Friday, October 23, 2009

Judge David Edward, Former Member of the European Court of Justice, Speaks to Graduate Students

Judge David Edward, a member of the European Court of Justice from 1992-2004, spoke to my "European Union Law & Policy" course this week.

The regular students in the course were joined by a number of LLM program students to learn about the European Union from someone who has been described as "one of the most influential judges ever in the European Court of Justice."

This week's visit to DU was Judge Edward's third visit to the law school. He also made visits in 2005 and 2007. It was, as it has always been, an enormous pleasure to host Judge Edward during his visit to Denver.

I have known Judge Edward for five years, although I first heard him speak in 1999. As an LLM student at the University of Leicester (England) Faculty of Law, I was among a group of students who took a "field" trip to Brussels and Luxembourg. While in Luxembourg, Judge Edward spoke to us.

In 2004, after having discovered Judge Edward had retired from the Court of Justice, I contacted him about meeting in the UK. We were able to set a time and date, and since then we have seen each other numerous occassions. A key aspect of our friendship has been based on the "Judge David Edward Oral History Project" that we have worked together on since 2005.

Judge Edward told me he very much enjoyed meeting all of the DU students, including the graduate students. It was a memorable class for all of us.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

China Becoming Serious About Environmental Challenges According to China Expert Stanley Crossick

The Chinese central government is "well aware" of the environmental challenges it faces and, as a consequence, has begun the process of addressing these challenges, according to Stanley Crossick, a China expert with whom I chatted recently in Brussels.

Mr. Crossick is particularly well positioned to comment about China since he has close and personal contacts with many of the country's most influential leaders and thinkers. Mr. Crossick, a well known and highly respected figure in European Union matters, is also a Senior Fellow at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies. His interest in China dates back some years when he became acquainted with China's then ambassador to the European Union.

In late September, Mr. Crossick was part of a roundtable discussion that took place in Shanghai, China. The discussion focused on China's 60th birthday, which is taking place this fall.

In a paper, which focused on the China-EU strategic relationship, Mr. Crossick called attention to the "conflict between economic development and environmental protection." While the paper, which can be accessed by clicking here, considered a wide range of issues, what it said about environmental issues was of interest to me.

According to Mr. Crossick, the International Strategic Research Centre of the Chinese Communist Party Central Party School, has identified "five major serious social problems the party now faces." One involves the matter of environmental protection and economic development. Mr. Crossick makes the observation that the press in China can play "a valuable role in exposing corruption and non-enforcement of laws, in particular in the consumer/food safety and environmental protection policy areas."

As noted above, Mr. Crossick's paper involves a host of fascinating issues involving the strategic relationship between China and the EU. The paper is well worth the time of anyone interested in China and what the future might hold for this increasingly powerful country.

Moreover, those interested in EU-related matters should be sure to check out Mr. Crossick's blog by clicking here. You will not be disappointed.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Colorado: A Long and Storied History of Natural Resources and Energy Development

This past weekend, during a trip to Aspen, Colorado, I was reminded yet again of the long and storied history involving the state of Colorado and the national resources and energy sectors. The reminder came in two ways.

First, my good friend, former member of the European Court of Justice Judge David Edward (I will write more about Judge Edward later this week) and I visited the Maroon Bells Scenic Area, which is in the White River National Forest and about 10 miles southwest of Aspen, Colorado. While visiting this spectacular part of Colorado, we viewed a solar panel that is obviously used to generate electricity in this remote area that is clearly off the electric grid. Solar-related businesses are finding Colorado an attractive place to locate and build their firms.

The second reminder was a throw back to Colorado's past, which was marked by significant mining activities in the Rocky Mountains. In this regard, Judge Edward and I visited a ghost town called Independence, which is located several miles west of the top of Independence Pass. From 1881-1883 the town was abuzz with activity. During this period, about $190,000 worth of gold was extracted from the mountain. Now, all that is left is a scattering of abandoned buildings as well as the remains of some of the mining operations.

Put another way, within one day we experienced the past and the future in terms of Colorado's involvement with mining and now renewable energy. Since the founding of the state in 1876, Colorado has always drawn innovative and forward-thinking individuals whether they be in mining (largely now in the past) or renewable energy (clearly part of our state's future).

As a graduate program, we recognize the importance of both of these key sectors and offer a wide range of classes in both mining and renewables. Consequently, DU is the place to study in these important fields (I hasten to note that while mining is not as big in Colorado now than it formerly was, there is enormous mining expertise in this state and the law school is fortunate to have many mining law leaders teaching in our program).