snow to testify in Parliament that these enterprises did not contribute to the spread of cholera. Instead, Snow argued for greater investments in water infrastructure, improved drinking water quality, and mandated connections to underground sewers. In 1866, following another cholera outbreak in London, Parliament enacted Snow’s proposals. From the origins of modern epidemiology to today, reforms in water law have progressed to meet new public health challenges. This pattern will continue with changes in water law as a response to COVID-19 and to prepare for the next pandemic.

Lee, Murray, ‘Policing the Pedal Rebels: A Case Study of Environmental Activism Under COVID-19’ (2021) 10(2) International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 156–168
Abstract: Australia, along with nation-states internationally, has entered a new phase of environmentally focused activism, with globalised, coordinated and social media–enabled environmental social movements seeking to address human-induced climate change and related issues such as the mass extinction of species and land clearing. Some environmental protest groups such as Extinction Rebellion (XR) have attracted significant political, media and popular commentary for their sometimes theatrical and disruptive forms of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience. Drawing on green and cultural criminology, this article constitutes an autoethnographic account of environmental protest during the final stages of the initial COVID-19 lockdown in NSW, Australia. It takes as a case study a small protest by an XR subgroup called the Pedal Rebels. The article explores the policing of environmental protest from an activist standpoint, highlighting the extraordinary police resources and powers mobilised to regulate a small peaceful group of ‘socially distanced’ protesters operating within the existing public health orders. It places an autoethnographic description of this protest in the context of policing practice and green and cultural criminology. Additionally, it outlines the way in which such policing is emboldened by changes to laws affecting environmental protest, making activism an increasingly risky activity.

Lehmen, Alessandra, ‘Populism, Environmental Law, and the Post-Pandemic Order’ (2020) 17(2) Revista de Direito Internacional 85–99
Abstract: Environmental Law is particularly prone to being antagonized by populist politics. This assertion entails relevant theoretical and practical implications, yet it has received scarce attention from scholars and policymakers. This paper aims at analyzing the dynamics of this opposition, as well as its manifestations in the Global South. Furthermore, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, this article explores the correlations and causal links between the environment and epidemiological outbreaks. Lastly, the future of Environmental Law in the post-pandemic world order is discussed, considering in particular how the inherent tension with populism should play out in this scenario. In doing so, this study hypothesizes that a widespread health emergence could potentially change the public’s risk perception so significantly that populist politics would no longer be able to eschew the environmental agenda and its public health implications.

Levenson, Laurie L, ‘Climate Change and the Criminal Justice System’ (Loyola Law School Los Angeles Legal Studies Research Paper No 2020–22, 1 August 2020)
Abstract: The past decade has been the warmest decade in history. But while there has been a great deal of attention paid to issues of infrastructure sustainability, less attention has been focused on the impact of climate change on our criminal justice system.This paper identifies how we can anticipate climate change will affect and create new challenges for law enforcement, prisons, prosecutorial and defense agencies, government offices, and communities.This article first examines three ways climate change is challenging our criminal justice system –from altering the types of crimes committed, to detrimentally impacting prisons, jails, and other criminal justice institutions, to challenging traditional doctrines of criminal law such as the necessity and duress defenses and causation. Drawing in part on lessons from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this article makes ten recommendations on how such challenges can be met.

Liu, Yufei, ‘The Further Development of the International Carbon Emission Legal System under the Transition of Covid-19’ (7th International Conference on Humanities and Social Science Research (ICHSSR 2021), 2021) 1334–1338
Abstract: In recent years, the international society has put tremendous effort into regulating carbon dioxide emissions. While the COVID-19 pandemic had significantly impacted global energy use and created a drastic but temporary reduction in CO2 emissions, it is important to re-examine the current international legal system to produce long-lasting effects. By studying the overall structure of international law and domestic law, the problematic relationship between them can be identified. The international soft laws, compared to the domestic hard laws, have limited legal power to promote substantial achievement in environmental protection. Moreover, the difficulty in assuring equal participation and enforcement makes it even harder to maintain long-term carbon emission restrictions. Therefore, to promote connections between domestic and international law, it is fundamental to maintain the shared goal of lowering carbon emissions through the integration of international treaty laws. By bridging the gap between international and domestic laws and enhancing partnership between various regulatory bodies, the worldwide community can achieve its long-term carbon emission goals.

McAdam, Jane and Frances Voon, ‘Submission 39: Inquiry into the Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic for Australia’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’ (UNSW Law Research Paper No 21–18, 29 June 2020)
Abstract: As members of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at UNSW Sydney, Jane McAdam and Frances Voon provided this submission to the Inquiry into the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for Australia’s foreign affairs, defence and trade. Their submission considers two issues relevant to the Inquiry’s terms of reference and the Centre’s expertise. The first is how States’ responses to refugees and people seeking asylum in the context of COVID-19 pose challenges to the international rules-based order, in Australia’s region and beyond. The second is the implications of COVID-19 for the Pacific, particularly the need to promote longer-term resilience through measures to address the impacts of climate change, such as enhancing mobility.

McRobert, David, ‘How the COVID-19 Pandemic Has Reshaped Global Patterns of Plastic Use and the Timing of Regulatory Phase-Outs and Possible Progressive Legal, Regulatory and Consumer Responses’ (Ontario Bar Association, 21 October 2020)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how a health and related economic crises can block or significantly delay carefully crafted legal and regulatory responses to environmental problems. In this article we look at the example of plastics and explore how, in the wake of concern about rapid transmission of COVID-19, public health officials, the health care sector, and the plastics industry (and the industries that use their packaging products such as the food and beverages sector) are exerting considerable pressure to relax efforts to regulate plastics and phase-out single use plastics (SUPs). The narrative to date has been multi-layered. Given widespread uncertainty about how the pandemic would proceed, an initial run on many consumer goods led to shortages and hoarding and a steep rise in global plastic consumption and waste generation. Concern over surface transmission of the virus from handling also resulted in a rapid shift from reusables to a reliance on disposable products in many sectors. SUP consumption is estimated to have increased by 200-300 per cent between February and June 2020, while recycling rates declined relative to pre-COVID-19 rates and littering on lands and waters have increased. By mid July 2020, waste management service providers estimated that North American households were generating up to 50 per cent more waste by volume than they did pre-COVID-19. This increase can be attributed to numerous factors including: 1) a massive increase in reliance on disposable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) leading to an unfortunate increase in litter and plastic pollution; 2) a sharp rise in the e-commerce industry as consumers felt safer staying at home and having goods and food delivered to them; and 3) an increase in consumer pick-up services at curbside by retailers and other service providers. On the positive side, there were drastic reductions in pollution and greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in many nations including Canada as a result of the reduced commuter traffic and manufacturer operations. In addition, Canadians came together and sewed reusable cloth masks to alleviate pressure on commercial, scarce PPE supplies. Mask wearing along with proper hand washing showed that education and emphasis on hygiene can promote greater reuse of products. However, these efforts seem meager in light of the challenges posed by historical and ongoing damage microplastics are causing to the oceans. In October 2020, Australian researchers studying the extent of plastic pollution in deep sea sediments estimated conservatively that at least 14 million tonnes of microplastics reside on oceans based on their core sampling work. These historical accumulations are a reminder of the environmental damage and contamination impacts of resource extraction, refining, chemical synthesis, manufacturing, packaging, filling (of packaging such as bottles), transportation related to plastics use. The pandemic also has shown that socio-technical, educational, and legal mechanisms need to be instituted to support reduction and reuse of plastics and other reusable products (e.g. dishes, bottles, glasses and cutlery) by industry and consumers. For example, the restaurant and food industries should be initially incentivized and eventually required to reuse plastics and other reusable products made of stainless steel, glass and ceramics (for containers, bottles and eating ware such as dishes, glasses and cutlery). Benefits of reuse for businesses include: cutting costs, adapting to individual needs, optimizing operations, building brand loyalty, improving user experience, and gathering intelligence on user preferences and system performance. Moreover, a complete assessment of the environmental damage and contamination impacts of the industrial emissions related to resource extraction, refining, chemical synthesis, manufacturing, etc. associated with the increased plastics use during the pandemic will be required once the outbreak ends.

Nachmany, Eli, ‘Conservation and Economic Recovery: Telling the Story of the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020’ (2021) 58(2) Harvard Journal on Legislation 425–459
Abstract: The article argues that the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020 is not just a conservation bill but also an economic legislation enacted amid the growth of unemployment in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S. Topics discussed include the legislative history of the Great American Outdoors Act, the establishment of a National Parks Restoration Fund, and the provision of full funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Norouzi, Nima and Elham Ataei, ‘Covid-19 Crisis and Environmental Law: Opportunities and Challenges’ (2021) 7(1) Hasanuddin Law Review 46–60
Abstract: With the outbreak of Covid-19 globally, many measures were taken to reduce this epidemic’s effects. The most important of these was the advice to stay home, which became the main line of witness slogans. With this recommendation, schools, offices, and factories were closed. The Covid-19 epidemic has had a profound effect on people’s lifestyles and is likely to have other consequences. The article’s main question is: What opportunities and challenges do the Covid epidemic pose to the environment, and how does it affect environmental rights? Quarantine policies have led to reduced production and transportation and a significant reduction in the pollution caused by these behaviors. Other effects may become apparent immediately. Covid-19 may increase survival damage in the future against contamination. Other developments may occur, including rethinking environmental and economic values and rethinking how resources are allocated and consumed, as Covid-19 affects the global, national, and local economies. Considering each of these consequences and their effects can help to develop environmental law and formulate effective strategies.

Norouzi, Nima and Elham Ataei, ‘COVID-19 Impacts on the Sustainable Development in Latin America: An Investigation on the Environmental Law and Policy’ (2021) 1(1) Universal Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities 22–36
Abstract: The economic and social effects that the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated measures to ad-dress it are having in Latin America may lead to serious long-term consequences that would affect the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. In this article, the collaboration of envi-ronmental economists from eight countries in the region discusses the possible effects of the pan-demic on air pollution, deforestation, and other relevant environmental aspects related to the SDGs. In addition to presenting an account of some of the initial effects of the health crisis on the environment, the paper discusses potential effects in terms of environmental regulations and public policy interventions. Finally, the paper presents an agenda on new research topics that arise due to the pandemic or have gained greater importance due to it, including the impacts on the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Briefly, this paper is a novel view of the sustainable development in Latin America and the Covid-19 impacts on this process.

Nugroho, Wahyu and Erwin Syahruddin, ‘Law Enforcement and Fulfillment of the Right to a Healthy Environment Related to Forest Burning during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Indonesia’ (2020) 13(4) Journal of Politics and Law 17–27
Abstract: Law enforcement against forest burning during the Covid-19 pandemic was carried out extraordinary. The state is obliged to fulfill the rights of citizens to a good and healthy environment, to overcome forest fires. The country must also restore environmental quality from smoke pollution, as well as the government’s commitment to tackling climate change due to forest fires during the Covid-19 pandemic. In this article, the problem is how is law enforcement against forest burning during the Covid-19 pandemic? and how to fulfill community rights to a healthy environment related to forest burning during the Covid-19 pandemic? The method used is a variety of literature and information media during a pandemic related to forest burning, as well as the Law on Environment and Forest Management, using qualitative juridical analysis. In conclusion, first, law enforcement against forest burning during the Covid-19 pandemic is carried out extraordinarily by implementing a system of heavy sanctions, revoking permits, optimizing the recovery costs for Covid-19 response to the results of corporate efforts to guarantee the economy of citizens and donations to the state to address the handling of Covid-19, and to involve indigenous peoples in forest areas with local wisdom that contribute to reducing carbon emissions, so that climate change can be resolved during the Covid-19 pandemic; second, the fulfillment of people’s rights to a healthy environment related to forest burning during the Covid-19 pandemic is a state obligation guaranteed by the constitution, maintaining good environmental quality, and Indonesia’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and forest fires due to climate change, as well as law enforcement, oriented towards fulfilling the rights to the environment and health of citizens.

Opinio Juris in Comparatione (2020) Special Issue: Impact of Coronavirus Emergency - Section 2: Environment

Ortiz, Andrea Monica D et al, ‘Implications of COVID-19 on Progress in the UN Conventions on Biodiversity and Climate Change’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3665170, 30 July 2020)
Abstract: 2020 was to be a landmark year to set new targets to halt biodiversity loss and prevent dangerous climate change. However, due to COVID-19, the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) of the Convention on Biological Diversity, in Kunming, China and the 26th COP of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow, Scotland, where negotiations on the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) towards the 2050 vision of ‘Living in harmony with nature’, as well as the second submission of Nationally Determined Contributions to keep global warming well below 2°C following the Paris Agreement, were to take place.The pandemic has caused many country priorities to shift towards responding to the health crisis and economic recovery, and this may affect how driven parties will be in upcoming negotiations. Agreement on higher climate ambition, as well as conservation targets, may become even more tenuous. However, weak and unambitious climate and biodiversity policies, and a rapid return to business as usual could have catastrophic consequences for the planet. Biodiversity and climate policy frameworks should recognize that the biodiversity, climate change, and health crises are deeply interlinked, and take advantage of opportunities for higher ambition in climate and biodiversity targets.

Pandey, Anjali, ‘Impact of Covid 19 Pandemic in Balancing the Environment and Right to Pollution Free Air and Healthy Atmosphere’ (2021) 24 Supremo Amicus Journal (unpaginated)
Extract: As ventures, transportation and organizations have shut down, it has brought an abrupt drop of ozone harming substances (GHGs) discharges. During the lockdown time frame, the major mechanical wellsprings of contamination have contracted or totally halted, which assisted with decreasing the contamination load14. For example, the stream Ganga and Yamuna have arrived at a critical degree of immaculateness because of the shortfall of mechanical contamination on the times of lockdown in India. It is discovered that, among the 36 ongoing observing stations of stream Ganga, water from 27 stations met as far as possible. As indicated by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB, 2020) of India, commotion level of local location of Delhi is decreased 55 dB (daytime) and 45 dB (night) to 40 dB (daytime) and 30 dB (night) separately. Accordingly, city occupants are presently getting a charge out of the twittering of birds, which typically goes from 40-50 dB. 15But again, this improvement in environment during Covid is short-term therefore collective approach is required to be taken in order to convert these short term effects into long-term.

Pontin, Ben, ‘The Constitutive Tension Between Public Health and Environmental Protection: An Historical Perspective’ (2020) 32(3) Journal of Environmental Law 345–348
Abstract: Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, commentators have highlighted, variously, the environmentally destructive human activities thought to be at the heart of the transmission of the coronavirus from animals to humans, together with many environmental benefits arising from lockdown-style policy responses. Thus the lockdowns taking place in most countries of the world have been welcomed not only for their protection of vulnerable adults and children from disease, but for the gift of cleaner air,1 reduction in greenhouse gas emissions associated with fossil fuel-powered mechanised activity and creation of space for wildlife to thrive people as unprecedented numbers of people are confined to their dwellings and neighbourhoods. The ambivalent idea that humankind’s ecological footprint is to blame for a pandemic, yet that there is a silver lining in a ‘good’ policy and law response, is as old as time.

Puaschunder, Julia M, ‘The Green New Deal: Historical Foundations, Economic Fundamentals and Implementation Strategies’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3676872, 19 August 2020)
Abstract: The Green New Deal (GND) serves as market solution to implement global environmental governance as ‘the sum of the many ways individuals and institutions, public and private, manage their common affairs.’ This paper discusses the historical foundations, underlying economic mechanisms of the GND and contemporary implementation strategies of the GND. GND spending should target social and green causes fostering concepts such as eco-commerce, environmental enterprise, environmental finance, fiscal environmentalism, green accounting, economy, jobs and trading as well as sustainable energy. The economic policies proposed comprise of fiscal and monetary means, innovation efforts and behavioral changes. Concrete recommendations are given on carbon tax, emissions trading, green bonds, absorbing CO2 and forestation, insurance policies, intergenerational conscientiousness, engaging portfolio managers, ecotax, environmental pricing reform, environmental tariffs, net metering, Pigovian tax and sustainable tourism. All these efforts are to support global environmental governance. The paper closes with a prospective outlook of changes implied to the GND due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

Ringbeck, Jürgen and Tim-Maximilian Koenig, ‘The Impact of COVID-19 on the Path to Climate Neutral Air Transport: An Empirical Investigation’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3856596, 30 May 2021)
Abstract: The COVID-19 crisis still has a firm grip on the aviation industry after global air traffic slumped to 66% below the previous year’s level in 2020, and many airlines could only be saved from bankruptcy by special loans or direct state equity investments. At the same time, there is increasing pressure on airlines to accelerate the decarbonization of the sector. Recently, many countries, such as China, the EU, and the US have significantly tightened their climate targets. Air travel is considered a particularly damaging form of travel since before Greta Thunberg’s ‘Friday for Future’ movement. As a result, aviation will be expected to make a stronger contribution to decarbonization going forward. The question is how air transport, which has been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, can succeed in converting to climate-neutral flying. An international survey conducted in the fall of 2020 with more than 220 aviation experts and senior managers provides interesting insights and concrete advice on how a path to climate-neutral air transport can be designed and which new risks need to be considered in particular on this path.

Rowell, Arden, ‘COVID-19 and Environmental Law’ (2020) 50(10881) Environmental Law Reporter (pre-print)
Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic is a seismically disruptive event. This commentary explores some of the key ways this seismic shift will interact with environmental law. It explores four types of change triggered by the pandemic: (1) behavioral changes (including of behaviors with environmental impacts); (2) demographic changes that affect levels of background risk against which laws (including environmental laws) operate; (3) changes in values (including regarding the environment); and (4) changing resources (including those that can be spent on environmental or other amenities). Each of these changes has potentially important implications for the assumptions built in to environmental law, for the ability of environmental law to effectively regulate the environment, and for the way that humans will interact with the environment in coming years and decades.

Ryan, Erin, ‘Lessons from the Coronavirus Pandemic for Environmental Governance’, Seeing the Woods: the Rachel Carson Center Blog (Blog Post, 1 June 2020)
Abstract: This very short essay distills lessons from the U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic for leaders everywhere about how—and how not—to manage complex interjurisdictional challenges, like the environment, which unfold without regard for political boundaries. In a matter of months, COVID-19 has laid bare the interdependence of the world on every front imaginable: global public health, economic growth and development, social and professional networks, transportation and migration, and of course, ecological and environmental systems. No single nation has the coronavirus. No one state is economically disrupted. There is no single ethnic group, occupation, or corner of the world that has been impacted. All of us, in every corner of the world, in every profession, and in every ecosystem are affected. Since the virus was introduced, it has surfed the channels of our interconnectedness, uniting us all in the grip of its devastation. Similarly, unless we can act in unison to contain it, it will continue to surf those channels, exposing our interconnectedness despite all efforts to pretend otherwise.In this way, the virus and our response to it betrays the fundamental problem with which environmental governance has always contended in our interdependent, multijurisdictional world: We cannot do it alone. The major environmental problems with which we wrestle—air and water pollution, biodiversity preservation, ecosystem integrity, climate stability, and all the others—are bigger than we are, and certainly bigger than any one of these jurisdictions. No matter how skilled or well-intended, a single town, city, state, or even nation cannot effectively cope with the critical environmental challenges of our time, because they extend beyond these arbitrary political boundaries. To accomplish our goals, we have to coordinate our efforts.

Saito, Carlos Hiroo, Anne-Elisabeth Laques and Aneta Afelt, ‘The World after Covid-19: Vulnerabilities, Uncertainties, and Socio-Environmental Challenges’ (2020) 34(2) Revista Justiça do Direito 52–104
Abstract: The text brings reflections on the challenges posed to the world due to the pandemic, both for its face of fear, amplified by the cacophony of political decisions, but also from the perspective of mutual aid and hope for a better future. The analysis of the pandemic impact on society is based on vulnerability framework. Three angles of analysis are adopted: ‘Exposure’ is approached from the blocks to displacement and lockdown; ‘Sensitivity’ is treated from the point of view of social inequalities, the weakened Welfare State, and strategies of herd immunity; The ‘capacity of response’ is addressed by the role of science and democracies in the face of the crisis. The pandemic vulnerability analysis is based on examples mainly from Brazil, France, and Poland. Based on this vulnerability, it is proposed to rethink sustainable development and the environment: what lessons for the future can we learn from the crisis?

Santos Silva, Marta and Luisa Cortat Simonetti Goncalves, ‘Nudging Consumers towards Sustainable Practices Regarding Plastics in a Post-COVID-19 Europe’ in Ewoud et al Hondius (ed), Coronavirus and the Law in Europe (Intersentia, 2020)
Abstract: Producers and consumers play an important role in the fight against plastic pollution, particularly as far as single-use plastics (SUPs) are concerned, that depend on product eco-design and change in consumption patterns. The EU acknowledges this role of producers and consumers, and established goals for Member States, often in the form of rules addressed to the industry. The challenges caused by SUPs were, however, increased by the COVID-19 pandemic that led to an exponential production of protective equipment, such as masks and gloves, food packaging and take-away containers. This paper thus purports to address the question of how nudging can foster sustainable practices regarding plastics in Europe during and after the coronavirus crisis. Based on the understanding that behavioural insights are useful to both policy and lawmakers and on statistical information available on the impact in consumer choice and the environment, this paper demonstrates the utility of nudges in the particular COVID-19 scenario and concludes that consumers shall be given a prominent role in the orchestration of the transition to a sustainable plastics economy. In order to do so, the paper (1) describes the omnipresence of plastics in the products offered to consumers; (2) contextualizes the European approach to SUPs on the search for a circular economy; (3) summarises the impacts of the coronavirus crisis on the environment and on the law in Europe; (4) describes the role of stakeholders in a sustainable plastics economy; and (5) sets the importance of addressing consumer behaviour through nudging in the fight against SUPs.

Scotford, Eloise AK, ‘Rethinking Clean Air: Air Quality Law and COVID-19’ (2020) 32(3) Journal of Environmental Law 349-353
Abstract: Air quality has long been a serious health problem caused by industrialisation and urbanisation, and a very difficult policy and regulatory problem to address. The COVID-19 pandemic sheds these air quality law challenges in new light. It is a public health crisis with many links to air quality. This opinion piece examines early lessons for air quality law arising from the pandemic.

Stump, Nicholas, ‘Critical Legal Research and Contemporary Crises: Climate Change, COVID-19, and the Mass Black Lives Matter Uprising’ [2020] Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left (forthcoming)
Abstract: This Article explores intertwined contemporary crises via the Critical Legal Research framework (‘CLR’), as initially developed by the critical legal scholars Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic. CLR as conceived of in this Article entails a truly radical approach to the legal research and analysis regime. While the traditional research regime—i.e., as taught in law schools and utilized in practice—functions to homogenize research outcomes towards hegemonic ends, a critically ‘reconstructed’ approach to legal and broader socio-legal research permits more transformative futures. Specifically, CLR as deployed within such modes as radical cause lawyering can help engender genuine systemic ‘re-formations’ of the ecological political economy beyond mere law ‘reform.’ Next, this Article applies the CLR framework to three intertwined crises: climate change and the broader ecological crisis (i.e., termed the ‘Capitalocene’ by critical commentators); the COVID-19 global pandemic and accompanying social and economic catastrophe, and; the racial state violence and intersecting oppressions along lines of class, gender, LGBTQ+ status, immigrant status, etc. that catalyzed the mass 2020 Black Lives Matter uprising. This illustrative CLR application demonstrates that such crises ultimately emanate from the unjust and ecologically unsustainable white patriarchal capitalist paradigm—and that, correspondingly, CLR-influenced radical cause lawyering modes could help drive transformative futures beyond this paradigm in its entirety.

Sulistiawati, Linda Yanti and David K Linnan, ‘COVID-19 Versus Climate Change Impacts: Lesson Learned During the Pandemic’ (NUS Asia-Pacific Centre for Environment Law Working Paper No 20/04, 13 May 2020)
Abstract: This article explains legal implication of COVID 19, and the similarity of the Pandemic to Climate Change Impacts. As countries battling with COVID 19, it is apparent that there are several legal implications: Individual rights v. governmental power during the State of Emergency or similar emergency status; the Importance of data v. the rights of privacy; and Judiciary problems such as court trials, private property-economic freedom v. contract. All of us are grasping to understand and find solution for these problems, and yet a bigger challenge is upon us. This article underlines the similarity of the Pandemic and Climate Change Impacts; they are both linked to rapid change, which is hard to understand for most people; they are both related to carbon taxes and stranded assets in terms of oil and natural resources; but the framing of COVID 19 and Climate Change Impacts in the media, is very different. Considering the facts, this pandemic is just a preview for climate change impacts. The significant death rate of COVID 19 (in the worst hit areas) is nothing to the possibility of injuries, illnesses and deaths from extreme weather and climate events, malnutrition, heat stress and malaria as climate change impacts.

Tanimura, Steven, ‘Are There Limits to Growth? Climate Change… Coronavirus… Is There a Connection?’ (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3684881, 1 September 2020)
Abstract: Over the past decade, the world has witnessed the unfolding of climate change—the extension of our limited abatement of pollution and uncontrolled consumption of resources. We have also in the midst of the third coronavirus event. The first was the Severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS-CoV in 2003; then there was the Middle East respiratory syndrome or MERS- CoV in 2012; and finally, the current SARS-CoV-2 virus which is the cause COVID-19.Although it is tempting to assert that a causal relationship does in fact exist, there may not be a substantive line of argument to support such a claim, nor sufficient evidence that is available. The intent of this paper is to examine whether a causal relationship can be at least hypothesized. No attempt will be made to produce an analytical or statistical model of such a relationship. The approach used will be primarily argumentative in nature, drawing upon the body of literature that may be available to assist in its rationalization. There may be arguments that may not have been considered—and for that, it was not intentional.

Tigre, Maria Antonia, ‘COVID-19 and Amazonia: Rights-Based Approaches for the Pandemic Response’ (2021) 30(2) Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law 162–172
Abstract: COVID-19 has shed light on humanity’s interconnectedness with nature. The protection of biodiversity is essential to prevent future pandemics and protect human health. With rising deforestation levels, the Amazon basin is a centre stage in this debate. Lacking a regional strategy to protect the rainforest, Amazon countries are failing to protect their rich biodiversity. The transboundary effects of Amazonia’s destruction are often overlooked. Simultaneously, the COVID-19 pandemic shows how cooperation between states is more critical than ever. This article examines how Amazon countries have jointly addressed the pandemic, demonstrating the effectiveness of regional agreements and their role in pandemic prevention. The right to a healthy environment is central to this investigation, given the role of forests and biodiversity in preventing zoonotic diseases. This article thus asks: What are the duties of States to protect the environment and indigenous communities during COVID-19 and potentially future pandemics? In this context, it considers the developing jurisprudence of the Inter-American System of Human Rights and its potential effects on regional and national implementation of environmental obligations.

Wilson, Catherine, ‘The Growing Plastic Mountain of PPE Waste’ (2020) 44(3) Company Secretary’s Review 42–43
Abstract: Highlights the growing global environmental challenge of plastic waste, which has been exacerbated by the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examines how corporations should review, measure and reduce their plastic waste.

Zimmermann, Rahel, ‘The World Health Organization as Actor in International Environmental Law? An Analysis by Example of the Global Waste Challenge’ (2021) 30(3) Review of European Comparative & International Environmental Law 363–374
Abstract: In recent years, it has proven increasingly difficult to persuade states to adopt new environmental commitments and to comply with their obligations already agreed upon under international environmental law. This begs the question how international environmental law could gain new momentum. This article suggests that a stronger emphasis on the health aspects of environmental problems could drive the international community to better respond to environmental problems. Such a shift of perspective could best be illustrated at the international level if the World Health Organization (WHO) takes on environmental issues. Therefore, this article analyses, by example of the global waste challenge, the WHO’s Constitution and the International Health Regulations (2005) to determine its potential and limitations as an actor in international environmental law. The article argues that the WHO should use the ongoing COVID‐19 pandemic to step up its commitment towards the environment, strengthen the ‘One Health’ approach and thereby help international environmental law regain momentum.

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