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Reimagining Environmental Law 21 August 2020

Global Governance and Future Trends

Strengthening global governance

Governance at global regional and national level is lacking, there is a lack of coherence, even in matters of global common interests. The EU, ASEAN, and other regional organisations can play a crucial role in tackling environmental issues, facilitating the implementation of MEAs, mobilizing stakeholders, and sharing experiences. The time is opportune to call upon regional organisations to strengthen global governance and play an active role towards sustainable development at all levels.
Emeritus Professor Koh Kheng Lian, National University of Singapore

Lack of formal enforcement

International 'soft law' standards are not a perfect solution to achieve regulatory convergence in cross-border matters, such as climate change. However, they fill a vacuum in the absence of 'hard law' treaties. The challenge is to imagine observance mechanisms that 'compensate' for the lack of formal enforcement.
Professor Rosa M Lastra, Sir John Lubbock Chair in Banking Law, Queen Mary University of London

International court for the environment

Successful environmental regulation within a nation state balances environmental protection against necessary economic development. We need a new institutional framework, comprising an international court for the environment, to provide guidance to nation states at an international level as to how to strike that balance
Stephen Hockman QC, Head of Chambers at Six Pump Court and Trustee, ClientEarth

Detecting environmental trends

What are the environmental trends of the future that will require policy responses? Scientists studying social-ecological systems publish their findings in peer reviewed journals, but sifting through the sheer volume of published articles to spot trends would be a daunting task. Natural language processing and computational topic modelling could be used to scour through the massive corpus of scientific publications on an ongoing basis to detect when a new environmental trend is emerging, allowing policy to formulate while the trend is in early stages and more manageable.
Professor J.B. Ruhl, Director, Program on Law and Innovation, Co-director, Energy, Environment and Land Use Program, Vanderbilt University Law School

Policies need aligning

While AI and Big Data will play an increasing role in helping agencies to monitor compliance with environmental law and regulations, the bigger challenge remains the need to align on the policies which are needed to deliver the outcomes we want to see. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Climate Change agenda, where the carbon reduction targets set by most countries are not yet supported by a full set of enabling policies and legal frameworks.
Mark Gainsborough, Investor and advisor in low carbon technologies and former head of New Energies at Shell.

AI and Sustainable Finance - The Role of Environmental Law

The widespread use of machine learning and the possibility of using three-dimensional models in finance (already in use in climate models and weather forecasting), which go beyond risk and return linearity, pose a very welcome challenge for Environmental law and public policy-making. They can have a profound impact on two key areas: (a) rule-making and calibration of incentives and sanctions to leverage the impact of sustainable finance, (b) monitoring and enforcement. Parliament and the courts should embrace the emerging technologies to maximize the benefit of sustainable investment.
Professor Emilios Avgouleas, Chair in International Banking Law & Finance, School of Law, University of Edinburgh

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