The Journal's editor Don C Smith was invited to teach at the Zhengzhou University School of Law, China in July 2015, in the wake of the Beijing Declaration, the joint agreement on climate change between Presidents Xi Jinping of China and Obama. He says that, as the world faces one of the most vexing issues it has ever confronted, there is simply no substitute for leading countries undertaking 'bridge building' exercises so as to encourage and promote discussions about how to approach climate change in a meaningful and yet realistic way. He also announces the 2014 winner of the Willoughby Prize, Melissa H Loja for her article 'Is the Rule of Capture Countenanced in the South China Sea? The Policy and Practice of China, the Philippines and Vietnam', published in the November 2014 issue of the Journal of Energy & Natural Resources Law, Vol 32, No 4.
The South West of Western Australia has experienced an enormous water resources challenge from a drying climate in recent decades. Increased groundwater extraction has helped meet water demand, but has tested the capacity of groundwater laws to keep extraction within sustainable limits. This article draws from Western Australia's experience to explore an important question facing a number of regions of the world due to climate change: how can groundwater use be maintained within sustainable limits in a drying climate? This article suggests that there is a better chance of achieving this goal with a regulatory framework that covers all significant extraction activities, takes climate change projections into account, has flexible water entitlements and saves some of the groundwater as a 'drought reserve'.
The fragmented development of energy law and regulation on the one hand and environmental law on the other is militating against the adoption of a sustainable energy system in South Africa. This mirrors the absence of a global regime on energy to align with environmental developments at that level, despite the recognition that energy is central to sustainable development. Since 1996, environmental law in South African has been reformed to embed it in sustainable development, yet such reforms have not been in synergy with developments in energy regulation. This paper argues that one of the key strategies required in building a sustainable energy system is to create regulatory synergy between environmental law and energy law. Renewable energy and relevant environmental law should be facilitating the technology transition from unsustainable fossil based energy (that is behind climate change) towards renewable energy.
This article reviews existing Australian petroleum and mining legislation relating to the regulation of unconventional oil and gas; examines some of the recent policy responses in relation to coal seam gas developments in agricultural lands, the use of hydraulic fracturing and their impact on water resources; and identifies some of the reasons why law reform is required.
The concept of 'volume control' has evolved, most notably for climate change. It now needs to be recognised that the EU has devised a new tool that contributes to the achievement of sustainable development.