In the context of global climate change and rising world energy demand putting increasing pressures on finite natural resources, new efficient and sustainable low carbon technologies, such as wind power, solar, geothermal power, biomass, hydropower and biogas, are being developed to sustain human activities, combat climate change and protect environmental assets. However, energy technology innovations carry their own risks of social failures, thus jeopardizing the building of a fair and equitable society. Yet, the focus of the energy debate remains mostly around energy security, climate change and the use of market-based approaches. The social and environmental injustice risks arising from the emergence of new low carbon energy technologies play a minor part in the energy debate. This chapter redirects the discussion and intends to explore how the concept of environmental justice combined with social science perspectives on risk can create new theoretical frameworks and methods that can help integrate social justice considerations into energy legal frameworks. Framing the energy debate differently, i.e., through the lens of environmental justice and social sciences perspectives on risk, is likely to shape different types of regulatory responses that will be needed to address emerging social issues in the context of low carbon technologies.
Elodie Le Gal
Agricultural industries such as livestock and crop production provide food and raw materials to billions of people. They generate income for households, including 70 percent of the world’s poor who live in rural areas. To ensure food security and maintain agricultural productivity while sustaining natural resources environmental services from agricultural lands need to remain sustainable. However, over recent decades, agricultural assets have been dramatically impacted by a range of human-induced environmental threats, among which are climate change and invasive species. This chapter explores some key relationships between climate change, invasive species law, and agriculture. While invasive species law can contribute to climate change adaptation by protecting agricultural values from harmful biological infestations, significant institutional, governance and methodological challenges are likely to jeopardise its effectiveness. While these various challenges are discussed in the Australian context, this chapter intends to provide broader insights into the institutional improvements likely to be required to improve invasive species law in other parts of the world to protect agricultural systems from biological infestations aggravated by climate change. It also highlights further research directions to better reconcile invasive species law with sustainable agriculture and livelihoods while building an effective low-carbon economy. Key Words: climate change, invasive species, governance challenges
Elodie Le Gal
The quest for achieving a sustainable future and addressing climate change risks by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the policy challenges raised by wicked public policy problems, such as poverty and inequality issues, the risks of policy failures from legal innovations and the search for behaviourally effective governance models, all these aspects of the sustainability challenge are illustrated in the specific context of the biofuel weed crop risk case study which provides the basis for the present discussion around sustainable governance innovations, implementation issues and the need for new research directions to achieve key sustainable goals. Drawing upon empirical findings, this publication intends to highlight the key lessons that can be learned from this case study for the purpose of implementing governance innovations in the context of the new United Nations sustainable development goals adopted in 2015. It particularly highlights three main research directions in areas which remain underexplored in environmental legal research for improving governance models and achieving a sustainable future. These are the use of non-legal perspectives from the social sciences for improving environmental law scholarship, further enquiry into risk concepts, and the incorporation of social justice considerations into environmental market-based approaches.