Since 1972, the Clean Water Act has been a powerful tool for regulating waterborne pollutants. Despite the success of the Clean Water Act in mitigating water pollution, unforeseen challenges arise when regulators use the Clean Water Act to regulate nonconventional pollutants, including invasive species. Invasive species continue to wreak havoc on North American ecosystems, notably the Great Lakes.
Chinese environmental public interest litigation has assumed increasing attention and significance in recent years. By simply granting standing to public authorities and environmental groups to challenge “acts of polluting or damaging the environment that have harmed the public interest,” the amended Civil Procedure Law of 2012 and Environmental Protection Law of 2014 created an amorphous and ambiguous liability regime.
Notwithstanding adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change, mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions appears unlikely to achieve the stated goal of limiting the mean global temperature increase to 2°C. Under many scenarios, achieving this goal would require not only vigorous mitigation efforts, but also the deployment of carbon dioxide removal technologies or solar geoengineering.
In 2008, Hawai‘i’s electric utilities and state government committed to transforming Hawai‘i into a world leader in the adoption of renewable energy. The characteristics of Hawai‘i’s electricity system—including high imported fossil fuel costs—appeared to make this project more technically feasible, economically attractive, and politically popular in Hawai‘i than in any other state. And yet, a decade later, Hawai‘i’s electricity grids remain less renewable than those of many mainland states (such as California), and continue to emit 35 percent more carbon per kilowatt-hour than the U.S. average.