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Environmental Law II: Private Environmental Governance

Introduction to the roles that private organizations, including nongovernmental organizations, corporations, lenders, investors, and others are playing in reducing pollution and managing natural resources. These roles include private standard-setting, implementation, enforcement, and adjudication. Private environmental governance initiatives utilize many regulatory instruments that parallel the instruments used by public environmental governance, such as regulatory standards, market mechanisms and information disclosure requirements. Private initiatives also play an important role in the subject matter areas addressed by public environmental laws and policies, including toxic chemicals, greenhouse gas emissions, forest and fisheries management, environmental assessments for development projects, land conservation, and the role of environmental issues in commercial transactions. Private environmental governance initiatives also are widespread: Roughly 15% of all temperate forests and 10% of all fish caught for human consumption are subject to private standards, and most major law firms report that they are engaged in negotiating and litigating over the environmental aspects of commercial transactions. The course examines the theoretical foundation for private environmental governance, reviews the leading types of private initiatives, and includes hands-on experiences to prepare students to participate in this emerging field. [2]