October 7, 2005
Science published an intriguing and important essay today by Primavera discussing aquaculture and how it can be made more sustainable. Science, Vol 310, Issue 5745, 57-59 , 7 October 2005.
Aquaculture, the farming of shrimp and other useful aquatic and marine plants and animals in artificially confined and tended ponds, pens, and cages, ranks as a phenomenal success story in global food production. In 1975, aquaculture contributed 8% to the overall yield of the world's fish harvest; now it provides more than one-third of the yield. Total aquaculture production in 2003 was 54.8 million metric tons valued at $67.3 billion in U.S. dollars. More than 90% of this output comes from Asia, where aquaculture has its origins and where this month's essay author has lived and worked all of her life. In her essay, Jurgenne H. Primavera, senior scientist of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center based in Iloilo, Central Philippines, traces the recent history of aquaculture and the socioeconomic and environmental challenges that its rapid growth has wrought, especially for the mangrove ecosystems in which much of brackishwater pond aquaculture occurs. With an eye on all stakeholders, Primavera lays out how aquaculture is now falling short of the goal of sustainability and what steps might be taken to move the industry in that direction.
Almost simultaneously, Christophe Bene has published The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Discourse, Policy Controversies and the Role of Science in the Politics of Shrimp Farming Development, Development Policy Review, Vol. 23, No. 5, pp. 585-614, September 2005
This article revisits through a policy analysis the ongoing debate on shrimp farming aquaculture. It describes the changes in policy orientations that have taken place in recent years, and tries to relate them to the advocacy strategies developed by different networks and policy communities. The analysis reveals in particular the crucial contribution of the 'power of expertise' and shows how it has been instrumentalised by certain advocacy networks to depoliticise the debate. While this has allowed a number of key stakeholders to refocus the debate on technical solutions, it has prevented other groups concerned with more intractable social and political issues from engaging successfully in the policy process, thus leaving the long-term sustainability of aquaculture still a contentious issue.
Killing the Goose that Lays the Golden Egg
Wildlife conservation groups oppose Kenya President Mwai Kibaki's decision a week ago to give control of Amboseli National Park to a local council. The council has allowed free cattle grazing by the Maasai -- as many as 15,000 head in an area designed as a reserve for zebras, elephants, wildebeests, and other animals. The most remunerative game reserve in Kenya pulled in more than $3.4 million from tourists last year.
Notable quotes from David Western, former head of Kenya Wildlife Service who now heads the African Conservation Center in Nairobi:
"Every other national park and reserve ... risks being erased on a political whim at a moment's notice."
Director of the Amboseli Elephant Research Project Cynthia Moss, who has been tracking Amboseli's elephants:
the tourists "are already complaining that they didn't spend several hundreds of dollars a day to come to Africa to look at cattle."
News from the Elephant Trust on abolition of the national park: Elephant Trust news
The Science of Global Warming -- Increasing Tropospheric Water Vapor Reinforces Global Warming
A report released online today by Science (to be published later) validates an important aspect of climate change modeling. Soden, et al, report that satellite measurements indicate an increasing moistening of upper troposphere from 1982 to 2004. This increase in water vapor had been assumed in modeling and is a key factor in the predicted increase in global temperatures. The increase in water vapor is a positive feedback from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions -- accelerating and significantly increasing the effect of those emissions on global warming.
ELI Student Writing Competition
Environmental Law Institute has created a student writing competition on the intersection between environmental law and constitutional law. Papers may be a maximum of 40 pages, double-spaced, and are due April 14, 2006. The winner gets $2000 and publication in ELI. Details are available in the contest announcement. ELI Student Writing Contest Announcment
ELI presents Environmental Governance Lessons Learned from Katrina and Rita
ELI will be presenting a seminar at noon ET on October 17th about environmental governance lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. You can listen for free. The panelists will include Ollie Houck. ELI seminar
Responding to Kelo: recent papers of interest
Chris Serkin of Brooklyn and Jim Krier of Michigan have a new paper that suggests varying compensation rather than injunctive relief where governments engage in "public ruses" (limited, indirect public benefit) and "naked transfers"(no public benefit).Public Ruses From the abstract,
the Essay proposes valuing property taken for a public ruse using the government's own economic assumptions about this effect of the condemn-and-retransfer scheme, thus increasing compensation for the property owner and also increasing the government's incentive to make realistic economic predictions. For naked transfers, the Essay proposes gain-based compensation in order to put the government to the test that the condemnation will actually create some surplus public benefit. Ultimately, liability rule protection provides a better solution than property rule protection for condemn-and-retransfer cases.
Bernard Bell of Rutgers has a paper analyzing the Commerce Clause, the 14th Amendment Enforcement Clause, and the Spending Power as bases for Congressional legislation limiting the use of eminent domain by state and local governments. Legislatively Revising Kelo The paper suggests that current proposals are not within Congress' powers, but state and local exercise of eminent domain could be limited through better tailored proposals.
Wetlands Mitigation - The Honor System ???
GAO has published yet another report criticizing the Army Corps of Engineers for failing to supervise compensatory wetlands efforts. As GAO notes, full compliance with compensatory wetlands conditions in CWA 404 permits is essential to achieve the "no net loss" of wetlands goal -- and the Corps does not effectively enforce those conditions. GAO compensatory wetlands report
There is considerable variation among districts concerning compliance monitoring; however, in the vast majority of cases, the Corps could not locate the permit file, poorly specified mitigation requirements, failed to require mitigation reporting by the permittee, or filed to review mitigation reports filed by the permittee. Similarly, the Corps did not conduct compliance inspections in most cases. And the Corps did not file a single enforcement action against a permittee regarding failure to comply with mitigation requirements.
GAO advocates more specific guidance to districts on monitoring compliance and enforcement with compensatory wetland conditions, setting goals for districts on monitoring and enforcement, and review of existing mitigation banks and in-lieu-fee arrangements to assure they comply with mitigation policy.
October 6, 2005
Climate Change and Extinction
According to a report recently released by UK scientists at the British Trust for Ornithology, climate change brings the risk of extinction because species are required to adapt and migrate too far, too fast. BBC News link Quick read Executive Summary Full report 300 pages Climate Change and Migratory Species
Greenhouse Emissions Trading
Here's some quick information on international experience
with emissions trading in greenhouse gases.
The IEA/ITEA/EPRI Fifth Workshop on Emissions Trading, a website
with relevant information on the Workshop has been created.
Fifth Annual Workshop on Emissions Trading Website
It contains presentations,country summaries, the agenda, and
a short list of participants. This joint event between the IEA,
the International Emissions Trading Association and
the Electric Power Research Institute took place Sept.27-28th, 2005
at the IEA offices in Paris. It provided government, industry,
brokers, finance, and NGO delegates to discuss
key issues relating to market developments -- including
research papers and extended discussion sessions on:
market news, emissions trading and compatibility with future
international architectures, industry experience
with emissions trading, extending the coverage of domestic systems
and progress on project mechanisms.
$$$$ Dollars for Diversity
Interior issued a report BANKING ON NATURE 2004 today
that documents the economic impact of national wildlife refuges
on the economy. The report, Banking on Nature 2004: The Economic
Benefits to Local Communities of National Wildlife Refuge Visitation,
was compiled by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service economists.
Banking On Nature_2004
According to the study, nearly 37 million people visited
national wildlife refuges in 2004, creating almost 24,000 private
sector jobs and producing about $454 million in employment income.
Additionally, recreational spending on refuges generated nearly
$151 million in tax revenue at the local, county, state and federal
“Our national wildlife refuges are not only beautiful places
where fish and wildlife can flourish, they are also economic engines
for their local communities, providing jobs, customers for local businesses,
and tax revenue for local governments,” Secretary Norton said.
“With 17 new refuges and a 30 percent increase in the refuge system budget
since 2001, we are ensuring our refuges continue to be places
of awe and wonder as well as economic vitality for local communities
across the country.”
The report reinforces the travel industry’s belief that ecotourism is
becoming big business, according to Roger Dow, president of the Travel
Industry Association of America, who unveiled the report with Norton,
The study measured the economic impact of ecotourism,
large numbers of people traveling substantial distances for outdoor
activities like wildlife observation and photography, as well as more
traditional refuge programs like hunting and fishing.
Highlights from the Banking on Nature 2004 report include:
· More than 80 percent of retail sales came from people
who traveled some distance to get to national wildlife refuges
and the recreational opportunities they offer. Local residents
accounted for just 17 percent of total retail sales to refuge visitors.
· The Southeast led the Refuge System in economic impact.
With nearly 11 million visitors last year, national wildlife refuges
in the Southeast created more than $451 million in economic activity
and more than 8,500 jobs.
· The report shows a considerable “consumer surplus” of
more than $1 billion in 2004. Consumer surplus is a measure of
how much more people are willing to pay for recreation
than it actually costs them.
Using findings from 93 national wildlife refuges considered typical
in terms of the nation’s recreational interests and spending habits,
the report analyzed recreational participation in and expenditures
for freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, migratory bird hunting,
small game hunting, big game hunting and non-consumptive activities,
including wildlife observation. Costs considered in the calculation
of the total economic activity included money spent for
food and refreshments, lodging at motels, cabins, lodges or campgrounds,
In making its calculations, Banking on Nature 2004 used
the Fish and Wildlife Service’s “2001 National Survey of Fishing,
Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation” and
the visitation numbers from Refuge Management Information System.
Refuges with fewer than 1,500 visitors per year and those in Hawaii
and Alaska (because travel there is so expensive) were excluded from
the final calculations.
The National Wildlife Refuge System encompasses nearly 100 million acres
and 545 national wildlife refuges. Priority uses of the National Wildlife
Refuge System are hunting, fishing, photography, wildlife observation,
environmental education, and interpretation.
October 5, 2005
IPCC Special Report on Carbon Capture and Storage
Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a strategy to allow continued use of fossil fuels while reducing CO2 emissions. The IPCC has issued a special report on CCS -- the report essentially indicates that CCS may be a technically and economically feasible strategy to reduce CO2 emissions. But... the IPCC summary indicates that there are environmental and public health risks associated with the technology. Geological sequestration is being piloted; any threats appear to be from accidental release. Ocean sequestration is still in the experimental research stage; the potential risks to marine life may be substantial. One risk the IPCC has put to rest is the threat of sudden release from ocean sequestration -- stating there is no known mechanism for sudden release in the ocean. Yet the specter of 1800 people who died from a previously unknown mechanism that suddenly released lethal amounts of CO2 from Lake Nyos two decades ago haunts sequestration efforts.
Here is the summary for decision-makers. IPCC Carbon Capture and Storage Summary Full text of the IPCC special report should be available soon.
Some of the salient points covered in the Summary are:
CCS has the potential to reduce overall climate change mitigation costs and increase flexibility in achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions.
- The use of CCS for large-scale power plants (the potential application of major interest) still remains to be implemented
- CCS enables the control of the CO2 emissions from fossil fuel-based production of electricity or hydrogen, which in the longer term could reduce part of the dispersed CO2 emissions from transport and distributed energy supply systems.
- Most modelling as assessed in this report suggests that CCS systems begin to deploy at a significant level when CO2 prices begin to reach approximately 25 - 30 US$/tCO2.
- Available evidence suggests that worldwide, it is likely that there is a technical potential of at least about 2,000 GtCO2 (545 GtC) of storage capacity in geological formations. This is likely sufficient to cover the demand for geological storage over the century.
- Depending on the type of capture and storage, CCS would add 0.01 - 0.05 US$/kWh to the cost of electricity production.
October 4, 2005
Another reason to spend November in DC: ABA Administrative Law Conference
The ABA Administrative Law Section is holding its annual conference in Washington D.C. on November 17-18. The conference will feature a symposium on EU Administrative Law, a session on Hurricane Katrina, and a host of fun topics like 21st century rulemaking, statutory interpretation within the executive branch, judicial review of agency letters, ADR, and writing effective comments. Ad Law Conference Brochure
American hosts climate change conference for lawyers
American is hosting a one-day conference on November 15, 2005, providing an introduction to climate change law and policy at international, national, and state levels as well as corporate risks, and opportunities associated with climate. Legal Dimension of Climate Change brochure The conference boasts an all-star cast from NY/DC (including Steve Ramsey, Ken Berlin, David Buente, Kevin Healy, Tom Kerr, John Dernbach). It is co-sponsored by the ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Natural Resources, American University Center on International Environmental Law, and the NYS Bar Ass'n.
Occasional Poll Question
What impact would confirmation of Miers make on environmental law?
Fisheries: International Ban on High Seas Bottom Trawling Possible
BBC reports that the IUCN and other conservation groups are making progress on convincing nations to support an international ban on bottom trawling in the high seas.
Hit the Trail ??? to NELPI
THE UNIVERSITY OF TULSA COLLEGE OF LAW invites applications for the NELPI Professor of Law and Director of the National Energy-Environmental Law and Policy Institute. We seek outstanding candidates with an interest and expertise in the interrelationships and intersections of energy law, environmental law, and natural resources law. Transnational interest or experience is desirable. Applicants should possess strong scholarly credentials, a willingness to administer the Institute and engage in programs that will further its mission, and a desire to work with other faculty on joint projects or programs of mutual interest. The University of Tulsa, an equal employment opportunity/affirmative action employer, is committed to diversifying its faculty and staff. Members of under‑represented groups (including people of color, people with disabilities, women, and veterans) are strongly encouraged to apply. If you would like to learn more about NELPI, please visit www.NELPI.org; if you would like to learn more about the College of Law generally, you may visit our website at www.law.utulsa.edu/. Please submit letters of interest and resumes to Prof. Judith Royster, Chair, NELPI Search Committee, University of Tulsa College of Law, 3120 E. 4th Place, Tulsa OK 74104, or by email to judith‑firstname.lastname@example.org.