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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 […]

International: New App Developed to Combat Illegal Fishing in West Africa

(Dec. 1, 2020) Illegal fishing in West Africa has been a longstanding challenge in the region, threatening livelihoods, nutritional security, and export revenues, while also causing damage to marine environments and contributing to increased pollution. Now a new app, developed by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) and launched on November 10, 2020, can be used […]

Italy: Measures Adopted to Protect and Restore the Venetian Lagoon

(Sept. 29, 2020) Italy recently enacted measures to protect and restore the Venetian Lagoon in northern Italy, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The measures were included as part of a broader law, Decree-Law No. 104 of August 14, 2020, aimed at revitalizing the national economy in response to the negative impacts […]

Germany: Law on Phasing-Out Coal-Powered Energy by 2038 Enters into Force

(Aug. 31, 2020) On August 14, 2020, the Act to Reduce and End Coal-Powered Energy and Amend Other Laws (Coal Phase-Out Act) entered into force in Germany. The Coal Phase-Out Act aims to gradually reduce and eventually end the use of coal-powered energy in Germany by 2038 in order to “reduce emissions and provide the […]

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 […]

Sweden: Supreme Court Recognizes Sami Indigenous Group’s Exclusive Right to Confer Hunting and Fishing Rights in Sami Area

(Feb. 14, 2020) On January 23, 2020, the Swedish Supreme Court held that the Sami group “Girjas Sameby” (literally “Girjas Sami Village”) had an exclusive right to fishing and hunting in Girjas reindeer-herding areas on the basis of urminnes hävd (their presence there from time immemorial). Not only can the Sami village confer hunting and […]

Sweden: Government Announces Truth Commission at Sami Repatriation Ceremony Following Official Sami Request

(Dec. 12, 2019) On August 12, 2019, the Swedish government repatriated 25 skulls belonging to the Samis, an indigenous group living in an area known as Sápmi, which is spread over northern parts of Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Russia. The skulls had been excavated during the 1950s during an archeological dig and sent to the […]

International: Negotiations Underway at WTO for Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies

(Dec. 6, 2019) On November 15, 2019, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) held discussions on the difficulties they have encountered in curbing harmful fisheries subsidies through international trade negotiations, as well as on the potential ways such negotiations might be successful in the future. Underpinning this work, the WTO negotiating group has endorsed […]

China: Law on Resource Tax Passed

(Nov. 22, 2019) On August 26, 2019, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) of the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) adopted the PRC Resource Tax Law. The Law subjects 164 natural resources, including salt, crude oil, natural gas, coal, and other minerals, to the resource tax and prescribes their respective […]

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 […]