Climate Change Law and Policy
This seminar will explore climate change law and policy at the local, state, national and international levels. Arguably the biggest collective action challenge facing humanity today, climate change tests the limits of scientific and technical knowledge, the efficacy of markets, and the capacity of political institutions, including law. The course begins with a brief review of how the climate system works, how it has changed over time, and how it is likely to change in the future. We then discuss the options for dealing with climate change through laws, institutions and markets, the potential of alternative pathways, and the efficacy of various policies over time. Throughout the course, we identify and question the basis for policies from diverse perspectives — scientific, economic, political, and ethical.
Topics covered will include climate change under U.S. law, including the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan and other options under existing federal legislation; the evolution of the U.S. energy sector; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement recently negotiated under it; the potential for greenhouse gas emission reductions under bilateral and multilateral agreements outside the U.N. process; state initiatives, including California’s AB 32 and implementing actions, and local efforts such as climate action plans adopted by Portland, Oregon and New York City; and alternative pathways such as geoengineering and adaptation.
*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.
**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.