Faculty Scholarship Digest
Cinnamon P. Carlarne, Arctic Dreams and Geoengineering Wishes: The Collateral Damage of Climate Change, 49 Colum. J. Transnational L. 602 (2011).
This article closely examines two “collateral” problems that have arisen as a result of climate change from a governance perspective—specifically, the “fundamental gaps in existing systems of global governance” these new problems expose—and offer insight into the substantive and procedural ways forward in starting to address those gaps. In doing so, the article makes important contributions related to environmental law, international law, and the governance literature in a single package. Each of these is discussed in great detail.
The first problem is the area of the Arctic Ocean that is not covered by current international governance agreements. Climate change is rapidly melting sea ice, which will provide potential “new access to deep sea resources and new shipping routes, creating a series of new governance challenges related to maritime access, ecosystem management, the well-being of indigenous peoples and safety and environmental issues surrounding the growth of the Arctic tourism industry.” The article reviews the history of Arctic governance, identifies the gaps for the climate-change-affected world and analyzes both ideal and realistic paths forward (unfortunately, as is so often the case, the two are not the same), with the former involving a comprehensive new international treaty and the latter a stewardship regime built on existing structures. The second problem is the area of geoengineering which, unlike the incomplete regime of the Arctic Ocean, faces “for all practical purposes, the complete absence of a governance regime.” While this absence presents some greater challenges (incremental governance solutions are not available) the article also identifies consequent opportunities for multilateral consideration of “rights and responsibilities in respect to management of the global commons,” and suggests some principles that might emerge as a result of such consideration.
Cinnamon Carlarne (w/Daniel Farber), Law Beyond Borders: Transnational Responses to Global Environmental Issues, 1 TRANSNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL L. 13 (2012).
This article is an “editorial” in the first issue of a new journal published by Cambridge University Press devoted to the emerging field of transnational environmental law. Cinnamon is one of two American editors of the journal (Dan Farber, Univ. Cal. Berkeley, is the other), and they are joined by faculty from the London School of Economics, VU University of Amsterdam, University of Hong Kong, and University College London in this endeavor. Transnational environmental law studies how environmental law responds to the global nature of today’s environmental issues, with attention to law that does not come from “states” (e.g., European Union law) and, as some of the editors explain, to “the prominence of private actors as entities with some claim to legal and regulatory authority.” This peer-reviewed journal will be a leading platform in this rapidly growing field, creating “a space for bringing together the sometimes bifurcated bodies of literature exploring domestic and international environmental law,” as well as “‘the multilevel governance context in which contemporary environmental law unfolds.’”
After discussing the meaning and importance of the transnational perspective, Cinnamon and her co-author discuss global climate change as an issue that “cries out for a transnational analysis.” It is a global problem that stems from local sources and that “slices across traditional boundaries” in so many ways. Climate change also presents governance challenges, particularly in the area of climate change adaptation (climate change is happening so, while mitigation is one issue, dealing with it—“adaption planning”—is gaining prominence). Unlike mitigation efforts, which address a collective-action problem by centralized, top-down responses, adaptation “will require greater diversification and, often, decentralization of decision-making authority,” development of which is clearly a transnational concern. Cinnamon and her co-author discuss some of the tools theory can bring to this endeavor and the related contributions of the articles that are in this first issue of the journal.
Cinnamon Carlarne (w/Josh Eagle), Food Security, Fisheries, and Ecosystems, in Michael B. Gerrard & Katrina Fischer Kuh eds. THE LAW OF ADAPTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE, U.S. AND INT’L ASPECTS (ABA 2012).
In this chapter, Cinnamon and her co-author discusses the challenges for global food security and the added challenge posed by climate change and both the current and needed state of adaptive measure to respond. The second section of the chapter then focuses on a particular source of food—the international fisheries that span the world’s oceans—a food source that is especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. It is not a happy picture, as adaption measures are still in their infancy but “must progress rapidly at both the global and local levels in order to salvage an already vulnerable food system.”
“Food security” constitutes an aggregation of issues: food availability, food accessibility, food utilization, and food system stablity. The chapter examines existing international structures for addressing both traditional and climate-change related threats to food security. While “[i]nternational institutions will continue to define the parameters of the food security debate and to determine the . . . policies that shape the critical drivers of food security . . . , the effects of the . . . crisis will be felt most immediately and dramatically at the local level by the world’s most vulnerable—the poorest of the poor.” So both global and local reform are necessary. The specific example of fisheries holds some greater promise because environmental change has already been a factor, and agreements that would allow for adaptive approaches already exist. Even here, however, “implementation will be difficult due both to continuing scientific uncertainty and to the fact that adapting will likely entail a substantial reallocation of economic benefits.”