ELA Newsletter 2021-5

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12 February 2021


Department of Home Affairs – GN 1426 in GG 44048 of 31 December 2020 – Draft One-stop Border Post Policy – for comment



Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 – Directions

  • GN 79 in GG 44140 of 10 February 2021 – Directions on measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 at Sea Ports for Adjusted Alert Level 3
  • Gen Notice 42 in GG 44154 of 12 February 2021 – Directions regarding the reopening of schools and measures to address, prevent and combat the spread of COVID-19 in the National Department of Basic Education, and Provincial Departments of Education, and all schools in the Republic of South Africa


Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002 Declaration – GN R86 in GG 44150 of 11 February 2021 – Declaration of a national state of disaster published in GN 313 in GG 43096 of 15 March 2020 extended to 15 March 2021

International Trade Administration Act 71 of 2002 – GN R80 in GG 44144 of 11 February 2021 – International Trade Administration Commission of South Africa (ITAC) – Automotive Production and Development Programme post 2020: APDP Phase 2 (APDP 2) – commences 1 July 2021

Customs and Excise Act 91 of 1964 – GN R88 in GG 44152 of 12 February 2021 – Amendment of schedule No. 1 (No. 1/1/1660) Coronavirus COVID vaccine


Western Cape

Western Cape Land Use Planning Act 3 of 2014 – PN 9 in PG 8382 of 11 February 2021 – Western Cape Land Use Planning Regulations, 2015 – Proposed Amendment of the Western Cape Provincial Spatial Development Framework, 2014

Western Cape Land Use Planning Act 3 of 2014 – PN 10 in PG 8383 of 11 February 2021 – Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning – Authorisation to deviate from provisions of s 44(2)(b) of the Act

Constitution of the Western Cape First Amendment Bill [B 1-2021] – PN 11 in PG 8384 of 12 February 2021 – together with the memorandum on the objects of the Bill – for comment

Western Cape Museums Ordinance Amendment Bill [B 5-2020] – PN 12 in PG 8385 of 12 February 2021 – together with the memorandum on the objects of the Bill – for comment


Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 – Gen Notice 7 in PG 3135 of 29 January 2021 – Modimolle-Mookgophong Local Municipality – Draft Spatial Development Framework (2021) – for comment

North West

Local Government: Municipal Systems Act 32 of 2000 and Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 – Gen Notice 9 in PG 8176 of 26 January 2021 – Mamusa Local Municipality – Notice of intention to develop Spatial Development Framework (SDF)


Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 – Gen Notice 114 in PG 10 of 27 January 2021 – West Rand District Municipality – Draft Spatial Development Framework (2020) published for comment

 Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013 – Gen Notice 115 in PG 10 of 27 January 2021 – Rand West City Local Municipality – Draft Spatial Development Framework (2018) – for comment

Free State

National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act 57 of 2003 – PN 61 in PG 93 of 12 February 2021 – Notice of intention to declare a protected environment – Upper Wilge Protected Environment – for comment



Global Environmental Trust and Others v Tendele Coal Mining (Pty) Ltd and Others (1105/2019) [2021] ZASCA 13 (9 February 2021)

“Summary: Interdict to stop coal mining – interpretation of statutes – National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA) – environmental authorisation to undertake listed activity under s 24 – whether required by holder of mining right and environmental management programme in terms of the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act 28 of 2002 – no case made out for interdict in founding papers – municipal approval of land use – Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 16 of 2013, KwaZulu-Natal Planning and Development Act 6 of 2008 and Mtubatuba Local Municipality Spatial Planning and Land Use Management By-Law, 2017 – not required by virtue of transitional arrangements – National Environmental Management Waste Act 59 of 2008 – waste management licence not required by reason of transitional provision – non-compliance with the KwaZulu-Natal Heritage Act 4 of 2008 – relocation of ancestral graves – no reasonable apprehension of harm – interdict refused.”

Mineral Sands Resources (Pty) Ltd and Others v Reddell and Others Case No 7595/2017 Western Cape High Court Division – delivered 9 February 2021

“[1] This matter involves exceptions to two special pleas which introduce a novel Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation (SLAPP) defence … Two related mining companies and their directors, are suing three environmental attorneys as well as three community activists for defamation, and damages in the in the sum of R14,25 million, alternatively the publication of apologies. The two mining companies are involved in the exploration and development of major mineral sands projects in South Africa, and are referred to as the Tormin Mineral Sands Project and the Xolobeni Mineral Sands Project. Second plaintiffs are in the employ of the mining companies inter alia as director and executive chairman. The main issue to be determined in this matter are two substantially identical special pleas raised by the defendants in each of the three separate actions. The respective mining companies in each of these three actions are the excipients to the two special pleas.” …
“[67] The right to freedom of expression, robust public debate and the ability to participate in public debates without fear is essential in any democratic society. I am accordingly satisfied that this action matches the DNA of a SLAPP suit. Consequently, the first set of special pleas (the SLAPP suit defence) constitute a valid defence to the action, and the first set of exceptions falls to be dismissed.”

The Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizens and Another v The Kgetlengrivier Local Municipality and Others Case no UM 271/2020 High Court North West Division Mahikeng Delivered 18 December 2020

Sewage spill – structural interdict – if not complied with the Kgetlengrivier Concerned Citizen may take control of the water works and appoint or employ qualified persons to operate the water works


American Lung Association v. EPA, No. 19-1140 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 19, 2021)

“On January 19, 2021, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Affordable Clean Energy Rule (ACE Rule) for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants rested on an erroneous interpretation of the Clean Air Act that barred EPA from considering measures beyond those that apply at and to an individual source. The court therefore vacated and remanded the ACE Rule—which repealed the 2015 Clean Power Plan rule and in its place adopted a replacement rule that relied only on heat-rate improvements at individual plants. In concluding that Section 111 of the Clean Air Act does not limit EPA to identifying a “best system of emission reduction” consisting only of controls “that can be applied at and to a stationary source,” the D.C. Circuit’s majority opinion first concluded that neither the text nor the statutory history, structure, and purpose compelled such a reading. Second, the D.C. Circuit ruled that EPA incorrectly invoked the “major questions doctrine”—which requires a clear statement from Congress when an agency’s regulatory action is of “extraordinary” significance—to support its interpretation of Section 111. The court found that Congress and the courts had long recognized EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants under Section 111, and that the major questions doctrine did not apply to EPA’s identification of the “best system of emission reduction.” The court said Congress knew “both the scope and important of what it was doing” when it gave EPA authority to set standards and that it “cabined the EPA’s authority with concrete and judicially enforceable statutory limitations.” With respect to the significant regulatory consequences of the standards, the D.C. Circuit indicated that the consequences were “a product of the greenhouse gas problem, not of the best-system’s role in the solution,” writing that “any nationwide regulation of [power plants’] greenhouse gas pollution will necessarily affect a broad swath of the Nation’s electricity customers.” The court also rejected EPA’s contention that the major questions doctrine applied because the Clean Power Plan regulated the electric grid and not air pollution. Third, the D.C. Circuit held that the federalism canon—requiring that Congress use “exceedingly clear language” to alter the balance of power between the federal government and the states—did not support an interpretation limiting the best system of emission reduction to measures applied at and to the source. The D.C. Circuit also rejected two arguments by coal companies against the ACE Rule. First, the court found that EPA made and retained the requisite endangerment finding for regulation of carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Second, the court found that EPA “correctly and consistently” interpreted the Clean Air Act to permit both regulation of a source’s hazardous air pollutant emissions under Section 112 and emissions of other pollutants under Section 111(d). The D.C. Circuit also concluded that two petitioners—Texas Public Policy Foundation and Competitive Enterprise Institute—lacked organizational standing to challenge EPA’s authority to promulgate the ACE Rule. Finally, the D.C. Circuit found that amendments to the regulations implementing Section 111(d)—which extended the timeline for compliance—lacked reasoned support. Because EPA’s sole defense for repeal of the Clean Power Plan and replacement with the Affordable Clean Energy Rule was that the interpretation underlying the rule was the only permissible one, the D.C. Circuit vacated the ACE Rule and remanded to EPA. Judge Walker issued a separate opinion dissenting from the majority’s conclusion that EPA had authority to regulate coal-fired power plants under both Section 111 and Section 112. Although he concluded that regulation of coal-fired power plants was foreclosed for this “more mundane reason” and thus concurred in the vacating of the ACE Rule, Judge Walker also wrote that he doubted the validity of the Clean Power Plan—which he characterized as “arguably one of the most consequential rules ever proposed by an administrative agency”—under the major questions doctrine. The court directed that issuance of the mandate be withheld until seven days after disposition of any petition for rehearing or petition for rehearing en banc.” [February 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

WildEarth Guardians v. Bernhardt, No. 17-cv-80 (D. Mont. Feb. 3, 2021)

“The federal district court for the District of Montana found flaws in an updated environmental assessment for a mining plan modification that extended the life of the Spring Creek Mine, a surface coal mine in Montana. In earlier litigation challenging the same mining plan modification, the court found procedural and substantive violations of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). In the instant case, the court agreed with a magistrate judge’s findings that the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM) failed to take a hard look at the impacts of coal transportation, failed to adequately consider the effects of downstream non-greenhouse gas emissions, and failed to quantify costs associated with greenhouse gas emissions even though OSM quantified the mine expansion’s socioeconomic benefits. Like the magistrate judge, the district court rejected claims that OSM improperly segmented its analysis and ignored cumulative impacts of the entire Spring Creek Mine. The court ordered OSM to prepare corrective NEPA analysis and deferred vacatur of mining plan approval for 240 days for preparation of the analysis.” [February 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

WildEarth Guardians v. Mountain Coal Co., No. 1:20-cv-01342 (D. Colo. Jan. 26, 2021)

“A magistrate judge in the federal district court for the District of Colorado recommended that the court grant an underground coal mine operator’s motion to dismiss a Clean Air Act citizen suit that alleged the mine required a Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permit and a Title V operating permit. The magistrate judge concluded that the suit was barred by the statute of limitations.” [February 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Greenpeace East Asia and others v. Ministry of Economic Affairs (Taipei Administrative Court)

“On February 3, 2021, Greenpeace East Asia, the Environmental Jurists Association, and four individual plaintiffs filed suit against Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA), alleging that the agency’s Regulation for Large Power Consumers was not ambitious enough, in violation of the country’s climate laws. MOEA’s Regulation for Large Power Consumers entered into force on January 1, 2020 and requires large consumers to transition 10% of their contracted capacity to renewable energy. Plaintiffs challenge two aspects of the regulations. They argue that the regulations improperly applied only to 10% of contracted capacity, rather than 20% of actual consumption; and that the regulations improperly raised the threshold for who qualifies as a large power consumer to 5,000kWh, exempting 90% of large company consumers. Plaintiffs argue that the defects are in violation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction and Management Act and the Renewable Energy Development Act, which set a 20% renewable energy goal by 2025. Plaintiffs seek a court order for the MOEA to amend the Regulation for Large Power Consumers. According to the plaintiffs, this is the first citizen suit in Taiwan seeking a reduction in carbon emissions.” [February 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

ClientEarth v. European Investment Bank (EU General Court)

“The European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to provide a 60 million euro loan to build a 50 megawatt biomass power plant in Spain in 2018. On August 9, 2018, environmental nongovernmental organization ClientEarth submitted a request to the EIB for internal review of that decision. ClientEarth disputed that the project would contribute to renewable energy objectives because, in part, it overestimated environmental advantages associated with biomass and underestimated logging and forest fire emission risks. On October 30, 2018, EIB rejected the request as inadmissible on the grounds that its financing decision was not an “administrative act” and that the decision was not taken “under environmental law” as defined in the Aarhus Convention and therefore was not subject to internal review. On January 8, 2019, ClientEarth filed suit in the EU General Court alleging this rejection was unlawful.
The EU General Court issued a decision on January 27, 2021, ordering that the EIB must accept ClientEarth’s petition for internal review. The Court found that the financing decision was taken “under environmental law” because all acts of public authorities which may violate environmental law, regardless of whether the institution is formed by environmental law, should be subject to internal review. Here the EIB’s decision was based on an assessment of whether it met renewable energy goals and therefore impacted environmental law. Further, the Court found that the decision was an “administrative act” despite the terms and conditions of the loan not yet being set because it produced definitive legally binding effects on third parties by enabling others to take steps to formalize the loan.” [February 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

ClientEarth v. Secretary of State (UK Court of Appeal)

“On January 30, 2020, ClientEarth filed an action in the High Court challenging the UK government’s decision to approve a natural gas plant, which would be Europe’s largest. The High Court ruled for the defendants on May 22, 2020. The judge determined that the case involved policy questions requiring a balancing of interests, and that other public interests weigh against the UK’s climate goals and for the plant’s approval. ClientEarth appealed.
On January 21, 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision and rejected ClientEarth’s appeal, finding that the government’s approval of the plant was lawful. The Court of Appeal found that the government balanced the adverse effects of the project, including greenhouse gas emissions, with the positive effects, including socioeconomic outcomes and re-use of existing infrastructure, and lawfully concluded that the benefits outweighed the adverse impacts. The Court of Appeal departed from the High Court in reasoning that greenhouse gas emissions are capable of being treated as “a freestanding reason for refusal” by the government. Nevertheless, the Court reasoned that such emissions are not an “automatic and insuperable obstacle” to approval of infrastructure projects, and the decision-maker has discretion over the weight to assign to greenhouse gas emissions in approval decisions.” [February 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]

Greenpeace Netherlands v. State of the Netherlands (The Hague District Court)

“On October 7, 2020, Greenpeace Netherlands filed suit alleging that the Dutch government’s bailout package for airline KLM violated the State’s duty of care to prevent the high risk of dangerous climate change. In a notice of possible legal procedure sent to the Dutch government in advance of the suit, plaintiffs cited the European Convention on Human Rights and the Paris Agreement as establishing that duty of care, and the Dutch Supreme Court’s Urgenda decision as affirming the duty of care. Plaintiffs alleged that by failing to attach binding climate conditions to the 3.4 billion euro bailout package, the government violated human rights. Greenpeace sought a court order either prohibiting the State from providing financial support or conditioning such support on KLM setting a cap on CO2 emissions by the airline.
On December 9, 2020, the Hague District Court judge rejected Greenpeace’s claim on the grounds that the State does not have a legally enforceable obligation to attach climate conditions to the bailout package. The judge reasoned that the executive has a high level of discretion in acting to respond to the coronavirus crisis, and that a judge is limited in such situations to intervening only where a positive legal right has been violated. The judge found no such right here because the Paris Agreement and other international climate treaties do not commit parties to reducing emissions from cross-border aviation. Further, the judge noted that the sustainability conditions that were included in the bailout package were fully in line with the Netherlands’ international climate obligations.” [February 2021 Sabin Center for Climate Change Law Update]



2020 HSRC Bulletin November now available


Conway Declan and Vincent Katharine (Eds.) Climate Risk in Africa: Adaptation and Resilience (Palgrave McMilland 2021 Open Access) [provided by Andrew Gilder ClimateLegal]

Boute A “Environmental Force Majeure: Relief from Fossil Energy Contracts in the Decarbonisation Era” 2021 Journal of Environmental Law https://doi.org/10.1093/jel/eqaa034

Condon M et al “Mandating Disclosure of Climate-Related Financial Risk” (Institute for Policy Integrity, Environmental Defense Fund Report 2021)

“The UNEP Global Climate Litigation Report: 2020 Status Review” (Sabin Centre of Climate Change Law January 2021)

Webb RM, Silverman-Roati K and Gerrard MB “Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement and Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges and Opportunities (Draft Report 2 February 2021)

Gerrard MB “Record-Breaking Wildfires, Hurricanes and Heat Waves: The Year in Climate Change” 2020 NYSBA Journal December

Gerrard M “How Biden Can Put the U.S. on a Path to Carbon-Free Electricity,” 2020 Yale Environment 360 3 December 2020

Yan HF et al “Overfishing and habitat loss drive range contraction of iconic marine fishes to near extinction” 2021 7(7) Science Advances DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb6026

Williams CA, Huan Gu, Tong Jiao “Climate impacts of U.S. forest loss span net warming to net cooling” 2021 7(7) Science Advances DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aax8859

Burlig F et al “Low Energy: Estimating Electric Vehicle Electricity Use (NBER Working Paper Series Working Paper 28451 February 2021)

Henry C, Rockström J and Patel IG (eds) Standing up for a Sustainable World – Voices of Change (Edward Elgar 2020 Open Access)

Blogs, Discussions, Websites, Videos, ETC

South Africa

Climate change and energy

Bizcommunity: “SA needs to cut emissions by 60-75% by 2050 – PwC Net Zero Economy Index” 10 February 2021

Bizcommunity: Novotny P-A, Veeran J, Niven G and Collier K “The legal imperative behind ESG compliance and decarbonisation” 10 February 2021

Local government

Bizcommunity: “NPOs invited to support local food garden projects” 11 February 2021


Webber Wentzel: Correction – Mining update: key new decision 11 February 2021

City Press: Mabasa B and Mabasa K “State must acknowledge rural people’s interests when approving commercial land development” 2 February 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 9 February 2021]


The Presidency: State of the National Address 12 February 2021



Science: Cernansky R “The Great Green Wall could save Africa. But can the massive forestry effort learn from past mistakes? 11 February 2021

Bizcommunity: Mushonga T “Work can be a violent experience for Zimbabwe’s forest rangers” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: Muleya T “Zimbabwe: Elephants On Rampage in Beitbridge” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: “Eritrea: Effort to Control Desert Locust Swarm” 10 February 2021

allAfrica: Sowole E “Nigeria: Ondo Proposes Bill to Regulate Livestock Grazing” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: Zimoyo T “Zimbabwe: Cecil the Lion Comes Alive On TV…Special Treat for Wildlife Fans” 11 February 2021

The Conversation: Bush E et al “Fruit famine is causing elephants to go hungry in Gabon” 8 February 2021

Climate Change and Energy

Bizcommunity: Lu Z and Smith B “Solar panels in Sahara could boost renewable energy but damage the global climate – here’s why” 12 February 2021

Bizommunity: “Revolutionising eco-friendly business travel in the age of Covid-19” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: Chandran R “Africa: ‘Seat At the Table’ – Women’s Land Rights Seen As Key to Climate Fight” 11 February 2021

allAfrica: Goering L “Africa: Adaptation No Longer ‘Cinderella’ of Climate Action – but Barriers Remain” 11 February 2021

Environmental enforcement

allAfrica: Akoni O “Nigeria: Lagos Govt Seals Daleko Rice Market Over Violation of Environmental Law” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: Mupesa C “Zimbabwe: N’anga Arrested With U.S.$2,000 Python Skin” 11 February 2021

Local government

allAfrica: Matsimure J “Zimbabwe: Help in Cleaning Up Urban Settlements – Zanu-PF” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: Ongala M and Kitimo A “Kenya: Water Everywhere in Kilifi, but Not a Drop to Drink” 11 February 2021

allAfrica: Zinyuke R “Zimbabwe: Council Identifies Wetlands Houses for Relocation” 11 February 2021


Lexology: “Mine finance in Africa: production-linked loans, royalties, and streams” 9 February 2021

The Namibian: Shikongo A “ReconAfrica adviser calls oil-drilling concerns ‘stupidity’” 1 February 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 9 February 2021] Read also here

Business Day: North MA, Hoyer L and Hastie WW “Why African countries must invest more in Earth sciences – A search revealed that 70% of research articles about some aspect of Earth science in Africa do not contain a single African author” 13 February 2021

Water, sanitation, oceans, and chemicals

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Farouk M “Egypt’s farmers tap new technology to save water and boost crops” 10 February 2021

allAfrica: Derso B “Ethiopia: Govt Says GERD 2nd Filling Inevitable” 11 February 2021

allAfrica: Abiodun E “Nigeria: Amaechi – Maritime Can’t Spur Growth Without Environment Management” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: “Tunisia: Groundwater Exploitation Rate Hits 126 Percent (Court of Auditors)” 12 February 2021


IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “Africa SDG Report Adds Index on Leaving No One Behind” 8 February 2021

allAfrica: Otsialo M “Kenya: Officials Sound Alarm Over Worsening Drought in Mandera” 12 February 2021

allAfrica: Al-Hashimy R “Africa: UAE Commits to Advancing African Solutions to Shared Global Challenges” 10 February 2021


Biodiversity, protected areas, and culture

Science: Cornwall W “Prozac turns guppies into ‘zombies’” 9 February 2021

Science: Goldberg J “Watch—and hear—the impact human noises have on marine life” 9 February 2021

The Independent: Makoni A “Stop the Illegal Wildlife Trade: Corrupt officers, diplomats and prosecutors – inside Asia’s deadly rhino horn market” 12 February 2021

The Independent: Cockburn H “Fatal attraction: UK’s smallest bat species drawn to wind turbines” 12 February 2021

Climate change and energy

Lexology: “Eight Key Takeaways from the Biden Administration’s Executive Order Detailing Major Domestic and Foreign Policy on Climate Change” 29 January 2021

Lexology: “Failure to Prepare for Climate Change-Induced Extreme Weather: The Next Wave of Legal Exposure?” [USA] 9 February 2021

Lexology: “Net Zero goals and the future of the Energy Charter Treaty” 9 February 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “Climate Adaptation Summit Launches Adaptation Action Agenda 2030” 10 February 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “Stakeholders Assess Proposed EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism” 8 February 2021

Thomas Reuters Foundation: Chandran R “Indigenous people ‘under threat’ from Asia clean energy push” 9 February 2021

Sabin Center Climate Law Blog: Webb R and Silverman-Roati K “Removing Carbon Dioxide Through Ocean Alkalinity Enhancement and Seaweed Cultivation: Legal Challenges and Opportunities 2 February 2021

Sabin Center Climate Law Blog: Danis J and Webb R “Will FERC’s New Chair Bring a New Approach to Natural Gas Pipeline Approvals? 22 January 2021

Sabin Center Climate Law Blog: Aidun H “Local Governments Across the Country File Legal Brief Challenging Clean Cars Rollback 121 January 2021

Lexology: “The “Trial of the Century” – the direction of travel for climate change litigation?” [France] 8 February 2021

New Film on Juliana case: Youth v Gov – more information

Lexology: “Building The Hydrogen Sector Will Require New Laws, Regs” [USA] 5 February 2021

Bizcommunity: Klier D “5 climate trends for 2021” 9 February 2021

The Independent: Dunne D “Solar geoengineering: Could reflecting away the sun’s rays help to tackle global heating?” 11 February 2021

The Independent: Cockburn H “Climate crisis: Why is the Arctic heating up much faster than anywhere else?” 9 February 2021

Environmental enforcement

Lexology: “Environmental Justice Under the Biden Administration” 9 February 2021

Lexology: “Supreme Court to Review Third Circuit’s ‘Disruptive’ NGA Decision on Pipeline’s Power to Acquire Right-of-Way over State Lands” [USA] 9 February 2021

Lexology: “EPA Encourages Voluntary Self-Disclosure of Environmental Violations with Release of Updated Guidance” [USA] 9 February 2021

Lexology: “WA Environmental Protection Act Reform – parts of amending Act proclaimed” [Australia] 10 February 2021

Lexology: “‘Nuisance’ v ‘Continuing nuisance’ – Limitation in environmental claims” [UK] 9 February 2021

Lexology: “DOJ Puts Supplemental Environmental Projects Back on the Negotiating Table” 5 February 2021

Local government

ICLEI: “Climate reporting and action planning can help African cities leapfrog to low-emission, resilient futures” February 2021

ICLEI: “ICLEI Europe takes steps forward in its commitment to justice” 29 January 2021

ICLEI: “U.S. Cities are NOT Vastly Undercounting Emissions: City climate accounting standards are consistent methods that capture emissions most policy-relevant to local governments” 5 February 2021

ICLEI City Talk: “5 Brazilian cities that are leading on climate reporting” 9 February 2021

ICLEI: “European cities sign the Green City Accord” 22 January 2021

IISD ENB: “United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) Policy Councils Meeting 2021”| 8–12 February 2021 | Online


Lexology: “Spotlight: the legal framework and licensing regime for mining in Chile” 10 November 2020

Lexology: “In brief: natural gas production in France” 10 March 2020

Lexology: “Spotlight: the legal framework and licensing regime for mining in Canada” 10 November 2020

Lexology: “Challenge to ERC Calculator — Land Court confirms strict application is not required” [Australia] 8 February 2021

Extractives Baraza: “Colombia to Auction Mining Areas with Potential Copper and Gold” 9 February 2021

Bizcommunity:  Nangoy F and Ungku F “Exclusive: Facing green pressure, Indonesia halts deep-sea mining disposal” 9 February 2021

Water, oceans, waste, and chemicals

Lexology: “U.S. EPA Issues Final Risk Evaluation for 1,4-Dioxane” 5 February 2021

Amnesty International: Powering Change: Principles for Businesses and Governments in the Battery Value Chain” 4 February 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 9 February 2021]

The Guardian: Sabalow R et al “Trump’s California water plan troubled federal biologists. They were sidelined” 13 February 2021


Lexology: “Proposed changes to B.C.’s soil relocation ‎regulations ‎—‎ New testing and notification ‎obligations” [Canada] 9 February 2021

Lexology: “Sustainability Regulatory Horizon: regulation’s role in the race for sustainable change” [EU] 5 February 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “Finland, Iraq to Lead Negotiations on 2021 HLPF Outcome” 8 February 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “UNCTAD Paper Highlights Potential of Trade Policy to Reduce Plastic Pollution” 8 February 2021

IISD SDG Knowledge Hub: “Technical Briefing Reviews Proposed International Tax on 35 Basic Chemicals” 10 February 2021

IISD ENB: UNEA “Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum (GMGSF) | 9–11 February 2021 | Online

The Atlantic: Rosen J “Humanity Is Flushing Away One of Life’s Essential Elements” 8 February 2021

IISD ENB: United Nations Environment Assembly – UNEA | Youth Environment Assembly (YEA) | 12–20 February 2021 | Online

Nature: Vince G “Outstanding reportage from the front lines of geoengineering: In her latest book, Elizabeth Kolbert asks: could some environmental fixes be worse than the problems?” 8 February 2021 – also read the The New York Times

The Independent: Martin A “The sustainable sportswear firm fighting throwaway culture” 11 February 2021

The Independent: Morris M “The government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy undermines its efforts to protect public health” [UK] 10 February 2021

Conferences, Workshops, Study Opportunities


ELA Streaming Club: Uniontown
Date: 25 February 2021
Time: 18:30 – 20:00 SAST
More information

Africa Young Graduates and Scholars Conference – 2021
Abstracts by 23 February 2021
More information

SANBI: 2nd National Indaba on Ecological Infrastructure
Date: 3-4 March 2021 online
Time: Day 1: 09:00-16:00; Day 2: 10:00-15:00
For more information contact Dansile Cindi

IMBEWU’s Environmental Law Update Workshop
Online course: To book, email or call us on 011 214 0660

CBSS Training Courses in Water Governance scheduled for 2021

  • 17 – 19 August 2021, in Pretoria
    • Refresher (for those who attended previous courses): 19 August 2021
    • Early Bird discount applicable until 6 July 2021
    • Registration closes 20 July 2021
    • Only TWO (2) seats still available
  • 7 – 9 September 2021, near Stellenbosch
    • Refresher (for those who attended previous courses): 9 September 2021
    • Early bird payment before 20 July 2021
    • Registration closes 3 August 2021
    • Nine (9) seats still available
  • Mpumalanga, KZN and Eastern Cape: date and venue to be confirmed, depending on interest

You can register here


American Society of International Law Signature Topic initiative on International Climate Change Law: “COVID-19, Climate Change, and International Law” – Professors Nadia Ahmad, Leslie-Anne Duvic-Paoli, and Dan Farber
Date: 16 February 2021
Time: 12:00-13:00 EST
Registration is here
More information

The ICLEI World Congress 2021 – 2022 is now a two-part event
ICLEI’s triennial gathering will now have two opportunities to connect. The first will take place in April 2021 as a virtual event. The second part will be a physical event held in Malmö in the second quarter of 2022, with selected opportunities for virtual engagement. More information here

ICLEI Webinar: LGMA Roadmap Towards COP26
Date: 17 February 2021
More information and registration

University of Houston Law Centre: Constitutionalism, Trade, Social Justice, & Sustainability in the Americas: Lessons from the 2020 Global Pandemic
Dates: 25 February 2021, 11 and 18 March 2021 and 15 and 22 April 2021
Time: 10-11am US CST; 17:00-18:00 Rome
More information

Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Völkerrechtsblog and the Global Pandemic Network: Online symposium on COVID-19 and “New” Human Rights
Inviting contributions that discuss the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the right to a healthy environment and other related ‘new’ human rights, such as the right to water and the right to food. Contributions are due on February 17. For more information, see here

New York Environmental Law Year in Review 2020
Date: Tuesday, 23 February 2021
Time:  8:30–10 AM
Zoom Register here





Venter Z “Judge demands answers over rhino poaching case delays” IOL 10 February 2021

Climate Change and Energy

AmaShabalala M “Zondo ‘troubled’ by Eskom board that mistakenly approved R1.6bn for Gupta company” Timeslive 10 February 2021

“Eskom, Sasol rebuffed, Creecy says as she fights pollution suit” Mining Weekly 2 February 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 9 February 2021]

“#SONA2021: Eskom warns of power shortfall over next 5 years” Bizcommunity 12 February 2021

Burger S “Job initiative to train youths to install solar geysers made from recyclable materials” Engineering News 12 February 2021

Energy: Eskom support for increased self-generation welcomed
“The renewable energy sector, particularly the solar energy industry, has welcomed Eskom CEO André de Ruyter’s backing of an increased generation licence exemption cap that will allow individuals or businesses to build generation facilities of up to 50MW without a permit. However, the SA Photovoltaic Industry Association (Sapvia) believes there must be policy and regulatory action. According to a Cape Argus report, its chief operating officer, Niveshen Govender, said: ‘Sapvia has long been engaged in advocating for the systematic easing of licensing thresholds, to unlock the significant opportunity held by distributed generation. We therefore welcome the support of the state-owned utility for lifting licensing thresholds from 1MW to 50MW in order to accelerate distributed generation by large customers.’ He said Eskom’s support should encourage the Department of Mineral Resources & Energy and the National Energy Regulator of SA to expedite regulatory changes. ‘The deployment of embedded generation capacity will release the pressure on Eskom’s already constrained supply. Simply put, distributed generation provides rapid, clean additional capacity to the grid,’ Govender said. He added that, in addition to creating jobs, distributed generation could encourage localisation and industrialisation, which could potentially be the driving force behind the country’s economic recovery.” Full Cape Argus report (subscription needed) Legalbrief 11 February 2021

Environmental enforcement

Environmental: Groups claim department conflicted over project
“Environmental lobby groups are challenging the approval of the Musina-Makhado Special Economic Zone (MMSEZ) in Limpopo based on a legal argument that the provincial department has a direct interest in the matter and therefore cannot grant environmental approval. Beeld reports that Earthlife Africa, GroundWork and the Environmental Justice Community Network of SA also allege that the environmental impact study was partly plagiarised and full of errors. The Centre for Environmental Rights, acting on behalf of the NGOs, says in a letter of demand to the Limpopo Department of Environmental Affairs that the zone would have a devastating effect on residents and the biodiversity of the Limpopo River. Furthermore, the NGOs are demanding that the matter be referred to the National Department of Environmental Affairs as the Limpopo Government is conflicted. The MMSEZ is partly driven by the provincial government itself. The CER also argues that national approval is necessary as the impact would have multinational implications. Zimbabwe is affected as water would be used from the Limpopo River, the lawyers say. MMEZ spokesperson Shavana Mushwana said the final environmental impact study has been submitted and the Limpopo Department of Environmental Affairs is expected to reach a conclusion soon. Mushwana said the impact study started in 2018 and they maintain that a ‘thorough job’ was done.” Full Beeld report (subscription needed) Legalbrief 11 February 2021

Local government

Human L “Civic farming campaign opposes Philippi Horticultural Area development” GroundUp 12 February 2021

Ngubane N “Protest over stalled road project in Pietermaritzburg” GroundUp 11 February 2021

Luhanga P “Families without water as City of Cape Town contract expires” GroundUp 10 February 2021

Pitt R “Muslim Judicial Council intervenes as mediator in Bo-Kaap food garden dispute” Daily Maverick 12 February 2021


Chamberlain L “SLAPPing back: Court checks corporate bullying” GroundUp 11 February 2021 – also read CER

Arnoldi M “Company partners with Royal Bafokeng Nation on ecosystem restoration beyond mining” Mining Weekly 12 February 2021

Kruger A “SA mining companies’ efforts to be clean and friendly” Moneyweb 2 February 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 9 February 2021]

Steyn L “Tendele coal mine secures peace accord and legal victory” Business Live 11 February 2021

“Coalition condemns MEC’s decision to revoke protected area to allow new coal mine” CER 11 February 2021

Steyn L “SA mining exploration at its lowest level since 2002” Business Live 7 February 2021 – also read IOL

Seccombe A “Junior miners breathe new life into Northern Cape as copper mining restarts” Business Live 7 February 2021

Zuzile M “Motorist killed in freak accident as unrest erupts over Motsepe mine closure” Business Day 13 February 2021

West E “Sibanye commended for climate change action” IOL 12 February 2021

Liedtke S “Leon calls on Ramaphosa to announce key changes for mining, energy sectors” Engineering News 11 February 2021

Mandlana W “The challenges and opportunities in the African mining sector” Bizcommunity 11 February 2021

Water, waste, oceans, and chemicals

“SIU report clears KZN Education Department of any wrongdoing in tanker procurement deal” IOL 10 February 2021

Kgosana R “Homeless crew work hard to prevent Centurion river flooding” The Citizen 6 February 2021 [Legalbrief Environmental 9 February 2021]

Yeld J “Spectacular photos of Augrabies Falls in flood” GroundUp 11 February 2021

Environmental: Panel to advise on estuary mouth breach impact
“Concerns about the impact of last month’s decision to open the St Lucia estuary mouth have led to the appointment of an independent scientific panel tasked, among other things, with developing guidelines for the broader system’s ‘immediate and ongoing management’. A Policy Watch report notes that according to a Department of Environment, Forestry & Fisheries media statement announcing this last week, the St Lucia estuary management plan defines the ‘exceptional circumstances’ in which the mouth may be opened. The statement also alludes to the possibility that the removal of an ‘unnaturally high beach berm’ – allowing the Umfolozi River to ‘fulfil its role as a driver of inlet dynamics’ – may affect ‘interventions’ apparently being made to facilitate the estuarine system’s ‘ecological restoration and effective functioning’.” Full Policy Watch report Legalbrief Environmental 9 February 2021


Charles M “Dear SA in turmoil amid allegations that founder abused donor funds” TimesLive 9 February 2021 [Legalbrief Forensic 11 February 2021]

“Advocate Ntsebeza appointed new judge of African Court” Bizcommunity 12 February 2021


Biodiversity, protected areas, animal rights, and culture

“Madagascar notches World Bank REDD deal” Carbon Pulse 9 February 2021

Walters T “SARS-CoV-2 relatives found in bats and pangolins in Thailand” Daily Maverick 10 February 2021

Cockburn H “Sawfish ‘facing extinction due to overfishing’, scientists warn” The Independent 11 February 2021

Johnson S “Digging in: a million trees planted as villages and schools join climate battle” The Guardian 13 February 2021

Hannam P “Logging increases bush flammability for 30 years, research shows” Sydney Morning Herald  11 February 2021

“14,000 game birds culled in Leven after second bird flu outbreak” BBC 13 February 2021

Libert L “The price of beauty: in City of Love, some say roses harm the planet” Reuters 12 February 2021

“The show must go on, but COVID-19 and animal ban threaten French circuses” Reuters 12 February 2021

West V “Spain’s wolf-hunting ban sparks bitter debate in rural north” Reuters 12 February 2021

Climate change and energy

“Report backs bill to spur new carbon offset projects in South Australia” Carbon Pulse 11 February 2021

Friedman L “Biden’s Climate Task Force Opens for Business, Aiming to Restore ‘Credibility’” New York Times 11 February 2021

Nijhuis C “Germany needs higher CO2 price and new climate adaptation strategy – CSU leader” Clean Energy Wire 11 February 2021

Caroll SG “Parliament passes measures to prevent return of ‘ghost flights’” [EU] EurActiv 11 February 2021

“Public consultation on future EU rules for reducing methane emissions in the energy sector” European Commission 10 February 2021

Harris R and Galloway A “‘New protectionism’: Australia to fight Boris Johnson’s green tariff bid” Sydney Morning Herald 11 February 2021

“Climate policy threat looms large for Australian trade, say researchers” Carbon Pulse 10 February 2021

“UN’s Race to Zero Draws Climate Pledges From a Fifth of FTSE 100” Daily Maverick 12 February 2021

Wehrmann B “Energy transition faces challenge to reconcile resource needs and clean supply chain ambitions” Clean Energy Wire 10 February 2021

Rimrod F and De Kruijff P “WA Liberals vow to shut down coal as $400 million renewable energy jobs plan revealed” WAToday 11 February 2021

China eyes big jump in renewables, eyeing Paris goal” Carbon Pulse 10 February 2021

Taylor KEurope invested a record €26bn in offshore wind in 2020” EurActiv 9 February 2021

Germany set to agree phased introduction of hydrogen transport” Reuters 9 February 2021

Milman O “’Invisible killer’: fossil fuels caused 8.7m deaths globally in 2018, research finds” The Guardian 9 February 2021

Abnett K “EU leaves some room for gas projects in green spending guidelines” Reuters 12 February 2021

Simon F “Polish climate minister: ‘It is critical that EU legislation on hydrogen is colour-blind’” EurActiv 12 February 2021

Rozès Moscovenko L and   Duboua-Lorsch L translated by Eck D “French climate bill under fire” EurActiv 9 February 2021

Stone J “New law will pull veil of secrecy over government environment and climate failures, campaigners warn” [UK] The Independent 11 February 2021

Burger S “First sustainable energy youth summit concludes with call for clean energy” Engineering News 12 February 2021

“Zondo blasts ‘negligent’ former Eskom board over R1.68bn prepayment to Gupta entity” Engineering News 11 February 2021

“Climate change: UK not checking if green taxes work – spending watchdog” BBC 12 February 2021

“U.S. Interior Department to consult with tribal leaders on climate, COVID-19” Reuters 12 February 2021

Environmental enforcement

Giacomelli E “New York environmental rights headed for public vote this year: NNY360 9 February 2021

“Nigerians given green light to sue Shell over oil spills” News24 12 February 2021

Goddard E “‘Great victory for environmentalists’: France to scrap ‘obsolete’ Paris Charles de Gaulle airport expansion” The Independent 12 February 2021

Crisp W “Revealed: no penalties issued under ‘useless’ English farm pollution laws” The Guardian 12 February 2021

Local government

Brown A “Edinburgh aims to become sanctuary for swifts as numbers decline” BBC 13 February 2021


“Cumbria: Plans for UK’s first deep coal mine in 30 years thrown into doubt after local council reconsiders application” Sky News 10 February 2021

Burton M “Rio Tinto pledges better communication with PKKP Aborigine group in Australia” Business Day 5 February 2021

Bulbulia T “GoldStone receives environmental permit for Homase South Pit at AKHM” [Ghana] Mining Weekly 12 February 2021

Stephenson SK “Brazil mining corporation reaches settlement over fatal 2019 dam failure” The Jurist 8 February 2021

“Rare Nasa photos reveal Amazon ‘gold rivers’” BBC 12 February 2021

Water, waste, oceans and chemicals

Retailers aiming to reduce plastic on Scotland’s isles” BBC 12 February 2021

Coca-Cola company trials first paper bottle” BBC 12 February 2021

Johnson K and Wongcha-um P “Mekong River at ‘worrying’ low level amid calls for more Chinese dam data” Reuters 12 February 2021

Wehrmann B “Recycling revolution necessary to complete the clean energy transition” Clean Energy Wire 9 February 2021

Wehrmann B “Energy transition faces challenge to reconcile resource needs and clean supply chain ambitions” Clean Energy Wire 10 February 2021


Abnett K and Strupczewski J “EU lawmakers back green conditions for COVID-19 cash, critics eye fossil fuel loopholes” Reuters 10 February 2021

Vacancies, Bursaries, Funding, Opportunities, etc.


Mine Planning Officer Kathu, Northern Cape
More information

University of the Witwatersrand: Postgraduate Writing Specialist (3-year contract) AC08
More information

Candidate Attorney Cape Town
More information

Nestlé: Legal intern
More information

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: Assistant Director: EPWP Reporting
Closing date: 15 February 2021
More information

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: Biodiversity Officer Production Grade A: Biodiversity Economy
Closing date: 15 February 2021
More information

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: Environmental Officer Production Grade A: Compliance Biodiversity And Conservation X3)
Closing date:15 February 2021
More information

Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: Legal Administration Officer (MR5): Law Reform
Closing date: 15 February 2021
More information

For more vacancies in the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries – click here


Western Resource Advocates: Clean Energy Policy Analyst or Senior Analyst
Closing date: 8 March 2021
More information

Research Associate in Earth and Environmental Sciences University of Queensland School of Earth and Environmental Sciences Australia

Researchers in Water Quality Wageningen University Netherlands

Postdoctoral Researcher in Groundwater Resources University of Oulu Faculty of Technology Finland

Junior Professor of Empirical Social Science Research Methods Free University of Berlin Otto-Suhr-Institute of Political Science Germany

Associate Professor in Law University of Botswana Faculty of Social Sciences Botswana

Assistant/Associate/Full Professor in Law and Society York University Department of Social Science Canada

Associate Senior Lecturer in Law and Sustainability Lund University Faculty of Law Sweden

Associate Senior Lecturer in Law and AI Lund University Faculty of Law Sweden

Research Assistant in Law University of Hong Kong Department of Law Hong Kong

Researcher in Climate Science Stockholm University Sweden

Assistant Professor of Sustainable Agricultural Systems University of Nottingham Department in Agricultural and Environmental Sciences United Kingdom

Associate/Professor in Wildlife Research Kyoto University Japan




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