Taking Stock of Climate Summit 2014 – What Happened and What’s Next?
By Jae-Hyong Shim, GIELR Online Staff Editor
Two days after participating in the 400,000-strong climate march that filled the streets of Manhattan, on September 23rd U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was back in more familiar territory inside the halls of the General Assembly to host the one-day Climate Summit 2014. The objective of the Summit was three-fold: (1) to raise political momentum for a meaningful, universal climate agreement to be reached in 2015; (2) to encourage further action on the part of individual countries to reduce emissions; and (3) to enlist the resources of the private sector in addressing climate change, particularly in mobilizing finance. Ban spoke animatedly about the need for “leaders to lead,” and stressed to the hundred heads of state in attendance that “we are not here to talk” but “to make history.” (more…)
EPA Approval of Enlist Dup Use Draws Criticism, Support, and Legal Confrontation
By Nick Nunn, Staff Contributor
In an October 15th press release, the EPA approved the use of Enlist Duo, an herbicide developed by Dow Chemical. Dow developed the herbicide for use on genetically modified corn and soy products. The herbicide and genetic modification, together, will allow farmers to kill newer, herbicide-resistant weeds without harming crops. (more…)
5 Things You May Not Know About the Commission for Environmental Cooperation
by Christina Assi, Staff Contributor
The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation (NAAEC) was signed as a parallel agreement to the NAFTA in 1994 and established the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) as an institution to support cooperation among Mexico, Canada, and the United States when confronting environmental issues. The CEC comprises three branches: (1) the Council, which is composed of environmental ministers from each of the parties to the NAAEC; (2) the Secretariat, which executes the Operational Plan authorized by the Council, publishes reports on environmental issues submitted to the CEC, and processes submissions on enforcement matters (SEM); and (3) the Joint Public Advisory Committee (JPAC), which is an independent body that provides advice to the Council. (more…)
Curbing Carbon Emissions Through Divestment: Will Georgetown be Next?
By Hampden MacBeth, Staff Contributor
In response to climate change concerns, fifteen higher education institutions worldwide have divested from the fossil fuel industry. Students, faculty, and staff at Georgetown are urging the university to be next. (more…)
Incorporation Matters: New Legislation Makes Corporate Sustainability Viable
By Kaela Colwell, Staff Editor
Over the past four years, more than half of states have passed legislation enabling business leaders to place greater emphasis on social and environmental responsibility.
Corporate executives have a legal responsibility to act in the best interest of the corporation. As articulated by Milton Friedman, decisions in the best interest of the corporation are generally understood to be those that maximize shareholder value. A narrow interpretation of that principle may suggest it would be unreasonable to expect corporate executives to implement environmental protection measures at a financial cost: corporate officers who choose to prioritize pollution reduction or fair trade sourcing over short-term profits may even run the risk of breaching their fiduciary duties. Thus, many believe that the laws governing public companies must be amended before social and environmental efforts can be maximized in the corporate world. (more…)
A Wolfpack of None: The Latest Gray Wolf Ruling Provides Environmental Groups with a Tacit Victory
By Steve Goldstein, Staff Contributor
On September 23, Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted partial summary judgment to environmental group plaintiffs challenging the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) September 2012 decision to remove the Wyoming Gray Wolf from Endangered Species Act (ESA) protection.[i] The FWS decision was based largely on the inadequacy of the state’s regulatory system to ensure a healthy population level. But while Wyoming was statutorily required to maintain a gray wolf population of 10 breeding pairs and 100 individuals, it provided no concrete system for buffering those numbers. The court rejected this inadequate system and the agency’s reliance on non-binding assurances as arbitrary and capricious. While this ruling delivers a short term victory for the wolves and wildlife advocates, it far from resolves the controversial delisting process for this species. (more…)
Get ready for the weekend with music curated by the staff of GIELR Online. Today’s excellent eighties throwback selection by Executive Editor Brianna Baily:
Paul Simon – “You Can Call Me Al”
‘Dirty’ Oil Supply: Geopolitical Turmoil Sinks Environmental Concerns
By Darci Stanger, Staff Contributor
Due to recent tensions with Russia, the EU’s label of Canadian oilsands will be abandoned. In this article, GIELR Online explores the politics behind this decision. (more…)
In Brief: High Country Conservation Advocates v. U.S. Forest Service
by Nathalie Prescott, Staff Contributor
The Sunset Roadless Area in western Colorado contains 5,800 acres of relatively undeveloped forest and scrub land. Arch Coal leases land in this area for its coal mine operations, and petitioned the BLM and Forest Service for a Lease Modification which would add new lands to the preexisting leases in order to expand their underground mine. This Lease Modification was granted by the agencies after finalizing an Environmental Impact Assessment for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) purposes. In High Country Conservation Advocates v. United States Forest Service , the court questioned the basis for that agency decision. (more…)
Who to Call Chicken?
by Corey Kestenberg, Staff Contributor
It’s widely accepted that Americans’ heavy use of antibiotics has led to antibiotic resistance. From prescriptions to food, antibiotics permeate our lifestyle. However, some chicken producers have attempted to alleviate this issue by reducing their use of preventive antibiotics in their livestock. Regulators may be forced to step in as well, pending a Second Circuit decision. (more…)