Climate Change Law and Policy

Section 1ZO, Spring 21

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 17/17
Credits: 3

Course Description

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 Trump administration’s attempts to scale back or rescind regulations adopted by the Obama administration; the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement recently negotiated under it (and more recently disowned by President Trump); 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; the evolution of the U.S. energy sector and the emerging role of markets in reducing greenhouse gas emissions; and alternative pathways such as geoengineering and adaptation.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None
Description: None
Final Exam Notes:


Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Students will be required to submit a substantial research paper via EXPO no later than noon on the last day of the exam period.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: None Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: Climate Change: Science, Markets, and Policy (9013)
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: Yes
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*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.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: