Climate change is the most profound social and environmental issue of the 21st century. In a time of broken global temperature records, increasing disasters due to flooding, drought, and sea level rise, emerging U.S. and international law and policy will be key to governing mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
Students wishing to specialize in climate change will learn tools to rapidly decarbonize the economy, such as how to build renewable energy and local food systems, strategies to increase society’s ability to adapt and be more resilient in the face of change critically examine on-going controversies and initiatives at the local, state, regional, national, and international level, and apply existing federal laws, such as the Clean Air Act and NEPA, to address climate change as well as understand limitations and the design of new laws and policies to accelerate exceeding the Paris Agreement goals. Courses include:
- Climate Change Adaptation in Human Systems
- Climate Change and the Law
- Climate Change, Extinction and Adaptation
- Climate Change Mitigation
- Climate Change: The Power of Taxes
- Air Pollution Law and Policy
- New Frontiers in Environmental Policy
- Extinction and Climate Change
- Legal Adaptation to Global Warming
Students in this specialization also have the opportunity to participate in international climate negotiations through the Vermont Law School Observer Delegation, which has participated in UNFCCC Conference of the Party discussions since COP15 in 2010. Faculty with this specialization include Professor Tracy Bach, whose most recent work focuses on climate change, environmental health, and the implications of both for the developing world; Professor Pat Parenteau, who is recognized nationally for his expertise regarding climate change, endangered species and biological diversity, water quality and wetlands, environmental policy and litigation; Professor Hillary Hoffmann , who has focused on climate change as a regulatory driver, both on the public domain and in Indian Country. Jack Tuholske, who teaches Climate Change Mitigation; John Echeverria, who teaches Adaptation to Global Warming; and Melissa Scanlan, who co-founded with Gus Speth and directs the New Economy Law Center.