Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 25

greenhouse gas emissions by a particular date. For most countries, that target
date is the year 2030. The Paris Agreement pledge focuses on limiting global
warming to an increase of between 1.5°C and 2°C above pre-industrial levels.
"What's critical about the agreement is that it wraps both developing and
developed countries into this framework of responsibility and accountability,"
says Colangelo.
The rules for implementing the Paris Agreement are still unfolding. For example,
participating countries have yet to agree on a program to facilitate international
trading of carbon credits or allowances, says Brook Detterman, a Boston-based
environmental law attorney at Beveridge & Diamond PC. In addition, countries
have yet to agree on the terms of a carbon offset program.
The Paris Agreement has also led to "increasingly diverse approaches within
different countries, creating different rules for addressing climate change,
including different approaches to regulating carbon emissions," according
to Rivlin.

And then there's the defection of the United States. While the country originally
participated in negotiations and ultimately signed the Paris Agreement,
President Trump announced that the United States would formally withdraw
from the accord in 2020. Trump has said the Paris Agreement could cost the
United States 2.7 million jobs by 2025 and imposed "draconian financial and
economic burdens" on the country.

The Paris Agreement isn't the only large-scale effort to address climate change
and other environmental issues. Certain industries, under pressure to respond
to environmental concerns, have agreed to implement programs that reduce
emissions. The International Civil Aviation Organization Council, for example,
has adopted the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International
Aviation, a program designed to achieve carbon-neutral growth. Last year, the
International Maritime Organization established an initial strategy for addressing
global warming. Its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships by at
least 50 percent by 2050.
The 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is
an international agreement focused on phasing out the production of ozonedepleting substances. But more recently, in 2016 participating countries agreed
to the Kigali Amendment, aimed at restricting the production of hydrofluorocarbons, used as refrigerants in air conditioners. However, the United States
has yet to ratify the amendment.
In addition, individual countries are changing their laws and policies when
it comes to carbon emissions and other areas related to climate change and
environmental protection. Canada, for example, is implementing a nationwide

A recent study published by the journal Nature Climate Change found that
countries throughout the world are likely going to miss their Paris Agreement
target dates for cutting emissions. Some countries, such as Brazil, have recently
increased deforestation, thereby making it impossible to meet their promises
on reducing emissions.
David Hunter, an American University Washington College of Law professor
who teaches international environmental law, says it's "too soon to tell who
is going to comply and who is not going to comply, but we know that most
countries are not going to meet their commitments."
"That's somewhat predictable but also disappointing," says Hunter. However, he
is still generally optimistic that countries will work harder to meet and strengthen
their commitments in the next few years. "I'm optimistic because it is becoming
apparent to more people that we are in a climate emergency," says Hunter. "The
science shows that we only have a decade or two to put in significant changes,
and I see people responding to the urgency and immediacy of climate change."
Some critics of the Paris Agreement emphasize that the promises each country
made are not legally binding. However, a case from the Netherlands highlights
how the Paris Agreement may be used to help environmentalists force action
on climate change. In that case, an environmental group sued the Dutch government, alleging that by scaling back its commitment to reduce gas emissions,
the government had violated its duty of care towards its citizens under the
European Convention of Human Rights.
The Hague District Court sided with the environmental group. On appeal,
the Hague Court of Appeal upheld the lower court, relying in part on the Paris
Agreement in defining the Netherlands' duty of care. The appeals court did not
specifically say that the Paris Agreement created a legally binding obligation,
but it used the temperature goals as evidence of the level of action needed
to reduce emissions.
Hunter expects to see an increase in litigation linked to the Paris Agreement.
"Courts may increasingly use the Paris Agreement's temperature goals as a
standard for evaluating whether their country has done enough to protect
the rights of their citizens," he says.

Ken Rivlin, courtesy of Allen and Overy LLP; Sara Colangelo, courtesy of Sara Colangelo


What's critical about the
[Paris] Agreement is that it
wraps both developing and
developed countries into this
framework of responsibility
and accountability.
Georgetown University Law Center

MAY 2019




Washington Lawyer - May 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - May 2019

Digital Extras
Your Voice
From Our President
Practice Management
Calendar Of Events
Cybersecurity Rules & Risks For The International Lawyer
Borders, Refugees & A Global Crisis
Climate Change: Turning To Law In Race Against Time
Member Spotlight
Global & Domestic Outlook
Worth Reading
Media Bytes
Attorney Briefs
Ask The Ethics Experts
Disciplinary Summaries
The Pro Bono Effect
Community & Connections
Special Coverage: Youth Law Fair @ 20
Last Word
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 1
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 2
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 3
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Digital Extras
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Your Voice
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - From Our President
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 7
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Practice Management
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 9
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Calendar Of Events
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 11
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cybersecurity Rules & Risks For The International Lawyer
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 13
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 14
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 15
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 16
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 17
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Borders, Refugees & A Global Crisis
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 19
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 21
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Climate Change: Turning To Law In Race Against Time
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 23
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 24
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 25
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 26
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 27
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Member Spotlight
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 29
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Global & Domestic Outlook
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 31
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Worth Reading
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Media Bytes
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Attorney Briefs
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 35
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Ask The Ethics Experts
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 37
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Disciplinary Summaries
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 39
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - The Pro Bono Effect
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 41
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 42
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 43
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Community & Connections
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 45
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Special Coverage: Youth Law Fair @ 20
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - 47
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Last Word
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - May 2019 - Cover4
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