​​​​​​We know that improving the environment requires changing the way we run our businesses, use our resources, and act as citizens. But how do we actually make that change occur? One lever for change has been taxation and at Vermont Law School, students learn how to utilize that tool to produce change in society.

Taxes can send strong messages. Whether we want to discourage a harmful behavior or encourage green choices, taxes on pollution can help businesses, organizations, and individuals think about the cost of social harms—and encourage them to act in ways that help society. For example, the U.S. federal government imposed a significant excise tax on ozone-depleting chemicals when it wanted to phase out those chemicals, and Canada’s British Columbia has placed a substantial tax on carbon emissions. The government can also offer tax benefits, such as the federal tax credit to individuals who reduce carbon emissions by purchasing an electric vehicle.

Environmental taxation is an intriguingly complex subject, and requires an understanding of both the desired outcome and the way that a tax can be proposed, administered, and evaluated. Since nearly all types of tax systems and levels of government can implement environmental tax policies, and because environmental tax policy can complement environmental regulation, the subject of environmental tax policy requires a sophisticated understanding of both taxation and the environment.

At Vermont Law School, students learn to navigate these fascinating waters. Here you learn to understand the reach and limits of tax systems and the environmental goals in need of support. Students contribute directly to the ongoing public policy debate through the Institute for Environmental Tax Policy. Directed by Professor Janet Milne, the institute’s real world research considers constitutional questions raised by environmental taxation, the design of sound tax programs, the application of environmental taxation to specific issues—such as climate change, water pollution and land conservation, the merits of carbon taxes versus carbon trading programs, the impact of WTO trade rules on tax measures, and much more.

 

 

Agriculture & Food Systems | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/agriculture-food-systemsAgriculture & Food Systems | Vermont LawFood is a basic necessity of human life and a unique vehicle for change, as it is intimately tied to human health, the environment, poverty, immigration, animal welfare, law, politics, and culture, on every step of its journey from farm to plate.
Business Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/business-lawBusiness Law | Vermont LawA targeted suite of classes for students who want to specialize in business. Courses in corporations, securities, bankruptcy, nonprofit management, and even white collar crime are all available, as well as dispute resolution courses and clinic.
China & Southeast Asia | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/china-and-southeast-asiaChina & Southeast Asia | Vermont LawAs the challenges posed by climate change grow in urgency, the power that massive developing countries like China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar can leverage to effect change cannot be overstated.
Criminal Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/criminal-lawCriminal Law | Vermont LawThe certificate in criminal law provides broad-based, comprehensive training and skills needed by students to become prosecutors, defenders, or to practice criminal law in a private firm setting.
Dispute Resolution | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/dispute-resolutionDispute Resolution | Vermont LawIn an increasingly complex world, dispute resolution offers a way to find solutions that allow all parties to move forward without entering a courtroom.
Energy Law Specializationhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/energy-lawEnergy Law SpecializationVermont Law School courses and clinics consider the relationship between energy and the environment in the context of its legal, scientific, commercial and human implications.
Environmental Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/environmental-lawEnvironmental Law | Vermont LawVermont Law School offers a multidisciplinary array of environmental courses in law, policy, science, economics, and ethics to students studying for any one of our degrees or certificates.
General Practice | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/general-practiceGeneral Practice | Vermont Law
International & Comparative Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/international-comparative-lawInternational & Comparative Law | Vermont LawPrepares students for careers with international organizations, NGOs, law firms, multinational enterprises, and government agencies. We offer study experiences that broaden knowledge and skills, add new perspective, and open opportunities.
Land Use Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/land-use-lawLand Use Law | Vermont LawIncluding smart growth principles, ecological planning, affordable housing, flood hazard mitigation, energy and land use regulatory decision-making, permitting processes, and land conservation strategies.
Legal Writing | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/legal-writingLegal Writing | Vermont Law
Sports Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/sports-lawSports Law | Vermont Law
Tax Law and Policy | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/tax-law-and-policyTax Law and Policy | Vermont LawWe know that improving the environment requires changing the way we run our businesses, use our resources, and act as citizens. But how do we actually make that change occur?
Technology & Legal Innovation | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/technology-legal-innovationTechnology & Legal Innovation | Vermont LawDigital technologies create a wealth of new possibilities around how we define, deliver, and teach law. What does government become as legislation and regulation open to digital means of access and participation?
Water Resources Law | Vermont Lawhttp://www.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/water-resources-lawWater Resources Law | Vermont LawLearn about local, national, and global efforts to secure water supplies through research, education, and policy development. Focus on water law, environmental justice, and policy initiatives to further wise, judicious use of water as a public resource.

​"The higher the tax, the more aggressive a signal the government is going to send about the need to lower carbon emissions." ​

Janet E. Milne, professor of law and director of the Institute for Environmental Tax Policy at Vermont Law School, speaking to the International Herald Tribune about Norway's 2012 decision to double the carbon tax rate for offshore gas and oil production.