CPR Archive for Noah Sachs

Stocktaking and Ratcheting After Paris

by Noah M Sachs | December 10, 2015

In the latest draft treaty text from Thursday evening in Paris two contentious issues seem to be resolved: how often the agreement will be reviewed after it is adopted (“stocktaking”) and whether the reviews should involve ever-more-stringent commitments by the parties (“ratcheting”).

The background here is that the greenhouse gas reduction commitments made so far by 185 countries are voluntary, and they have varying levels of ambition.    Most countries committed to fulfill their promised reductions by 2030, but some countries, including the United States, used a 2025 target year (the U.S. committed to a 26-28% reduction below 2005 levels).   There is no enforcement mechanism for these commitments – no sheriff to monitor compliance and no court to punish the laggards.

The second-best option, then, is periodic reviews – stocktaking -- to see how each nation is progressing toward its voluntary pledge.  Although this idea seems non-controversial, many developing countries in Paris opposed 5-year reviews between now and 2030 because they feared the reviews would be used to shame them or force them to increase their reduction commitments.  India, for example, pushed for a 10-year review process to give countries the time to do what they said they would do.  Developed countries, led by the United States, pushed for reviews early and often: at least every five years beginning in 2018 or 2020.  

The current text (Article 10) now confirms that the first global “stocktake” will be in 2023 and will ...

What Will 'Common But Differentiated Responsibility' Mean After Paris?

by Noah M Sachs | December 09, 2015
Here at the UN climate summit is Paris, negotiators are hashing out the new meaning of an old term: common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR). CBDR has been a bedrock principle of climate negotiations since 1992. It was the basis for dividing the world into two camps: 37 developed nations that had binding greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, and the rest of the world. There are many definitions for CBDR, but the best one I’ve heard was given by former Undersecretary ...

India Launches Sweeping Mandatory Program on Corporate Social Responsibility

by Noah M Sachs | June 12, 2014
With little notice in the West, India has just launched the most far-reaching corporate social responsibility (CSR) program in the world.  The CSR law, which took effect April 1, requires large and mid-sized firms to contribute at least 2% of their pre-tax profits (averaged over the previous three years) to social, health, educational, or environmental causes.  It also requires companies to prepare a formal CSR policy and to report annually on their CSR activities.  The CSR law, section 135 of ...

Greening the Idol Industry in India

by Noah M Sachs | March 26, 2014
I’ve been in Bangalore, India for about two months on a Fulbright fellowship to study Indian environmental law.  While I knew India has major problems with air pollution and sanitation, I didn’t expect that one of the major environmental controversies here would be about greening the idol industry.  Apparently, the gods in India can wreak havoc on the environment. Each year, Indians sink millions of idols in rivers and lakes to celebrate various festivals.   The biggest festival for idol sinking ...

Fixing Virginia’s toxic chemical problem

by Noah M Sachs | January 20, 2014
In the wake of the toxic chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia that contaminated the city’s water supply, citizens across the country are wondering if it could happen to them. Given gaps in our environmental and chemical regulation regime, the answer is a resounding yes.   For the past year, I’ve been investigating problems of chemical storage and contamination in Virginia, and this week, the University of Richmond School of Law released a new report authored by me and law student ...

TSCA Reform and the Presidential Election

by Noah M Sachs | September 06, 2012
When Barack Obama took office, reform of U.S. chemical regulation appeared to be an area of some bipartisan agreement, especially when compared to climate change, where it was clear a contentious fight would loom on Capitol Hill.  Prominent Members of Congress had called for reform of the outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson soon laid out the Administration’s key principles for TSCA reform, and the largest chemical industry trade association acknowledged that TSCA needed ...

Trash Overboard! Why the U.S. Should Ratify the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention

by Noah M Sachs | June 21, 2012
a(broad) perspective Today’s post is the fifth in a series on a recent CPR white paper, Reclaiming Global Environmental Leadership: Why the United States Should Ratify Ten Pending Environmental Treaties.  Each month, this series will discuss one of these ten treaties.  Previous posts are here. 1996 Protocol to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter Adopted by the Parties to the London Convention (including the United States) and Opened for Signature ...

Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Ratifying the Basel Convention on Transboundary Waste

by Noah M Sachs | May 01, 2012
a(broad) perspective Today’s post is third in a series on a recent CPR white paper, Reclaiming Global Environmental Leadership: Why the United States Should Ratify Ten Pending Environmental Treaties.  Each month, this series will discuss one of these ten treaties.  Previous posts are here. Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal Adopted and Opened for Signature on March 22, 1989 Entered into Force on May 5, 1992 Signed by the United States on ...

Big Win for Children's Health in Second Circuit Risk Assessment Decision

by Noah M Sachs | September 26, 2011
In toxics regulation, environmental lawyers face an uphill battle when they challenge a risk assessment performed by a protector agency.  Courts review the agency’s risk assessment under a deferential “arbitrary and capricious” standard, and courts are reluctant to second-guess an agency’s calculation of the risks of a pesticide or other chemicals. So it was a victory for both children’s health and sound science earlier this month when the Natural Resources Defense Council prevailed in its challenge of EPA’s flawed risk ...

Also from Noah M Sachs

Professor Noah Sachs is Professor of Law and Director, Robert R. Merhige, Jr. Center for Environmental Studies at the University of Richmond School of Law.

Stocktaking and Ratcheting After Paris

Sachs | Dec 10, 2015 | Climate Change

Greening the Idol Industry in India

Sachs | Mar 26, 2014 | Environmental Policy

Fixing Virginia’s toxic chemical problem

Sachs | Jan 20, 2014 | Environmental Policy

The Center for Progressive Reform

455 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150-513
Washington, DC 20001
info@progressivereform.org
202.747.0698

© Center for Progressive Reform, 2015