FIELD REPORTS

Access, Conservation, and Sustainable Use of Marine Genetic Resources in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction: Emerging Issues of Consensus and Contention

26th August 2016 By: Jacqueline Joyce Espenilla

The growing global interest in Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction ("ABNJ") comes hand in hand with risk.  Due to the lack of a comprehensive regulatory regime, the ABNJ is already beginning to face numerous anthropogenic pressures including overfishing, marine pollution, loss of biodiversity, irresponsible conduct of marine scientific research (introduction of light and sound, removal of substrates, sedimentation, etc.), and climate change (ocean acidification and ocean warming).  If this situation continues unchecked, the ABNJ (and the MGRs found within it) may be negatively affected even before the ABNJ is fully understood by mankind.  This risk has created a strong impetus for stakeholders to begin negotiations for an international legally binding instrument (“ILBI”) for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity of the ABNJ.

Public Land Fight in Utah: Will the President Designate Bears Ears a National Monument?

5th May 2016 By: Michael Lehr

The fight over federal control of western land is on display in a large, remote area of southeastern Utah.  On one side is a coalition of Native American tribes, supported by conservation groups, urging the designation of a new national monument to protect 1.9 million acres of land including the culturally important area of Bears Ears.  On the other side are conservative federal, state, and county lawmakers seeking to advance a recently unveiled public lands bill titled the Public Lands Intuitive (“PLI”).   The proposed bill would protect 1.2 million acres of the Bears Ears area while also opening land for energy development and a wilderness area.  At one time, both sides where hopeful that the PLI could serve as a grand compromise, but the proposed bill, which involved years of meetings and planning, was not what environmental and tribal groups envisioned.  Instead, these groups now call the bill a “public land giveaway.”   The causes of the disagreement between the two sides are historical and structural, and after years of optimism, it seems unlikely that an agreement will be reached that will satisfy both sides.  At this point, the probable outcome seems to be President Obama designating a new national monument in the Bears Ears area.  If the Bears Ears area is indeed designated as a national monument, the designation is sure to ignite a firestorm of controversy in a state that has spent the last twenty years fighting against federal control of public lands.

Decreasing Building-Related Emissions in New York City: Attempts to Circumvent the Split Incentive Problem to Encourage Energy Efficiency Retrofits

30th April 2016 By: Christian Benante

In an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated the “80x50” program, committing the City to the goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions by eighty percent, from a 2005 baseline, by the year 2050.  A cornerstone of the program is reducing emissions from residential, commercial, and municipally-owned buildings in the City.  Retrofitting these buildings to increase their energy efficiency is required in order to achieve 80x50’s reduction goals.

While the City can exercise its considerable regulatory authority over land use and building design to reduce building-related emissions,  significant economic barriers have historically discouraged private building owners from undertaking energy efficiency retrofits.  Foremost among them is the split incentive problem, which is a specific type of market failure that occurs when benefits of a transaction pass on to someone other than the party paying the cost.  While the City has pursued various avenues for addressing the split incentive problem to facilitate retrofits in private and commercial buildings, it is unclear whether present government subsidies are sufficient to incentivize commercial or residential building owners to undertake deep energy retrofits voluntarily.  Given that the City is limited in its ability to influence state and federal legislatures to increase funding for efficiency programs, a hybridized approach involving municipal regulation, incentives programs, and financing options is likely required to achieve 80x50’s GHG reduction targets. 

Technology, Curtailment, and Transmission: Innovations and Challenges Facing Today’s U.S. Wind Energy

6th April 2016 By: Kimberly E. Diamond

Scientific breakthroughs in design technology present today’s wind industry with unprecedented opportunities.  Innovative turbines, taller and with blades larger than those of any utility-scale turbines currently installed domestically, are opening up regions low in wind resources, such as the Southeastern United States, to large wind farm development.  

The issues raised as a result of the wind industry’s focus on building wind projects in the Southeast highlight the transformation that needs to occur regarding how the United States thinks about and approaches renewable energy.  Steps need to be taken promptly to smooth the renewable energy generation and delivery process, as well as surmount challenges arising from technical innovation, curtailment, and energy conveyance.  These changes can occur if we, as a country, devise creative solutions that will serve as a bridge between our current energy landscape and our envisioned renewable energy future.  Failure to do so will adversely impact the domestic wind industry as well as impede the potential for a wide-scale increase in energy generated from renewable sources, in both the short and long terms


Adapting Without a Voice in American Samoa

29th February 2016 By: Eli Keene

New York to Paris: From REV to MOU

11th December 2015 By: Irene Blumberg

A Divided Court Decides the Future of Demand Response: Oral Argument of FERC v. Electric Power Supply Association

5th December 2015 By: Anthony Fares

On Thin Ice: Will the International Court of Justice’s Ruling in Australia v. Japan: New Zealand Intervening End Japan’s Lethal Whaling in the Antarctic?

7th October 2015 By: Julia Bedell

The Curbside Commons: Parking and Property in Portland, Oregon

21st April 2015 By: Solomon Rotstein

Finding Fault: Induced Earthquake Liability and Regulation

1st April 2015 By: Emery Gullickson Richards

FIELD REPORTS ARCHIVES: POPULAR POSTS

Decreasing Building-Related Emissions in New York City: Attempts to Circumvent the Split Incentive Problem to Encourage Energy Efficiency Retrofits

By: Christian Benante
30 April 2016 12:00 am

In an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio initiated the “80x50” program, committing the City to the goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions by eighty percent, from a 2005 baseline, by the year 2050.  A cornerstone of the program is reducing emissions...

+Adapting Without a Voice in American Samoa

By: Eli Keene
29 February 2016 12:00 am

The United States has three unincorporated territories in the Pacific—American Samoa, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (“CNMI”).  The effects of climate change imminently threaten all three of these territories.  In American Samoa, these threats are not only severe but also create cascading...

Technology, Curtailment, and Transmission: Innovations and Challenges Facing Today’s U.S. Wind Energy

By: Kimberly E. Diamond
06 April 2016 12:00 am

Scientific breakthroughs in design technology present today’s wind industry with unprecedented opportunities.  Innovative turbines, taller and with blades larger than those of any utility-scale turbines currently installed domestically, are opening up regions low in wind resources, such as the Southeastern United States, to large...

+New York to Paris: From REV to MOU

By: Irene Blumberg
11 December 2015 12:00 am

On October 8th, 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and former Vice President Al Gore met at Columbia University to deliver a much anticipated announcement:  the state of New York was to become a signatory of the Under 2 Memorandum of Understanding (“Under 2 MOU” or “MOU”), which aims to prevent the average...