Because I was behind the great firewall of China last week I was unable to post this until now. Last Sunday I was in Beijing where I was leading a group of 37 students and alums on an environmental law tour of China during our spring break. We left Washington on Friday March 12 at noon and flew to Beijing with a stop to change planes in Tokyo. We arrived in Beijing late Saturday night and are staying at a hotel just south of Tiananmen Square. On Sunday March 13 we spent our first full day in China in a surprise blizzard as we toured the Temple of Heaven, the Summer Palace, the Forbidden City, and Tiananmen Square. The forecast had been for snow flurries changing to light rain, but the snow started out fairly heavy and just intensified throughout the day. Fortunately it was warm enough that the snow melted as it hit the roads so transportation was not greatly impeded, but there was a substantial accumulation of snow everywhere else.
Maryland Professor Shruti Rana who is in China to help set up a microfinance clinic joined our group for the day along with one of the alums of our joint Maryland/China business law exchange program. We also were joined in the afternoon by Huang Jing and Wang Jing, two of my former environmental law students from the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL) who reported that they had just learned that CUPL’s moot court team had defeated Maryland in one of the preliminary rounds of the International Environmental Moot Court Competition being held this weekend at Stetson University Law School in Gulfport, Florida.
On Monday March 15) I received the news that, despite the loss to my former students from CUPL, Maryland’s team went on to win the International Environmental Moot Court Competition. The team of Molly Knoll, April Morton, and William Tilburg had advanced to the Quarterfinal Rounds after defeating teams from India, Ukraine, Brazil, and the University of Pennsylvania, while losing to CUPL in the preliminary rounds. CUPL also advanced to the Quarterfinals. Maryland then defeated UC-Hastings in the quarterfinals on Sunday morning and then proceeded to win the semis and finals. Molly Knoll was named best oralist in the final round. Maryland also won the award for second best memorial.
Congratulations to Maryland alums David Mandell and Karla Schaffer who teach our Environmental Advocacy seminar as adjunct faculty and who put in so much of their own time coaching the team. This is a particularly timely achievement because Maryland will not be able to compete in the competition next year because we will be hosting the International Finals with 20 teams from all over the world coming to Baltimore in March 2011.
During the week of March 8 the Chinese and Indian governments transmitted letters to the United Nations (UN) agreeing to associate their countries with the Copenhagen Accord. India’s environment minister Jairam Ramesh stated that by listing itself as joining the accord, the country strengthened its negotiation position on climate change. China’s chief climate negotiator Su Wei sent a one-sentence letter stating that the UN “can proceed to include China in the list of parties” associated with the Copenhagen Accord. EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard of Denmark stated that the nations of the world should now seek to complete a global treaty to control emissions of greenhouse gases in the 2011 conference of parties (COP) to be held in South Africa, rather than in the COP scheduled for Cancun in December 2010. John M. Broder, Climate Goal Is Supported by China and India, N.Y. Times, March 10, 2010, at A9.