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Benjamin J. Richardson

Covid-19 has dominated global news in 2020, but even the pandemic has not stymied a new generation of activists mobilizing for action on interconnected grievances of climate breakdown, economic inequality and social injustice.

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Claire Burgess and Rupert Read

For this publication on environmental activism and the law, we interviewed representatives of Extinction Rebellion (XR) in the United Kingdom and Australia to explore their views on the goals, tactics and challenges for the movement. This report features interviews conducted in late 2019 with Claire Burgess (then regional coordinator XR Southern Tasmania, Australia) and Rupert Read (spokesperson for XR England and Reader in Philosophy, University of East Anglia). Both interviews, with identical questions, were conducted by Benjamin J Richardson, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Tasmania.

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From Student Strikes to the Extinction Rebellion

New Protest Movements Shaping our Future

Edited by Benjamin J. Richardson

Across the world, millions of people are taking to the streets demanding urgent action on climate breakdown and other environmental emergencies. Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for Future and Climate Strikes are part of a new lexicon of environmental protest advocating civil disobedience to leverage change. This groundbreaking book – also a Special Issue of the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment – critically unveils the legal and political context of this new wave of eco-activisms. It illustrates how the practise of dissent builds on a long tradition of grassroots activism, such as the Anti-Nuclear movement, but brings into focus new participants, such as school children, and new distinctive aesthetic tactics, such as the mass ‘die-ins’ and ‘discobedience’ theatrics in public spaces.
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Paul Manly, Jonathan Bartley and Chlöe Swarbrick

For this edition on environmental activism and the law, we examined how contemporary green political parties construe their role and relevance when many environmentalists including the Extinction Rebellion (XR) movement are bypassing parliamentary processes by taking to the streets as well as by proposing alternate forms of political engagement such as convening national citizens’ assemblies. This report features interviews conducted in early 2020 with Paul Manly (MP, House of Commons, Green Party of Canada); Chlöe Swarbrick (MP, New Zealand Parliament, Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand); and Jonathan Bartley (Co-leader of the Green Party of England andWales, and councillor on Lambeth Council, London). Each interviewee responded to the same questions, which are detailed below. The interviews were conducted by Emma Thomas, XR Vancouver (interviewed Paul Manly); Trevor Daya-Winterbottom, FRGS, Associate Professor in Law, University of Waikato, and Deputy Chair of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law (interviewed Chlöe Swarbrick); and Benjamin J Richardson, Professor of Environmental Law, University of Tasmania (interviewed Jonathan Bartley).

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Edited by Jan McDonald, Jeffrey McGee and Richard Barnes

This topical Research Handbook examines the legal intersections of climate change, oceans and coasts across multiple scales and sectors, covering different geographies and regions. With expert contributions from Europe, Australasia, the Pacific, North America and Asia, it includes insightful chapters on issues ranging across the impacts of climate change on marine and coastal environments. It assesses institutional responses to climate change in ocean and marine governance regimes, adaptation to climate impacts on ocean and coastal systems and communities, and climate change mitigation in marine and coastal environments. Through a plurality of voices, disciplinary and geographical perspectives, this Research Handbook explores cross-cutting themes of institutional complexity, fragmentation, scale and design trade-offs.
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Edited by Karen N. Scott and David L. VanderZwaag

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Edited by Karen N. Scott and David L. VanderZwaag

This timely Research Handbook explores the concept of polar law as a coherent body of law and as a set of rules and principles that applies to both the Arctic and Antarctic. It captures the evolution of polar law and policy, identifying future directions for research in this emerging and growing field.
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Tyler McCreary

This article examines the conflicting subjectivities and space-times of Indigenous and colonial law that underpin the recent shutdown of the Canadian economy as people barricaded railways and ports in solidarity with the Witsuwit'en hereditary chiefs’ blockade against the Coastal GasLink pipeline across their territory. The article argues that this conflict between Canadian and Witsuwit'en law reflects fundamental tensions between their respective foundations in relations of the commodity and the gift. Within settler capitalist society, the value of a commodity is constructed relationally through a political economy of exchange that aims to speed transactions to maximize profits. With an ongoing drive for time-space compression, there is continual pressure in settler capitalism to develop new infrastructure that can speed the circulation of commodities. In Witsuwit'en society, the gift presents a contrasting logic of place-time extension. Rather than focusing on closing transactions to increase profits, gift giving stretches reciprocal obligations into the past and future. Contrasting these distinct conceptions of the relationship between value and time, the article argues that the Witsuwit'en struggle with Coastal GasLink should be understood as conflict between colonial temporal enclosures and a radical promise to open futures different to those engendered by the colonial present.

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Neil Gunningham

This article examines whether large-scale grassroots activism might be a necessary condition for achieving transformational climate change action, and examines whether Extinction Rebellion (XR), which has had a remarkable impact in a very short time, might – unlike its predecessors – be capable of precipitating such change. Reviewing the evidence, the article suggests that such activism, even if necessary, is unlikely to be sufficient to bring about rapid and radical climate action. It might, however, prove to be an important change agent, through its contribution to a broader coalition of business and civil society actors or through harnessing ‘webs of influence’. How such a coalition might evolve, or web influence play out, is also explored.

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Mingde Cao

China officially launched seven state pilot ETS programs starting in 2013 and initiated a national ETS in 2017 respectively. The many accumulated experiences from the pilot programs include such findings as the importance of setting realistic targets balancing the needs for carbon reductions with those of economic growth and pollution control and the need for legislation specifying the actions to be taken, provisions for disclosure, allowance allocations, offsets, infrastructure building, monitoring reporting and verification, and adoption of a compliance mechanism. Deficiencies in the pilot programs are evaluated, such as those derived from lack of a national legal basis and unified rules for the carbon market, an excess of free allocation of allowances, a lack of liquidity of the market, lenient punishment for non-compliance, and absence of a sound monitoring and regulatory mechanism. The requisites for sound market-based programs are described, with particular emphasis on the need for a comprehensive legal basis on which programs can be built. The pluses and minuses of cap and trade market-based programs versus carbon taxes are explored in depth, including the possibilities of combining the two systems. Various bottom up and top down approaches are explored and the key elements of success and failure.