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Norway: Supreme Court Rules on Scope of Climate Provision in Constitution, Finds Government May Issue Exploratory Arctic Drilling Permits

(Mar. 31, 2021) On December 22, 2020, the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled that the Norwegian Constitution does not prevent the country’s government from issuing permits to explore drilling in the Arctic. (Supreme Court Decision HR-2020-2472-P (sak nr. 20-051052SIV-HRET), Dec. 22, 2020.) In doing so, the Supreme Court also established the boundaries and meaning of the […]

France: Court Finds Government Failed to Live Up to Carbon Emissions Reduction Objectives

(Mar. 8, 2021) On February 3, 2021, the Administrative Tribunal of Paris issued a judgment finding the French government liable for failing to live up to its own carbon emissions reduction objectives. This decision came in response to a lawsuit brought by four nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in March 2019, in which they sought to have […]

United Kingdom: Government Publishes Public Consultation on Environmental Impact of Commercial Spaceflight

(Mar. 2, 2021) On February 10, 2021, the United Kingdom’s government published a consultation (survey) seeking the public’s opinion about the environmental objectives the U.K.’s spaceflight regulator must consider when determining whether to grant a spaceport or launch operator license, along with guidance on how the regulator must implement these objectives. The government acknowledges both […]

New Zealand: Mandatory Climate-Related Financial Disclosures Proposed for Financial Sector

(Oct. 12, 2020) On September 15, 2020, the New Zealand Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, announced that the government would introduce legislation requiring the financial sector to report on climate risks. He stated that “New Zealand will be the first country to introduce a mandatory climate-related financial disclosure regime.” The Ministry of Business, Innovation and […]

European Union: Commission Proposes European Climate Law to Achieve Climate Neutrality by 2050

(Apr. 7, 2020) On March 4, 2020, the European Commission (Commission) published a proposal for a regulation (European Climate Law). The proposal would codify the European Union’s (EU’s) goal to become climate neutral by 2050 in accordance with the European Green Deal of December 2019. An EU regulation has general application. It is binding in […]

Brazil: Government Creates Amazon Council to Protect Amazon Region

(Feb. 19, 2020) On January 22, 2020, during a meeting of the Council of Government, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro announced the creation of the Amazon Council and an Environmental Task Force to devise plans and actions for protecting, defending, and sustainably developing Brazilian forestry. Bolsonaro explained that the Council would be coordinated by Vice President […]

France: Law on Energy and Climate Adopted

(Dec. 4, 2019) On November 8, 2019, the French president signed Loi n° 2019-1147 du 8 novembre 2019 relative à l’énergie et au climat (Law No. 2019-1147 of 8 November 2019 Regarding Energy and Climate). This law was adopted as part of France’s commitment to the 2015 Paris Agreement to address climate change, and seeks […]

International: International Law Commission Adopts ‘Sea-Level Rise in Relation to International Law’ as Topic for Long-Term Work Program

(Oct. 2, 2019) In the summer of 2019, the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) adopted the topic of “Sea-Level Rise in Relation to International Law” for its program of work. The ILC noted that the real and potential legal implications of sea-level rise are numerous: What happens to existing low-lying coastal areas and islands […]

Brazil: Brazilian President Signs Decree Authorizing Use of Armed Forces in Amazon Region

(Sept. 19, 2019) On August 23, 2019, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed Decree No. 9,985 (Decreto No. 9,985, de 24 de Agosto de 2019) authorizing the use of the armed forces to assist in fighting fires in the Amazon forest. Article 1 of Decree No. 9,985 authorizes the use of the armed forces to guarantee […]

New Zealand: Zero Carbon Bill Introduced

(May 14, 2019) On May 8, 2019, New Zealand’s Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw, introduced the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill in the Parliament. (Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, NEW ZEALAND PARLIAMENT (last visited May 8, 2019); Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, New Zealand Legislation website.) The explanatory […]