Hello Readers

September 1st, 2014

Hello Readers,

We are Gary Jin and Brianna Baily, Managing Editor and Executive Editor of Online Operations. On behalf of the entire online team, we would like to welcome you to the new GIELR Online.

Our team has worked since spring to carry out an ambitious plan that will take the site in a bold new direction. We are proud to finally unveil the results of our efforts.

Beginning tomorrow morning, we will be publishing brand new articles covering the latest domestic and international environmental issues, while offering the same in-depth analysis you have come to expect from the Georgetown International Environmental Law Review.

Welcome to the relaunch,
GIELR Online


President Obama and Methane


President Obama and Methane: Inconsistency or Strategy?

By Sam Lipson, Staff Contributor

On March 28, President Obama proposed a strategy to cut methane emissions from oil and natural gas production, landfills, and cattle. The proposal focuses on the acceleration of biogas development to recapture and reduce methane emissions from its largest sources. President Obama famously pledged to cut the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions 17% below 2005 levels by 2020. Simply put, this methane proposal is only a modest step in that direction. This effort is likely intended to set a tone for future regulation aimed to cripple the boom of natural gas production, rather than make an appreciable impact on current methane emission levels. (more…)

Corporate Espionage … Against Environmentalists

Spy Without Consequences

Corporations Have Been Spying on Environmental Advocacy Groups for Decades, and Rarely Face Any Consequences

By Nayantara Bhushan, Staff Contributor

In 2008, Mother Jones published an article titled Black Ops, Green Groups revealing that major corporations had been spying on Greenpeace and other environmental groups for over a decade. From dumpster diving, to computer hacking, to undercover infiltration of a local chapter’s governing board, a private security company called Becket Brown International (BBI) had been stealing confidential information and selling it to corporations embroiled in environmental controversies. (more…)

Tax Relief for the Polar Vortex?


Tax Relief for the Polar Vortex?

By Benjamin Brookstone, Staff Contributor

As winter draws to a close and the ever-sunny tax season nears, it’s time to assess how we fared in the cold once more. I will remember this winter for the night of January 7th. I was leaving dinner with friends and, unsurprisingly, it was cold when I walked outside. Except this time it was really cold, and the cold had a name: the “polar vortex.” At first, I thought this insidious phenomenon was another invention of the pun-happy Northeast, like “Snowpocalypse” in 2009. Little did I know, the “polar vortex” is real thing. (more…)

A Low Standard of Ambition at TPP Talks: Corporations Oust Environmentalists from the Negotiating Table


A Low Standard of Ambition at TPP Talks: Corporations Oust Environmentalists from the Negotiating Table

By Christine Taverner, Staff Contributor

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a proposed trade agreement currently being negotiated among 12 nations to promote economic trade and development across their borders. Some have said that the TPP, if passed, would be “ambitious” and “comprehensive.” Recent talks ending February 25th have shown that many obstacles to a final agreement remain, including significant gaps on issues such as environment and labor standards and intellectual property protections, as well as political opposition at home. (more…)

Water in the Courtroom! Bringing “Order” to US Domestic Water Conflicts


Water in the Courtroom! Bringing “Order” to US Domestic Water Conflicts

By Jennifer Chau, Staff Contributor

Throughout history, wars have been fought over precious, limited resources including oil, land, and water.  Although water covers 70% of the earth’s surface, it remains a contentious commodity.  While human survival depends on freshwater, the oceans make up about 96.5% of Earth’s water.  Only about 2.5% of all the earth’s water is freshwater, and less than 1% of that amount can be used in a renewable way.  Low water supply coupled with high demand have fueled conflicts in regions where water is scarce, such as the Middle East, with disagreements over rights and use of the Jordan River, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and the Nile River. (more…)

Redefining the Energiewende: New German Government Coalition Issues A Roadmap for the Nation’s Most Ambitious Domestic Energy Reform


Redefining the Energiewende: New German Government Coalition Issues A Roadmap for the Nation’s Most Ambitious Domestic Energy Reform

By Anna Milena Jurca, Staff Contributor

On March 11, 2011, the Japanese nuclear power plant Fukushima Daiichi was damaged by an earthquake and hit by a subsequent tsunami, which initiated a cascade of failures in several of the plant’s nuclear reactors. The catastrophe sparked a global debate, and particularly in Germany, over the safety of nuclear power plants. This discussion led to Germany’s decision to phase out all nuclear power plants by 2022. The simultaneous phase-out of conventional energy and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, collectively known as the Energiewende (energy transition), is Germany’s most ambitious and risky domestic reform ever. (more…)