Symposium Issue

Who Will Pay: The Public & Private Insurance Implications of Climate Change’s Drastic Challenges

The Fall 2015 Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review symposium weighing the impacts of climate disruption upon public and private insurance concerns was held at Boston College Law School in Newton, Massachusetts on Thursday, November 5, 2015. “Who Will Pay: The Public & Private Insurance Implications of Climate Change’s Drastic Challenges” examined how best to allocate or […]

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How Capital Markets Can Help Developing Countries Manage Climate Risk

Abstract: Climate change is exacerbating the frequency and severity of catastrophic weather events around the world. The economic impact of these events on developing countries can be severe, and roll back years of development gains. To help face this growing challenge, the governments of developing countries need improved access to insurance and alternative risk transfer […]

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Incentivizing Municipalities to Adapt to Climate Change: Takings Liability and FEMA Reform as Possible Solutions

Abstract: This Article addresses a central question of climate adaptation in the United States: how can municipalities, which are best positioned to take a lead in climate change adaptation efforts, be incentivized to do so? The Article analyzes and ultimately rejects as doctrinally unmoored and counterproductive one idea that has been suggested by commentators and […]

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Mitigation of Climate Change Risks and Regulation by Insurance: A Feasible Proposal for China

Abstract: Climate change is one of the most fundamental challenges of our time. The extraordinary growth of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in China represents the single greatest obstacle to global climate change efforts in the coming decades. Meanwhile, China suffers from the adverse consequences of climate change. It has been recognized that two factors may […]

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Lessons From U.S. Coastal Wind Pools About Climate Finance and Politics

Abstract: The financial costs of extreme weather are profound, not only in terms of the distress of those immediately affected but also in broader, more long-term macroeconomic and public budgetary effects. This Article focuses on the role that private and public insurance can play, both positively and negatively, on these effects. It also provides one […]

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Climate Change and Federal Crop Insurance

Abstract: The federal crop insurance program is well-positioned today to promote resilient agricultural practices that mitigate the future impact of climate change. In light of climate change risk, this Article examines issues relating to climate change and the federal crop insurance program. Part I of this Article examines the present risk of climate change in […]

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The Government’s Role in Climate Change Insurance

Abstract: There are no robust insurance markets for climate change insurance. While these markets would provide valuable loss-mitigation incentives, at the same time giving financial certainty to individuals and businesses that face staggering future liabilities, existing efforts have produced a fragmented set of private and public products that provide only piecemeal coverage. This Article examines […]

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Applying Life Insurance Principles to Coastal Property Insurance to Incentivize Adaptation to Climate Change

Abstract: Current levels of greenhouse gases will result in significant sea level rise in the future, irrespective of the success of any future mitigation efforts. Paleoclimate and geologic data from past periods of rising sea level show that low lying areas, especially river deltas which are home to half a billion people, will be inundated. […]

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Strategic Land Use Litigation: Pleading Around Municipal Insurance

Abstract: Municipal insurance policies inevitably contain a curious exclusion of coverage for regulatory takings claims. Many courts have interpreted this exclusion broadly, applying it to all land-use litigation. Other courts have interpreted the exclusion narrowly. Both interpretations are problematic. The former is at odds with policy language and the normal rule that insurance policies are […]

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Climate Change Insurance and Disasters: Is the Shenzhen Social Insurance Program a Model for Adaptation?

Abstract: As one of the most disaster-prone nations, China is grappling with creating effective adaptation strategies. In an effort to pool risk, Chinese officials are introducing new climate change insurance products. This Article describes one pilot product introduced in the City of Shenzhen, a global mega-city with a population of approximately fifteen million, and explores […]

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The Intersection of the Takings Clause and Rising Sea Levels: Justice O’Connor’s Concurrence in Palazzolo Could Prevent Climate Change Chaos

Abstract: Takings Clause jurisprudence is in a state of disarray. The Supreme Court of the United States has not eased the difficult task of determining what constitutes an unconstitutional regulatory taking. Although the Supreme Court provided some guidance by articulating a three-prong test for determining what constitutes such a taking, it failed to define each […]

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Challenging the 2013 Rule Implementing Regulations on Oversnow Vehicle Use in Yellowstone National Park

Abstract: In 2013, the National Park Service (“NPS”) promulgated a new rule to regulate the use of snowmobiles and snowcoaches in Yellowstone National Park during the winter months. The innovation and development of such “oversnow” vehicles increased park visitors’ access to Yellowstone’s majestic wonders throughout winter. Unfortunately, because such vehicles emitted noise and air pollution […]

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Resurrecting the Public Trust Doctrine: How Rolling Easements Can Adapt to Sea Level Rise and Preserve the United States Coastline

Abstract: The Atlantic coastline of the United States is experiencing sea level rise at a rate higher than the global average. Antiquated property laws and land use tools are unable to adequately assist state and local governments in managing coastal regions, in light of this threat. Rolling easements—prohibiting hard shoreline armoring and requiring the movement […]

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Water, Water, Everywhere, and Plenty of Drops to Regulate: Why the Newly Published WOTUS Rule Does Not Violate the Commerce Clause

Abstract: On June 29, 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly published a final rule, “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act,” to clearly delineate how the Clean Water Act protects streams and wetlands. The new Waters of the United States rule (“WOTUS […]

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A Wide Berth for FRCP 52: Application of the Clearly Erroneous Standard of Review in the Admiralty Law Context

Abstract: In the Admiralty proceeding Frescati Shipping Co. v. Citgo Asphalt Refining Co., an oil tanker within its final approach of its destination on the Delaware River struck an abandoned ship anchor. The anchor punctured the hull of the ship, allowing 263,000 gallons of crude oil to spill from it. In reviewing the trial court’s […]

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A Fractured Standard: How the Fourth Circuit Granted Expansive Implied Property Rights to Mineral Owners

Abstract: Extraction of natural gas through hydraulic fracturing poses a significant risk of harm to human health and the environment. West Virginia, like many states that lie above vast oil and gas resources, grants expansive implied property rights to owners of subsurface mineral estates. In Whiteman v. Chesapeake, L.L.C., the United States Court of Appeals […]

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