November 11, 2018
by William Schulte
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Summer Trip 2018: Environmental Governance in the Developing World

Visiting with local communities in Cambodia

Visiting with local communities in Cambodia

This past August I led Field Study trip to Cambodia and Myanmar as an optional 1-credit addition to the course “Environmental Governance in the Developing World,” which I co-taught with Professor Lin Yanmei as part of Vermont Law School’s Summer Term.  It was the second year for the trip, which is designed to supplement our course and give students a chance to gain first-hand experience learning from local lawyers, activists, and regulators about the issues and challenges for implementing strong environmental governance. Continue Reading →

September 20, 2018
by giannapetito
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Exploring Judicial Remedies for Environmental Harm

It was a busy summer for the PEL program with many visitors to host and trainings to facilitate. One enjoyable highlight was our seminar on Judicial Remedies for Environmental Harm. For two weeks in August, PEL hosted a delegation of environmental judges from China’s Supreme People’s Court and other People’s High Courts across China. This seminar was designed as an experiential-based, hands-on training program in environmental law focused on judicial crafting of remedies for environmental harms including clean-up, restoration, and compensation mechanisms. The training took place primarily in Montpelier, Vermont, with a short component in Boston, Massachusetts.  Targeting senior SPC and provincial-level judges who are responsible for setting court policies, the course balanced emphasis between the substantive details of U.S. procedures and the key principles that could be adopted to shape the Chinese context.

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July 2, 2018
by giannapetito
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Supporting Student Research in China

Each spring, U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law (PEL) Associate Director Yanmei Lin teaches a course in Comparative Environmental Law Research. This year, Professor Lin’s students Amanda Carrington (JD ’19) and XinXin Wang (LLM ’18) teamed up to explore the emerging role of environmental public interest litigation and the courts in advancing renewable energy deployment.  Through their research paper Carrington and Wang closely analyzed a newly filed case, Beijing Chaoyang District Friends of Nature Research Institute v. State Grid Gansu Electric Power Company, and formed recommendations for China’s Lanzhou Intermediate People’s Court on how to proceed given the legal context in China and drawing from lessons in U.S. environmental litigation. Continue Reading →

May 29, 2018
by giannapetito
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Lighting Up Cambodia – How and Why Cambodia’s Fuel Mix for Electrification Misses the Mark

Over the past ten years Cambodia has invested heavily in hydropower and coal electric generation to meet growing power demands resulting from the nation’s electrification priorities. Cambodia eagerly pursued hydropower development because its rivers offer an estimated power potential of 10,000 MW. Such capacity would help Cambodia achieve power self-sufficiency and circumvent costly import taxes thereby increasing rate affordability. [1],[2],[3],[4] Coal is an attractive complement because it’s cheap and can offset hydropower seasonality.[5] Both power sources promised massive gains in generation capacity that Cambodia needed to quickly expand access. An overemphasis on access, however, has come at the expense of reliability, affordability, and environmental sustainability meaning that Cambodia’s electric power portfolio carries risks that could be assuaged by diversifying into other renewables and energy efficiency programming.

Image courtesy of Phnom Penh Post

Image courtesy of Phnom Penh Post

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March 30, 2018
by giannapetito
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Can Trans-border Complexities be Governed by Nation-States? Exploring the Role of China in Global Forestry Governance

Author: Sheng Sun (PEL Fellow)

For a long time nation-states were considered “too big for the small problems and too small for the big problems” in public international law and governance, and therefore to some extent have been displaced by public international institutions and private standard-setting. However, to the extent that globalization diminished the voices of local populations and amplified the powers of global political and economic elites, there was bound to be a reckoning between local and global forces for the control of the nation-states (Eric Posner 2017 and Moghalu 2017). It is in this anti-globalization context that nation-states still matter and are increasingly allowed, by international legal norms, to take regulatory measures with extraterritorial and transnational implications. State-based transnational regulatory measures are becoming an important way to deliver international regulatory mandates that directly regulate trans-border private business operations.

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February 27, 2018
by douglaswhitehead
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China’s Ivory Ban: Achievements and Enforcement Challenges

Elephant poaching in Africa has declined steadily over the last 5 years, according to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)[1]. However, global illegal ivory trade is the highest it has been in 6 years, even despite a near total ivory ban adopted by the United States in 2016[2], and a similar ban enacted by China[3] later that year, effective at the end of 2017.

Image source: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150925-ivory-elephants-us-china-obama-xi-poaching/

Image source: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/09/150925-ivory-elephants-us-china-obama-xi-poaching/

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Cultural relics are protected under China's EPL. Photo credit: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/were-terracotta-warriors-based-on-actual-people-180954321/

January 30, 2018
by gregtisher
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Preserving Culture with EPIL

Like its natural environment, China’s heritage – as embodied in its architectural landmarks, archaeological sites, historic urban neighborhoods, traditional villages, and cultural landscapes – is under threat from the country’s rapid development.[1] One approach to slowing the loss of Chinese heritage is through law, including the Environmental Protection Law (2014 revision). The law, while focused on the natural environment, also calls for the preservation of cultural heritage, by including cultural relics[2] and historic sites[3] in its definition of “environment” (article 2); obligating governments at all levels to protect cultural relics from damage (article 29); and envisioning increased protections for urban historic sites (article 35).

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December 19, 2017
by Xiaoyu Zhang
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Newest Judges Training in Beijing Runs Successfully

Working together with ClientEarth and the Supreme People’s Court of China (SPC), PEL supported a training on Environmental Adjudication for 138 Chinese Environmental Judges. The training, which was held at the National Judges College in Beijing from November 28 to December 2, 2017, fostered fruitful cross-cultural dialogue and nurtured new relationships between Chinese Judges and foreign legal experts.

Attendants at the National Judges Training on Environmental Adjudication

Attendants at the National Judges Training on Environmental Adjudication

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Image courtesy of South China Morning Post

November 1, 2017
by giannapetito
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What do China’s OFDI Patterns Mean for Countries in the Lower Mekong Region?

Last week the China’s ruling Communist Party enshrined President Xi’s One Belt One Road Initiative into its constitution.[1] While the Initiative has been touted by President Xi since 2013, its elevated status led us to wonder what this might mean for neighboring countries in Southeast Asia.

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