The Amazon is burning – is Paris too?

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Professor Myanna Dellinger interviews law professor and Brazilian attorney Dr. Carolina Arlota of the University of Oklahoma College of Law, who compares climate change action in Brazil to that in the United States. Among other things, she promotes the view that litigation may help advance the agenda even if positive outcomes are not achieved at the judicial scale because of, among other things, the “poltical question doctrine.” Professor Arlota also discusses the Brazilian Constitution, which promotes environmental protection.

This interview is based on Dr. Arlota’s article "The Amazon Is Burning—Is Paris, Too? A Comparative Analysis Between The United States And Brazil Based On The Paris Agreement On Climate Change" published in the Georgetown Journal of International Law, Vol. 52, 2020.

The findings demonstrate that, given the silence of the U.S. Constitution on environmental matters and the decades-long congressional inertia on climate issues, an effective way to update the U.S. constitutional text will be through judicial review. As the comparative analysis unveiled in this article shows, standing is a major barrier to judicial review on climate change claims. Accordingly, this article includes a recommendation for the flexibilization of the traditional standing requirements for the United States to achieve effective environmental protection and related mitigation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

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