The Whanganui River: now a legal person.
Joerg Muller/Ulanwp/Wikimedia Commons
New Zealand's Whanganui River and the Ganga and Yamuna Rivers in India have been given the right to 'sue' over issues like pollution. The challenge now is to ensure these legal rights are enforced.
President Trump has ordered federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one they enact – ignoring the fact that many regulations produce large social benefits.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt gestures as he answers a question during a news conference in Oklahoma City, Thursday, June 13, 2013.
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has sued the federal government repeatedly. If he becomes head of EPA and tries to weaken environmental laws, opponents are likely to do the same to him.
Environmental activists rallied at Queensland’s state parliament in April.
AAP Image/Nathan Paull
Queensland's Supreme Court has backed the state government's decision to approve the proposed Carmichael coal mine. But environmental groups have scored some key legal points on climate considerations.
Ecological sustainability is at the core of Australia’s Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's proposed changes to Australia's national environment act will significantly reduce judicial oversight on environmental decisions. Here's why that matters.
Indigenous activists confront Queensland politician Peter Wellington in 2015.
AAP Image/Dan Peled
Can Australia achieve fair and open decision-making and a just and sustainable energy transition when big coal players are involved?
Kuwait, 1991. If Saddam Hussein did this today the ICC may consider him an environmental criminal.
Everett Historical / shutterstock
But criminal sanctions alone aren't enough. We also have to make individuals and firms financially liable for their actions.
Should killing too many fish be dealt with in the same way as war crimes?
Bob Williams/Wikimedia Commons
The world has global authorities for trade and security, but not for threats to the environment. It's time the natural world got its own version of the World Trade Organisation or UN Security Council.
Many of Australia’s mines haven’t been cleaned up as thoroughly as they should have been.
Rehabilitating old mines is a crucial responsibility for the industry. But many Australian mine sites have been simply left alone or left for the taxpayer to fix.
Ministers considering new coal mines need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture.
AAP Image/Dave Hunt
The granting of a mining lease to the Carmichael coal project, despite the huge potential greenhouse emissions, shows that ministers need to consider the wider consequences of their approvals.
Fertilizer runoff and other activities have 60 percent of Chesapeake Bay in a virtual dead zone.
Chesapeake Bay Program
In its first environmental case post-Scalia, the Supreme Court rebuffs farm and ranching interests that opposed the EPA's multistate plan to restore Chesapeake Bay using the Clean Water Act.
In addition to the Clean Power Act policy for climate change, the Supreme Court will be hearing cases on the extent of protections under the Clean Water Act.
A look at Scalia's decidedly negative legacy on environment reveals how important the next Supreme Court will be on environmental questions, including the EPA Clean Power Plan.
Justice scale and flag.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office/Wikimedia
Many observers have called for criminal prosecutions in Flint, Michigan's water crisis. A law professor with experience in federal and state government reviews the laws that may have been broken.
Some scientists have estimated more than 90% of Australia’s coal resources must stay in the ground.
Coal image from www.shutterstock.com
Activists want the Carmichael mine stopped. But what does the law say?
Australia’s environment protection laws only protect endangered species or ones in national parks.
The government is set to restrict green groups' right to challenge environmental approvals in court. But the law isn't doing its job in protecting Australia's plants and animals anyway.
In 1991 Iraq forces set fire to Kuwait oil fields.
By Jonas Jordan, United States Army Corps of Engineers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Acts perpetrated during the course of warfare have, through the ages, led to significant environmental destruction.
The stage is set for a climate agreement - although it may be political rather than legal.
Probably not, but that might be for the best if it encourages countries to be more ambitious in their commitments, rather than playing it safe to avoid falling foul of legal obligations.
Protesters in Brisbane campaigning for more rights for landowners against coal seam gas.
AAP Image/Cleo Fraser
As a landowner, can you veto a coal seam gas development? And does the environment minister have the power to say no to coal mines?
Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River, protected as the world’s first national park in 1872. But how do we best protect nature in the future?
You can't simply 'value' nature as though it were a commodity able to be bought and sold.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis wants to remove green groups’ blanket eligibility to challenge environmental approvals in the courts.
AAP Image/Mick Tsikas
The government plans to change the law so green groups don't automatically qualify to mount legal challenges against environmental approvals. That would make it much harder for green watchdogs to act.