Science for Environmental Law



2016 Fall

About This Class

This class: (1) Broadly surveys the science most relevant to environmental law, including i) climate science, ii) air pollution including both atmospheric chemistry and health impacts, iii) toxicology of pesticides, food additives and industrial chemicals, iv) forest and endangered species management, and v) human population and resource use. (2) Discusses how scientific thinking and culture differs from legal thinking and culture. Thus, the course goes beyond summarizing what science currently knows, also asking why science knows what it does, how scientists gather data and draw inferences, and how scientists themselves evaluate the reliability of scientific information. (3) Explores some of the key challenges in effectively using science in legal and policy decision making. The course will develop several different perspectives on this, including i) looking in detail at the science underlying particular legal cases, ii) looking at the challenges inherent in translating science into regulatory standards, and iii) examining the roles of major scientific institutions in supplying advice and analysis to policymakers. Broadly, the student will develop an understanding of the interface of science, law and policy, through the study of several specific case studies. Method of evaluation: Mid-term exam and paper (2000 words) AWR: Yes

Class Code



Environmental Law