Articles by Erin Yu

International Law

Russo-Ukrainian Crisis and Rising Oil Prices Threaten Climate Change

February 18, 2022 Erin Yu 0

Global tensions, as well as oil prices, have soared to new heights following recent threats of a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. While discussion surrounding the conflict has thus far been centered on implications to national security and foreign relations, the issue is also set to have major effects on climate change efforts that countries around the globe have been developing for years.  The histories of Russia and Ukraine are deeply intertwined, and conflict between the two countries has existed for generations, from Ukraine’s entrance into the Soviet Union in 1922 to its independence in 1991. Since 1991, Russia has persistently refused to acknowledge Ukraine’s independence, as demonstrated by Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and a series of Russian cyber attacks between 2016 and 2017. Russia also continues to maintain a military presence near Ukraine, currently stationing nearly 130,000 troops at the Ukrainian border. In December 2021, […]

International Law

Number of Climate Litigation Suits Heats Up

February 1, 2022 Erin Yu 0

As the climate crisis rapidly accelerates, legislative bodies around the globe have been under fire for their inaction. A growing multitude of frustrated individuals have turned their attention to the court system in search of new avenues for climate action. In the past three years alone, climate litigation suits doubled from 884 cases in 24 countries to 1,550 cases in 38 countries, revealing an exponential increase in public concerns for the environment as well as a rising dependence on the courts to kickstart government action on climate change. This influx of cases has pushed courts to confront and even rethink their judicial powers and duties in relation to climate action. Large-scale court decisions on climate change have long been unprecedented because issues as vast as climate change typically warrant broad policy changes that are beyond the power of the courts. However, two recent climate suits in Europe have seen remarkable […]

International Law

COP26 Recap: Renewed Urgency, But Will It Be Enough?

November 19, 2021 Erin Yu 0

The COP26 UN Climate Summit that was scheduled from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 ran into overtime and officially ended on Nov. 13 with approximately 200 countries agreeing to an 11-page Glasgow Climate Pact that has been met with both celebration and criticism from around the world. Some of the most highly-praised commitments to come out of the summit were led by ambitious agreements on deforestation, methane, and carbon markets. More than 100 countries, notably the U.S. Brazil, China, and Russia, agreed to end deforestation by 2030. A similar commitment was made for methane emissions with more than 100 countries vowing to cut methane emissions by 30% in the next 10 years. New rules for the carbon market struck a particularly positive note for climate activists internationally. These rules aim to close loopholes in the carbon market by eliminating double counting of carbon emissions and thus keeping countries more strictly […]

International Law

UN Resolution 48/13: A Right To Life, Liberty, Property… and Environment

November 9, 2021 Erin Yu 0

On Oct. 8, 2021, the United Nations Human Rights Council formally recognized a clean and safe environment as a human right in the landmark resolution 48/13. This resolution acknowledges that human wellbeing has been threatened by climate change and encourages countries to protect the environment in order to better uphold the rights of their people. 43 countries voted in favor of the resolution led by Costa Rica, the Maldives, Switzerland, Morocco, and Slovenia. Though resolution 48/13 is more of a symbolic gesture than any direct action, it is accompanied by a substantive second resolution that establishes Special Rapporteurs, independent experts who “report and advise on human rights from a thematic or country-specific perspective,” to examine the effects of climate change on human rights. At a time when environmental concerns and calls for action are rising globally, the passage of these resolutions are certainly not surprising e.  The possibility of such […]

International Law

Honesty is the Best Policy: Greenwashing in Europe

April 21, 2021 Erin Yu 0

“100% organic,” “environmentally conscious,” and “eco-friendly” are some common labels stuck onto a wide range of products today, but just how accurate are these claims? A 2021 study by the International Consumer Protection Enforcement Network examined 500 company websites and reported that 40% presented misleading claims about product sustainability. In recent years, many companies have made false claims about the supposed environmental benefits of their products as a means of attracting consumer interest and increasing sales, a tactic also known as “greenwashing.” While greenwashing has been a marketing staple for years, consumers have begun calling out large companies for their deceptive marketing strategies. Volkswagen found itself at the center of a recent greenwashing scandal when it promoted its use of “clean diesel” but was later exposed for using a special device in its cars to cheat emission tests.  This month, the European Union passed new legislation called the Sustainable Finance […]