August 2010

“As of Wednesday, Wisconsin’s electronics recycling law bans the use of landfills or incineration to dispose of electronic devices. The ban covers televisions; computers (including desktop, laptop, netbook and tablet computers); computer monitors; desktop printers (including those that scan, fax, or copy); other computer accessories, including keyboards, mice, speakers, external hard drives and flash drives; DVD players, DVRs, VCRs and other video players; Fax machines; and cell phones.”

See here.

Useful conference or brilliant way to get potential faculty candidates to visit a law school…you decide.  See here.

Today was the first day of classes at Vermont Law School, and I’m teaching Natural Resoucres Law.  I enjoy teaching this course immensely.  Today we identified three key questions: (1) What is a natural resource?; (2) Who should protect natural resources?; and (3) Why should we protect natural resources?  These are three questions that must be answered to create natural resources law and policy.

One of my favorite parts of the first day of class is asking students, what is a natural resource?  Bison? Cattle? Hamburger? Trees? Lumber?  We have strong viewpoints as to what we should protect as natural resources, but we often give less thought to the cultural, social, artistic, religious, and philsophical reasons for labeling some things as ‘natural resources’ and others not, and, therefore, choosing what deserves protection.

(Of note: It’s also my daughter’s first day of Kindergarten.  I think I’m more nervous about Kindergarten than she is!)

So asks this article about the Swedish music scene.  But the same question applies to the Swedish environmental scene, for a country that has proven to be a leader on the issue of climate change, especially in the context of food.

On October 23, 2009, the New York Times ran an article entitled To Cut Global Warming, Swedes Study Their Plates.” This Swedish movement is driven by two major events: (1) the creation of new national dietary guidelines that give equal weight to health and the environment, and (2) the major organic labels in Sweden embarking on a new initiative called “Klimatmärkingning för Mat,” or “Climate Labelling for Food” in English.

For a few weeks next spring I plan to be a Guest Researcher at Uppsala University Faculty of Law in Sweden to lay the groundwork for a comparative project one environmental labeling for food in the United States and Sweden.

(To hear the music click here and here.)

Read here about energy demand and growth in China–and a traffic jam 60 miles long.

According to uncertified results provided by Sec. of State office, Shumlin wins by 197 votes.  Second place finisher Racine to request recount.  See here and here.

I recognize that my last name is hard to spell.  And, it is true that at my previous institution “make sure Czarnezki is spelled correctly” was on the law school mailout checklist.  But what continues to amaze me is that in the face of direct evidence–forms filled out by me, emails from me, phones calls requesting correction–people still spell my name wrong because ‘it just doesn’t look right.’  Well now they’re going after my kids.  Yes, my one daughter has an unusual spelling to her first name, and, yes, my partner’s last name is their middle name and Czarnezki is still hard to spell, but nowhere did we spell them wrong, nowhere did we change their first name, and nowhere did we give them a hyphenated last name.  Trust me, we can spell our names correctly.  How many times do we have to request changes?…in my experience at least three times.

The third annual meeting of the Society for Environmental Law and Economics will be held on June 24 and 25, 2011, at the University of Amsterdam in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The meeting is sponsored by the Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics and the Amsterdam Center for Environmental Law and Sustainability.

Just as environmental problems tend to run across artificial political boundaries, the Society for Environmental Law and Economics (SELE) is, as the name implies, a truly interdisciplinary organization bringing together legal scholars, economists, and interested researchers in other fields to address important environmental issues that inevitably cut across artificial disciplinary boundaries. SELE includes economists, legal scholars, and other scientists among its members, and we encourage broad participation from all relevant fields of study.

We hope to build upon the great success of past meetings, and continue to build a community of environmental scholars interested in working in the intersection of law, economics, and environmental or natural resource issues. In the spirit of collegiality, the meeting will take place in a workshop format, in which all sessions will be plenary. We strongly encourage all attendees to attend all presentations.

Our goal is to create a program that includes a variety of disciplinary perspectives, ideally consisting of 20-30 papers over the two-day period. There will be no funding available for travel or lodging expenses, but the University of Amsterdam will provide food and drink during the workshop for the speakers. Further information regarding accommodation, the conference program and other logistic matters will be posted on


Please email a Word or PDF file to Josephine van Zeben at  with the subject line “SELE SUBMISSION,” by November 1, 2010.  We will review all the papers and get back to you by December 8. Preference will be given to final papers.

Richard O. Zerbe, Daniel J. Evans Distinguished Professor of Public Policy, Evans School of Public Affairs, University of Washington

Daniel H. Cole, R. Bruce Townsend Professor of Law, Indiana University School of Law

Shi-Ling Hsu, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia Faculty of Law

Jonathan R. Nash, Professor, Emory University School of Law

Josephine van Zeben, Hauser Global Research Fellow 2010-11, New York University School of Law; PhD candidate, University of Amsterdam

I have been of the view that climate change regulation would happen through the executive branch and the EPA, and that this course might, in fact, be preferable to other avenues.   The Supreme Court’s decision in Massachusetts v. EPA permitted the EPA to go forward with regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Air.  And now with the government’s brief in AEP v. Conn., arguing that common law claims are not available, and no hope of passing climate legislation in Congress, this seems to be the path.  Greenwire’s two topic articles today sum the story up best with their titles– “Obama admin urges Supreme Court to vacate ‘nuisance’ ruling” and “With Hill hopes dashed, advocates circle wagons at EPA.”

UPDATE: An interesting take on this over at Legal Planet.

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