By Caitlin Troyer Busch, Stanford Law School, J.D. Candidate 2017. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please post all comments on the original post, which can be found here.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is both lauded and criticized as one of the most powerful environmental laws ever enacted. Proponents of the law praise it for protecting thousands of endangered species over the last forty years, while detractors argue it is a bureaucratic mess that no longer benefits humans, but instead overburdens private landowners and development and values species’ needs above human needs. These claims reflect the disparate values underlying the statute itself. At the time of the Act’s passage, some proponents pushed for endangered species reform on the belief that species have intrinsic value—that is, value that “an entity has in itself, for what it is, or as an end.” Others believed that the value of endangered species lay in their instrumental value to humans, as “means to a desired or valued end,” such as agriculture. Despite these distinct values, the Act was passed in 1973 with little to no opposition. A wide range of stakeholders with differing environmental values came together to craft a far-reaching and unprecedented environmental law. This lack of opposition demonstrates that the Endangered Species Act successfully captured both sets of values in a single, comprehensive environmental statute.
 Ronald Sandler, Intrinsic Value, Ecology, and Conservation, 3 Nature Educ. Knowledge 10, 2012, at 4.
Adapting the Paris Agreement
By: Bonnie Smith, Staff Editor, Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. This piece is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. Please leave any comments here, as this is the original post.
For the first time in the history of international climate negotiations, adaptation has its own article in a legal text. Even more striking is that loss and damage, historically treated as a component of adaptation, does too. For many years, negotiations concerning adaptation and loss and damage have been contentious between developed countries, which prioritize mitigation over adaptation and loss and damage, and developing countries uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Chronicling the controversial discussions and negotiations leading up to these monumental Paris Agreement articles reveals still-existing tensions between Parties to the Agreement. It also sheds light on negotiable points for future Conferences of the Parties (“COPs”).
Adaptation, mitigation, and loss and damage are three interconnected concepts pertaining to climate change. Defined simply, “adaptation” is the “adjustment of behaviour to limit harm, or exploit beneficial opportunities, arising from actual or expected climate change.” In contrast, “mitigation” seeks to limit climate change, primarily by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. “Loss and damage” encompasses the costs associated with climate impacts that adaptation and mitigation cannot prevent.
This article will begin comparing the historical treatment of adaptation and loss and damage with mitigation in the context of international climate change negotiations. Then, the article will analyze the Paris Agreement’s treatment of adaptation and loss and damage
By Oliver Jamin, Online Editor of Lewis and Clark Law School's Evironmental Law. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate, and any comments should be made on the original post, which can be found here.
By Maryam Al-Dabbagh, a Graduate Editor of NYU Environmental Law Journal. This post is part of the Environmental Law Review Syndicate. To leave a comment, please follow this link.
In the lead-up to the Paris talks, the issue of loss and damage (L&D) was portrayed to be one of the biggest hurdles in the quest for an agreement. L&D had already suffered multiple drawbacks in previous talks, such as the mass walkout by G-77 countries at COP19 in Warsaw in protest of the response by developed countries to their demands for L&D. Surprisingly, no similar issues occurred in Paris; instead, the agreement articulated a middle path between the seemingly divergent aims of developing and developed countries. This paper will trace that path through an analysis of the L&D articles of the agreement, and set forth the headway as well as the challenges that should be expected in coming years.
About the ELRS:
The Environmental Law Review Syndicate (ELRS) is a collaborative effort of the nation’s leading environmental law journals that provides an outlet for student scholarship and fosters academic. ELRS operates as a cooperative syndicate: each week a different student submission is selected for publication on the websites of all member law reviews.