2022 Environmental Crimes and Protection Program

Photo Credit: AFP 2020

March 18, 2022
Virtual Conference

We are excited to be hosting the 2022 Environmental Crimes and Protection Conference in partnership with The Jersey Law Commission and The Resolution Journal. This conference is sponsored by the Washington State Bar Association’s World Peace through Law Section.

Moderators: David Krott is a research assistant at the FH Aachen and a doctoral candidate in international environmental criminal law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels. Marilena Stegbauer is an independent human rights consultant based in London focusing on minority rights and international crimes.

The Right to Healthy Environment: Indian Perspective during Covid-19
Dr. Sangeeta Taak

Life does not include just water, air or living or breathing it also includes to live with dignity and to cremate or buried with dignity. Article 21 is wider enough to add the right to life and dignified burial. As a person’s right to life includes “the right of the dead body to be treated with the same respect that he would have deserved if he were alive. It is imperative for the state to treat the corpse with dignity.” Before the covid-19 no one had ever thought of the management of dead bodies as there were no such crisis in managing the dead bodies. In my paper I have explained the issues which are attached to dead body management in India These are basically custom, religion, pollution of air and water pollution etc. The dead body management need to be taken seriously as the dead person has the human rights which stays with him/her from cradle to grave. What measures can be adapted in order to strengthen the dead body management during the pandemic and situations alike in future. How the government, Interfaith dialogue and civil societies and International Laws can play a vital role in order to protect the right of the dead to protect the dignity and dead body management in India. Main findings of the paper are the need is to strengthen the dead body management in India. The need is to save the environment and to protect the dignity of a dead at the same time. The need is to also understand that the last rites are flexible and already adapted to minimize contact with the dead body. New technologies must be appreciated for the dead body management. Interfaith dialogues with government are necessary. The guidance must be provided to the health care workers so that they must handle the body carefully. Safety of the frontline workers must also be ensured while pandemic and otherwise.

All that glitters is not Green. Electric vehicles and environmental injustice
Dr. Simon Sneddon

Electric transport may be touted by some as ‘greener’ and ‘fairer’ than current modes of transport, but deeper investigation reveals that this claim is little more than a shiny green paint job. The battery technology needed to power this green revolution is singularly unfair. Lithium-ion batteries comprise three main minerals: lithium; cobalt and manganese. Lithium extraction from the Chilean Sálar de Atacama is causing water levels to fall, resulting in harm to indigenous Atacameño communities and wildlife such as the Chilean Flamingo. Cobalt, from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is regularly mined by children and releases radioactive waste. Manganese mining has been linked to developmental health problems in children. Mining companies, battery and vehicle manufacturers, and those who can buy electric vehicles reap the benefits of electric transport, and those nearest the extraction sites bear the brunt of all the problems, for little or none of the benefits. This is a clear environmental injustice, and once the shiny greenwash is scratched off, the shadowy heart is revealed. Companies, governments and consumers need to do more to rebalance the electric transport industry for the benefit of all, and this paper suggests possible ways of achieving this.

Climate Justice and the Green Crime of Ecocide
Dr. Zoi Aliozi

This paper aspires to reflect on the role of Green Crimes in the Climate Justice field. In doing so, it will examine the reach of criminal law in prosecuting green crimes in the international level by testing the case of Ecocide. Through a philosophical and legal methodological approach, this essay will ask questions such as: ‘Can strategic litigation succeed in ensuring Climate Justice?’ ‘What is the role of Green Crimes in Climate Justice?’ ‘What is Ecocide, and is it an international crime?’ ‘Why is extraterritoriality important in Climate Change Jurisdiction?’ Climate change is being caused by human activities; this realisation results in a call for attributing responsibility to the countries, companies or individuals that have direct links with the caused harms (article 3 of the UNFCCC). In this sense the best possible ally for moving climate justice would be the inclusion of green crimes in climate laws and the collaboration of international criminal law, environmental law and human rights law that are interconnected and interdependent; under the need to achieve climate justice in a global scale. It is important to evaluate, assess and test the criminal dimensions of climate change, in order to improve Climate Justice.

The collision of cyberspace and outer space – observing environmental crimes from the skies
Tamara Blagojević

In today’s fast paced society, human activities have consequences that severely affect Earth’s environment. With technological developments, such consequences are replicating to two emerging spectrums, both representing global commons: cyberspace and outer space. This leads to the collision of various hazards and risks, which by connecting these areas creates a need for the harmonized and coordinated development of their regulation, as in the opposite situation, they could represent a mutual threat. For example, satellites collect valuable data, predict the weather and can reach remote locations, facilitating disaster preparedness and wildlife crime prevention. But, if a cyber activity is undertaken by using space technologies, while disregarding the space law principles, it can possibly result in harmful interference or environmental hazards. Similarly, if space activities are not publicly communicated and coordinated, they could lead to incidents resulting in space debris generation, affecting both space and Earth’s environment. Moreover, the deployment of new satellite internet mega-constellations, governed by imprecise regulation, due to space traffic congestion creates a risk of a cascade collision with satellites becoming easier targets for cyber-attacks. Are these intersections mirrored in the regulation governing these spectrums? Can the law be timelier and more predictive in protecting the global commons?

Farm to Plate – The transition of world food system and emerging embedded climate issues around
Ashok Kumar Nayak

Food is the basic need for any living being including humans irrespective of socio-economic, geographical and ethnic status. Agricultural production is the contributor to world food system that feeds the world. The transition in agricultural process and expansion of agricultural value chain from farm to plate has an impact on climate change. The increasing urban population and changing dietary habits across the world are remarkable to the transition that took place over last couple of decades. The shift from peasant farming to corporate farming is visible transition of production processes that undermine the global climate promises over SGD and COP agreements. World food system comprising of all the processes from farm to plate. It is important to understand the added steps and transitions in the process and identify the visible and underlying factors that contribute negatively to climate change. As per FAO statics 2020, agriculture is both affected by climate change and an important contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. World agriculture emissions within the farm gate (those related to crops and livestock) grew by 16 per cent between 2000 and 2017. The important underlying factor is not to meet the changing dietary need through an industrial production system, rather it is important to meet the food and nutritional requirement of world population where each individual enjoys their rights to basic survival needs through a climate compliance sustainable agricultural system. The paper will look at the transition of the process and stapes how these shifts are interrelated to the global concern on climate change and the paper will end in some suggestive policy action and individual behavioral practices, as a sensitive global citizen each one of us can contribute positively to the issue.

Climate Justice through Climate Action
Kishor Dere

This paper analyses relationship between the concepts of climate justice and climate action. Climate change is not only a scientific phenomenon but also a social, economic, political and health issue. It affects billions of people around the world in innumerable ways. There is ample empirical evidence to show that the historically dispossessed, deprived, excluded and marginalised sections of world population face disproportionate impacts of climate change. Climate justice recognises that the scale, magnitude and gravity of detrimental effects of climate change are not uniform. In order to accomplish the coveted goal of climate justice, it is imperative to address inequities created by climate change through long-term mitigation and adaptation strategies. This is climate action (UN SDG 13) to combat the menace of climate change. It involves a series of concerted efforts to sincerely and transparently implement the promises made by various stakeholders. For instance, promote mechanisms for raising awareness capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management in LDCs and small island developing states; to mobilise funds for addressing the needs of developing nations to ensure mitigation actions; strengthen resilience and adaptive capacities to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries; unify climate change policies and national action policies.

Redefining the property rights: dilemmas faced by India
Dr. Dayana M.K.

Protection of land (real property) under the constitution of India revolves round the whole picture of redefining the property rights after the independence. It could be seen that an oppressive system of resource ownership perpetuated through ages needed a revolutionary change to put up with constitutional dreams. But it resulted in a tug of war that took away the valuable time of legislature and higher judiciary. It resulted in number of amendments and at last derogation of property right from fundamental to legal. Still, it remains an area of hot debate.

Post Disaster Recovery, Natural Disasters, and Corruption
Information relayed by M. Kline

In April 2016 earthquake struck Ecuador leaving significant devastation in its wake. Many people were injured and lost their lives. Since that time period, recovery is still ongoing. The World Bank reported that the Government of Ecuador estimated $3.3 (USD) billion to rebuild from the earthquake. This presentation will focus on the disaster response of the earthquake and how mismanagement has stopped meaningful impact for communities who are seeking to rebuild. This presentation will be in Spanish and will be translated into English.

Environmental diplomacy under the microscope
Beatrice Hamilton

Particularly in view of global warming and the Covid-19 pandemic it has become clear that isolated national efforts to tackle contemporary challenges and in particular global warming are insufficient and that in order to successfully tackle climate change an enhanced level of international climate diplomacy is needed to successfully tackle global warming and ensure a sustainable future through a GHG reduction concerted global action. While the Paris Agreement is considered a success for paving the way toward multilateral climate policy, the impact of Covid-19 on national economies led to stagnation, with current efforts centering on the resuscitation of national economies rather than on global collaboration. This couples with higher level competition between major economic powers, U.S. and China strongly suggest not only that climate diplomacy must be part of recovery plans but also that in these circumstances climate diplomacy is an invaluable tool that must be utilized in as far as possible.