Environmental law and policy is changing/has changed. No longer are the concerns simply stationary sources and localized pollution. Instead, the concerns are diffuse sources (e.g., individuals, homes, cars) and transboundary pollution problems (e.g., climate change). Thus I, and others, have become more focused on the “democratization” of pollution. (See my book, the work of Mike Vandenbergh, and my colleague Tim Duane’s article, Environmental Planning and Policy in a Post-Rio World, 7 Berkeley Planning J. 27 (1992)). But I’m now even more convinced that a second phase must occur where American environmental law professors/policy-makers must look more outward and do more comparative, international and/or global work. Today, I met with faculty of law at the University of Stockholm and recalled my conversations with the faculty at Uppsala University; so much of their work is “international.” Certainly much of this is due to the existence of the European Union, but their eye towards solving global environmental problems is focused on global cooperation rather than domestic law. America could use a similar shift (waiting for the Global Environmental Law casebook by Yang and Percival to be finished). That said, I pause… given the economic and carbon footprint of the U.S. and China it would be very hard to not consider the purely domestic actions of the Americans and Chinese.

Advertisements