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Global Public Law and Climate Change: Evolve or Die

  • July 5, 2022

“The law must be stable but it must not be still.” Roscoe Pound

Introduction

As an outgrowth of the Stockholm Conference that established the United Nations Environmental Program, the Rio Earth Summit (1992), the Paris Agreement (2015) as well as other legal principles or norms discussed below, Global Public Law (GPL) is the progressive application and enforcement of the rule of law to the entire Earth and its biodiversity . In essence, GPL, in the first instance, is based upon the fundamental necessity for an international legal order that ensures the self-preservation of nations and nature in the Anthropocene. In this regard, the English Philosopher Thomas Hobbes declared that self-preservation is the first Law of Nature, stating:

“A Law of Nature (Lex Naturalis) is a precept or general rule, found out by reason, by which a man is forbidden to do that which is destructive of his life or taketh away the means of preserving the same”.

in short, self-preservation is a fundamental instinct and duty of living sapient beings.

For Hobbes, such self-preservation includes not only the individual but the necessity of securing the “means of preserving the same.” As living beings, we are definitely and intimately connected to the natural world – hereafter referred to as nature – ranging from local ecologies to vast global commons necessary for life, as your next breath of air attests. So, the Law of Nature demands that, first and foremost, we preserve life as well as all the ecological means—including the global commons and Earth’s ecologies, that are necessary to support and sustain life on this planet.

The Problem

Global Climate Change Now Threatens Self-Preservation

The current international legal order is failing to protect us from largely human-caused global climate change, thus threatening our self-preservation as individuals, societies, and

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Viewpoint: Farmers should support financial tools to fight climate change

  • July 5, 2022
(William Munoz/Missoula Current)

Montana Sen. Jon Tester, the only active farmer in the senate, identified the problem when he said, “I just came off the worst year ever on my farm. We need to do something on climate change. I think we spent $144 billion this year on disasters, and I don’t think that included crop insurance. So we need to do something on climate too.”

Agricultural producers are on the front lines of climate change and are experiencing the impacts now. Mega droughts, fire, floods, and other extreme weather events cost $145 billion in 2021. And that’s before crop insurance payments are accounted for.

More troubling, the total costs for the last five years – $764.9 billion – is more than a third of the combined costs for the last 42 years, according to data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

One of the tools we can utilize to prevent climate change from becoming significantly worse is to standardize the way large publicly traded companies measure and report their carbon emissions. Those companies can’t manage their climate related financial risks if they don’t estimate and report those emissions.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is proposing a climate-related financial risk disclosure rule that will set a level playing field for all large publicly traded companies. It’s designed to help American businesses, including agricultural businesses, adapt their operations and supply chains to a changing climate. Several agribusiness and food companies have already pledged to reduce their emissions, including Archer Daniels Midland, Tyson Foods, General Mills and Molson Coors.

The proposed rule will help these publicly traded companies keep their promises.

Some advocacy groups and members of Congress have erroneously stated that the SEC rule would require farmers and ranchers to collect large amounts of data and report

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