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Nicholas A. Robinson

The issue raised in this chapter is that of the danger to, and the need for protection of, peat. The chapter considers the vexed issue of preserving the Earth’s peat reserves, which, it is argued, are central to any successful global efforts to cap the rise in Earth’s temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. The nature and importance of and threats posed to peat stocks are then outlined, highlighting that there are available alternatives for virtually every use of peat, that there is no way effectively to use peat ‘sustainably’, and that remaining peat should accordingly be preserved in parks or other protected areas, and left intact underground, wherever it is already buried or will be covered with coastal waters as sea levels rise. The chapter then proceeds to survey the historic role of law in preserving peat, concluding that environmental law still largely ignores peat. This leads to the conclusion that there is a compelling argument for environmental policy-makers to take a fresh look at peat and forge workable legal frameworks to preserve it. With a view to providing necessary future guidance to policy-makers in this regard, the chapter traverses the international legal frameworks of relevance to peat, distils key legal principles underlining any future legal framework governing peat, and finally, through a case study of Indonesia, distils a set of elements that should be considered in drafting new peat legislation, whether by local, national or regional authorities. The experiences of numerous countries are considered, with some intensive case studies being offered. Issues of financing and international cooperation are considered before suggestions are made as to how appropriate national legislation might be framed.

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Nicholas A. Robinson

The complex drivers of transboundary haze pollution in Southeast Asia suggest that several different remedies and legal regimes will need to be employed. The use of biological treaties to preserve peatland forests and curb expansion of the burning for new palm oil or pulp plantations offer several avenues for cooperation, including the UNESCO World Heritage and ASEAN Heritage programmes, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, the UN programme on ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, Plus Conservation’ (REDD+), and mechanisms under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Commission on Protected Areas and the IUCN World Parks Congress. Other remedies include approaches through the World Health Organization on urban air pollution and through revisiting trade agreements that drive the production of palm oil. An important remedy, which remains to be developed, is the transboundary environmental impact assessment (EIA) with reference to a regional agreement comparable to the Convention on Environmental Impact Assessment in a Transboundary Context. Given the lack of intergovernmental support for the direct remedies proposed in the 2002 ASEAN Haze Agreement, the use of these indirect remedies will be an important way to begin to abate the haze pollution, and to build cooperation and confidence in attaining a regional solution to the transboundary air pollution.
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Nicholas A. Robinson

As environmental problems become more acute, nations turn to courts to provide access to justice regarding environmental conditions and decision-making. More than 1000 environmental courts exist today in 50 nations. Recognition of environmental rights and environmental protection regimes has in turn generated a demand for tribunals through which environmental norms are enforced. This phenomenon can be identified both in ancient courts, such as Verderers Courts in England, and in contemporary ones, such as in China’s new environmental courts. To enhance the capacity of these courts, such as by providing continuing judicial education about environmental laws and remedies, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has enabled the establishment of a new Global Judicial Institute on the Environment. Comparative environmental jurisprudence suggests many issues associated with this new generation of environmental courts. Ultimately, these courts can foster sustainability and resilience in human societies worldwide.

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Edited by Nicholas A. Robinson, Wang Xi, Lin Harmon and Sarah Wegmueller

This state-of-the-art Dictionary defines terms employed in international agreements, national legislation and scholarly legal studies related to comparative and international environmental law and the emerging law of climate change. In acknowledgement of China’s growing role in this arena, each term also includes its pinyin translation in order to facilitate access to the Mandarin variants.
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A

Edited by Nicholas A. Robinson, Wang Xi, Lin Harmon and Sarah Wegmueller

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B

Edited by Nicholas A. Robinson, Wang Xi, Lin Harmon and Sarah Wegmueller

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C

Edited by Nicholas A. Robinson, Wang Xi, Lin Harmon and Sarah Wegmueller

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D

Edited by Nicholas A. Robinson, Wang Xi, Lin Harmon and Sarah Wegmueller

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E

Edited by Nicholas A. Robinson, Wang Xi, Lin Harmon and Sarah Wegmueller