Ricardo Luis Lorenzetti, the Chief Justice of Argentina, has sent me a copy of his wonderful new book, Teoría del Derecho Ambiental (Theory of Environmental Law). The book, which is in Spanish, argues that environmental law represents a new paradigm that should change the way we think about many different areas of law. The book begins by discussing elements of the environmental paradigm and the paradigm’s impact on values and economics. It then discusses environmental law and its principles and values. The third chapter addresses environmental risk and uncertainty and principles of prevention and precaution and how they should change the legal system’s approach to environmental issues. The book then discusses implementation and enforcement of environmental standards.
Adding greatly to the value of the book is a 128-page appendix that provides details on nearly 100 environmental cases that have been brought in Argentine courts during the last decade. The cases are organized by the type of action: amparo, cautelares, competencia, daños y perjuicios, inconstitucionalidad, and others (including a few criminal cases). This rich book will take me some time to digest, but it will be immensely valuable to my project with Tseming Yang to develop the first casebook on global environmental law. I am immensely grateful to Chief Justice Lorenzetti for sending me a copy of his book, which our library also is purchasing.
On Friday Tseming and I had a conference call with our casebook editor, John Devins of Aspen Publishing. We reviewed the production schedule for the project and agreed that we would make every effort to ensure that the book is available for use in class by the fall semester 2009.
Another great addition to the growing literature on global environmental law is Lesley McAllister’s new book: Making Law Matter: Environmental Protection & Legal Institutions in Brazil. Lesley is a law professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. The book is published by Stanford University Press for whom I reviewed the book manuscript. It compares environmental enforcement in different Brazilian states and assesses the influence of the Brazilian Ministério Público. Tseming and I will be featuring Professor McAllister’s findings in the enforcement chapter of our global environmental law casebook.
As the opening of the Olympics in China approaches on August 8, considerable attention is being focused on efforts to clean up the environment in Beijing. While China’s ambitious plans to take half the cars in Beijing off the road are now being implemented, they do not seem to have ensured acceptable levels of air pollution. While air quality was considerably improved in Beijing early last week, by the end of the week, it was once again at unhealthy levels. Weather conditions will probably have more effect on air quality during the Olympics than any other single factor. If it rains and is windy air quality may be very good so long as the winds do not involve a dust storm off the desert.