Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law

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  • Summer loggings and bird protection: On regulation and derogations

    Forest loggings during the nesting season are increasing in Finland. The aim of this article is to evaluate how current regulation applies to summer loggings, paying special attention to the protection of birds. The European Union Birds Directive and the Finnish Nature Conservation Act prohibit the deliberate killing and disturbance of birds. Regardless, it seems that in practice none of these rules is applied to birds and summer loggings as forestry is not considered ‘deliberate’ killing or disturbance, even if thousands of birds are killed in summer loggings every year. European biodiversity targets and the principle of minimizing harms would emphasize implementing and monitoring existing national law and soft law more actively than currently is the case.

  • Fostering environmental democracy in Latin America and the Caribbean: An analysis of the Regional Agreement on Environmental Access Rights

    Principle 10 of the 1992 Rio Declaration laid the groundwork for the implementation of access to environmental information, public participation and access to environmental justice, which constitute the three pillars of environmental democracy. The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development marked a turning point in this evolution as Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries launched the negotiations for a treaty embodying these environmental rights. This process resulted in the adoption of the Regional Agreement on Environmental Access Rights (RAEAR) in March 2018. This presents a unique opportunity to reflect not only on the RAEAR but, more broadly, on the implementation of environmental rights in international environmental law. The article first addresses the question of the delayed implementation of environmental democracy rights in LAC. It then critically analyses the RAEAR provisions and the lessons to be learned from the negotiations. Finally, the article underlines outstanding challenges in the implementation.

  • Interpreting States’ general obligations on climate change mitigation: A methodological review

    A variety of norms in international and domestic law imply that States have a general obligation to mitigate climate change (e.g. no‐harm principle, obligation to protection of human rights, public trust doctrine). Yet a major methodological difficulty is faced when interpreting this general mitigation obligation: how to determine the requisite level of mitigation action? This article identifies and discusses various methods for the interpretation of States’ general mitigation obligations in light of domestic cases. On the one hand, a top‐down approach seeks to determine a State's requisite mitigation action in the light of a global objective on climate change mitigation and of effort‐sharing criteria. On the other hand, bottom‐up methods put emphasis on the demand for internal consistency, on the obligation for a State not to downplay its contribution to environmental impacts unfolding beyond its territory, and on various emerging transnational standards. The article argues that the top‐down and bottom‐up approaches enable a sound interpretation of States’ general mitigation obligations especially when these approaches are used in combination.

  • Environmental vulnerability, age and the promises of anti‐age discrimination law

    Discussions on equality between age groups and the practice of anti‐age discrimination law often tend to focus on the rights of the elderly on the labour market. This article is motivated by the current climate change cases, which emphasize broader age inequalities. It aims to highlight the unexplored potential of anti‐age discrimination law. Moreover, it explores the possible added value of this law when other legal ways to defend environmental rights are considered. Anti‐age discrimination law could thus offer a meaningful and effective ground to address age‐related environmental vulnerabilities.

  • Regulation of The Upstream Petroleum Sector: A Comparative Study of Licensing and Concession Systems edited by Tina Hunter Published by Edward Elgar, 2015, 392 pp. + xxxiii, £115, hardback.
  • Key legal challenges and opportunities in the implementation of the Nagoya Protocol: The case of China

    Since the Nagoya Protocol entered into force in 2014, the process of transposing international access and benefit‐sharing (ABS) standards into domestic contexts has been intensified in many countries. China became a party to the Nagoya Protocol in 2016. Being one of the mega‐biodiverse countries in the world, China nevertheless remains little known to international legal scholars of ABS‐related laws and regulations. This article aims to navigate this uncharted territory and examine the key legal challenges and opportunities in the process of implementing the Nagoya Protocol in China. Challenges with respect to the definition of key concepts, recognition of beneficiaries and potential approaches to benefit‐sharing are analysed in turn. Opportunities are investigated from both legal and institutional perspectives. The article proposes an integrated approach to legislate ABS under a comprehensive framework on biodiversity in order to sufficiently address the complexity and uniqueness of the Chinese national circumstances.

  • Petroleum Resource Management: How Governments Manage Their Offshore Petroleum Resources by John A.P. Chandler Published by Edward Elgar, 2018, 379 pp., £110, hardback.
  • The courts and the constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment in Uganda

    Uganda is one of the few countries in Africa that has explicitly constitutionalized the right to a clean and healthy environment. The extent to which the right could be effective, however, is dependent on contextual variables, which include the nature of the right itself within a country's constitution or the accessibility and effectiveness of judicial forums. The present article explores how the Ugandan courts have interpreted and developed the right to a healthy environment as an avenue to ensure environmental protection and to facilitate sustainability. The case law discussed reveals notable developments, which include: a rise in public interest environmental litigation through civil society; the liberal interpretation of locus standi provisions; a noticeable tilt in favour of environmental protection and human health as against economic interests; and a noticeable move towards courts taking a precautionary approach in deciding cases.

  • Inter‐American Court of Human Rights Advisory Opinion OC‐23/17: Jurisdictional, procedural and substantive implications of human rights duties in the context of environmental protection

    This case note analyses the jurisdictional, procedural and substantive implications of human rights duties in the context of environmental protection as devised by the Inter‐American Court of Human Rights in its Advisory Opinion OC‐23/17 of 15 November 2017 concerning State obligations on the environment, in the context of the rights to life and to personal integrity.

  • A Legal Framework for a Transnational Offshore Grid in the North Sea by Hannah Katharina Müller, Published by Intersentia, 2016, 416pp., £138, hardback.

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