February 26, 2016
by William Schulte

Foreign Investment in the Mekong Region: Reducing Risk and Promoting Sustainable Development


Dr. Zhou Goumei, Deputy Director General of the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center

On January 25-26, 2016 the U.S.-Asia Partnership for Environmental Law organized and co-hosted the “Foreign Investment in the Mekong Region: Reducing Risk and Promoting Sustainable Development” Symposium in Beijing in cooperation with the China-ASEAN Environmental Cooperation Center, Global Environmental Institute, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.   Continue Reading →

December 7, 2015
by Elizabeth B. Hessami, J.D., LL.M.

Afghanistan’s Elusive Mineral Wealth

Mes Aynak Gold Buddha Head

A gold-gilded Buddha statue from the 9th century at Mes Aynak, Afghanistan (Source: www.savingmesaynak.com/photos)

Afghanistan is blessed with a veritable horde of mineral wealth.  In copper alone, Afghanistan may possess up to 60 million tons buried in its arid plains.  From the days of the British Empire to the current day, these riches have remained, for the most part, firmly entrenched in the Afghan soil.  There are many dangers involved in attempting to mine in Afghanistan which remains an active conflict zone.  Transportation, governance, logistical, and environmental protection issues are all concerns for a potential mining company.  Afghanistan has endured decades of armed conflict making many companies wary of operating in the nation due to ever-increasing security concerns. Continue Reading →

November 11, 2015
by Nicholas Bihun

The Announcement of China’s Emissions Trading Scheme: Reasons for Skepticism and Prospects for Success

Barak Obama and Xi Jinping

U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping Announce Monumental Climate Change Agreement (Source: PRI)

The United States of America and the People’s Republic of China are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases (GHG) in the world, China having surpassed the United States in 2006. Between the two, the U.S. and China are responsible for one third of the globes’ greenhouse gases. In total, China’s cumulative emissions since 1990 will overtake those of the United States’ in 2016. According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), China’s 1990-2016 emissions will balloon to 151 billion tons in 2016, while the U.S. will reach 147 billion. These numbers may seem staggering, even insurmountable, but the two countries took steps in November of 2014 to try to reverse these trends. A year later, the U.S. and China have reaffirmed their commitments and expanded on the road-map on how to achieve them. On September 25th, the U.S. and China released the U.S.-China Joint Presidential Statement on Climate Change – the most definitive outline for realizing their climate goals to date. In this announcement, was a key commitment by China, the announcement of a nationwide emissions trading scheme (ETS) by 2017. The viability of such a scheme is debatable, but there is reason to believe that it is possible.

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November 5, 2015
by William Schulte
1 Comment

China, Population Growth, and the Environment

Photo Source: The Telegraph

Photo Source: The Telegraph

In a major shift, China’s leaders announced last week at the conclusion of a Communist Party Central Committee summit in Beijing that they would now allow all couples in the country to have two children, thereby ending the “one-child policy” first implemented by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970’s.  The Party stated that the change “is intended to balance population development and address the challenge of an ageing population.”  But what about the potential environmental impacts associated with this new policy? Continue Reading →

October 30, 2015
by Yanmei Lin

China’s First Environmental Public Interest Litigation: Green NGOs Win

On Thursday, October 29, 2015, the Nanping Intermediate People’s Court of Fujian Province issued a judgment in favor of the two environmental NGOs plaintiffs, Friends of Nature (FON) and Fujian Green Home on China’s first environmental public interest case. The case, which concerned resource destruction and environmental restoration related to an illegal mining site was heard under China’ new Environmental Protection Law, which took effect on January 1, 2015. Continue Reading →

Vermont Law Partners with Yunnan University in China

October 20, 2015 by Nicholas Bihun | 0 comments


Members of the delegation from Yunnan University Law School join Vermont Law School President and Dean Marc Mihaly and members of the U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law for the signing

A delegation from Law School of Yunnan University in China visited Vermont Law School today, signing an agreement with VLS to collaborate on programs that will expand educational opportunities for students from both schools and promote exchange between faculty members. Continue Reading →

China’s New Public Interest Environmental Protection Law in Action

October 19, 2015 by Nicholas Bihun | 0 comments

On Wednesday, September 9th,2015 the U.S.-Asia Partnership for Environmental Law hosted a discussion of new legal developments and reflections on field investigations with Chinese NGOs and attorneys with Jack Tuholske, Director Vermont Law School Water and Justice Program and Technical Advisor to the U.S.-Asia Partnerships; and Yanmei Lin, Associate Director U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law at Vermont Law SchoolThe discussion touched on their recent article Field Notes From the Far East: China’s New Public Interest Environmental Protection Law in Action. The video of their presentation can be viewed above.

October 15, 2015
by Xiaoyu Zhang

Guizhou Provincial High People’s Court Publicized 5 Typical Environmental Protection Cases

the Guizhou Provincial High People’s Court of China held a press conference on Sep 22, 2015, according to its official micro-blog, to (1) make a general introduction of the trials of ecological and environmental protection cases of Guizhou; (2) publicize five typical environmental protection cases of Guizhou; and (3) organize a trial court visit activity.

Source: Micro-Blog of Guizhou Gaoyuan.

Source: Micro-Blog of Guizhou Gaoyuan.

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October 8, 2015
by Yanmei Lin

Environmental Law on Three Continents – A Research Conference on Comparative Environmental Law in China, USA and EU

P1220963 Uppsala

Environmental Law Scholars from EU, US and China

On August 26-28, 2015,  I attended a  comparative law research conference entitled  “Environmental Law on Three Continents” in Uppsala, Sweden. The conference was organized by the Faculty of Law at Uppsala Universitet, aiming to develop a platform for comparative legal research between scholars from EU (Sweden), China and US.  The conference was well attended with scholars from the Faculty of Law at Uppsala Universitet, top ranked universities in China (e.g. Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, China University of Political Science and Law in Beijing and Wuhan University) , the USA-Asia Partnership for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School and Pace University in USA.  Many of the comparative law scholars from China were alumni who conducted residency programs at VLS. We were glad to get together again to study how our different legal systems tackle common and important environmental problems. I gave two presentations on the comparative law papers I am working on: one on Environmental Public Interest Litigation and one on Adaptive Law to Foster Resilience Lashihai Watershed, receiving great feedback from colleagues in the conference. Continue Reading →