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Preface

International Economic Law Perspectives

Edited by Celine Tan and Julio Faundez

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Preface

Carbon Taxes, Energy Subsidies and Smart Instrument Mixes

Edited by Stefan E. Weishaar, Larry Kreiser, Janet E. Milne, Hope Ashiabor and Michael Mehling

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Introduction

International Economic Law Perspectives

Celine Tan and Julio Faundez

The current economic and ecological climate calls for a reappraisal of the international legal and political framework governing natural resources, defined broadly to include materials and organisms naturally occurring in the environment, such as water, mineral and fossil fuels, and cultivated resources, such as food crops, both renewable and exhaustible. This reappraisal is urgent because the governance and management of natural resources have formed a pivotal backdrop to the evolution of international economic law in the post-war period and have been critical components of the process of economic globalization. Contributors to this collection explore the different dimensions of natural resource governance in the contemporary economic, political and legal landscape. They reflect upon and address the different aspects of the conflicts and contradictions arising at the intersection between international economic law, sustainable development and other areas of international law, notably human rights law and environmental law.

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Editorial review board

Carbon Taxes, Energy Subsidies and Smart Instrument Mixes

Edited by Stefan E. Weishaar, Larry Kreiser, Janet E. Milne, Hope Ashiabor and Michael Mehling

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Clement A. Tisdell

Outlines the objectives of this book and the reasons for pursuing these. In doing so, it specifies the aim of each chapter and provides a brief account of its contents. It is argued that in order to better assess the nature of our current environmental challenges: we need to consider their basic historical origins; we should take account of the limitations of available economic measures and methods for valuing environmental change; we ought to be aware of the imperfections of scientific predictions about the nature, course and consequences of biophysical attributes altered by environmental change (such as increasing levels of atmospheric CO2); and we should recognize that social embedding (of different types) is a serious impediment to humankind responding effectively to actual or predicted environmental change, especially human-induced environmental change, including human-generated climate change. The importance of each of these assertions is demonstrated and illustrated.

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Carbon tax choices: the tale of four states

Carbon Taxes, Energy Subsidies and Smart Instrument Mixes

Janet E. Milne

While carbon tax measures have not yet met with success at the federal level in the United States, proposals for carbon taxes emerged in a handful of states in 2015 and 2016. The proposals address the shared challenge of climate change, but each has its own unique features and setting. Drawing on proposals in Oregon, Massachusetts, Vermont and Washington as case studies, this chapter explores how state constitutions can affect the design of state-level carbon taxes and their legislative route toward enactment. For example, the Oregon constitution imposes limits on tax rates and use of the revenue when taxing certain fossil fuels. The constitutions in three of the four states require that some types of revenue measures must originate in the legislative House of Representatives, not the Senate, raising the question whether carbon taxes can be designed in a manner that will avoid this procedural constraint. In Washington, the carbon tax proposal came forward as a ballot initiative that went to voters in the general election, following a procedure permitted under the state constitution. These case studies serve as an important reminder of how constitutional provisions that were not created with climate change in mind can influence the design features of subnational carbon taxes and political strategies.

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Peter Newman

Understanding how cities are shaped by transport priorities through urban fabric theory creates a new and more sustainable approach to the planning and assessment process in transport and town planning. Four tools are developed in this chapter from the theory: (1) a strategic framework that includes the kind of urban fabric within which any project is located; (2) benefit-cost ratios that incorporate wider economic benefits, especially agglomeration economies in each fabric; (3) avoidable costs which assess lost opportunities from the kind of urban development facilitated by the infrastructure chosen; and (4) value capture and value creation opportunities that can help finance the infrastructure if they are used to create walking and transit urban fabric.

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Bridget M. Hutter

This chapter outlines some of the most prominent environmental issues we face, including changes in our understandings of environmental risks, uncertainties and damage and the inequalities attaching to them. It discusses strategies for managing these risks, focusing in particular on risk and resilience perspectives and the ways in which they relate to environmental law. The chapter introduces the organisation of the book around major themes such as variable perspectives on risk regulation; the compatibility of law with notions of risk and resilience; transnational efforts to manage environmental risks; and the difficulties associated with managing inequalities within and between countries. It concludes with an introduction to some of the emerging governance issues generated by these debates.

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Edited by Bridget M. Hutter

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The crude oil market and its driving forces

Prices, Production and Consumption

Basil Oberholzer

This chapter is an introduction to the most important topics regarding the crude oil market. Several data and facts of the market are briefly presented. An outstanding feature of crude oil at the core of public debates is its character as a fossil and non-renewable fuel. The chapter enlightens what this means in economic terms and how it is connected to the investigation at hand. As another issue, recent research on the oil market has, to a great part, focused on the driving forces of the oil price. In particular, our interest is in the question of whether economic fundamentals are the only factors influencing the price or whether speculation may also be effective. Finally, the role of OPEC and its potential power to impact on the oil market is considered.