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News Release

Vermont Journal of Environmental Law Hosts 2020 Annual Symposium

Friday, October 9, 2020


The theme of this year's event is “Don’t Be a Fossil Fool: Transitioning to, Living in, and Protecting a Decarbonized World.”

Promotional banner for VJEL symposium

Vermont Law School’s student-run Vermont Journal of Environmental Law (VJEL) will hold its 2020 annual symposium on October 16. Entitled “Don’t Be a Fossil Fool: Transitioning to, Living in, and Protecting a Decarbonized World,” the free virtual event will be livestreamed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

As energy consumption continues to degrade the planet, the next decade will be critical in society’s transition to a decarbonized world. The symposium will foster a proactive discussion around the value of transitioning to clean energy.

Four panels of invited experts will cover topics including energy justice, climate goals, nature-based solutions, and protecting the grid. Raphael Heffron, a professor of global energy law and sustainability at the University of Dundee in Scotland, will deliver the keynote address. With work combining energy law, policy, and economics, Heffron is one of the most-cited scholars in his field worldwide.

"We are honored to have Professor Heffron as this year's keynote speaker,” said symposium co-editor Antonia Douglas JD/MERL’21. “He is an expert in how to achieve a just transition to a low-carbon economy. He is able to show just how interdisciplinary the road to decarbonization is, and will shine some inspiration on the topic for our viewers."

“With such an incredibly diverse group of panelists, we’re expecting a lively discussion about how achieving a decarbonized world benefits all of us,” says Austin Scarborough JD'21, symposium co-editor of VJEL. “We encourage everyone in the community to attend.”

The event will be livestreamed at Attendees are encouraged to register beforehand via Eventbrite; those who do will be eligible to receive a range of prizes.

Panels Include:

Panel 1: Clean-Energy Justice
Moderator: Vermont Law School Professor Mark Latham

Joel Eisen, Professor of Law, University of Richmond
Shalanda H. Baker, Professor of Law, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University
Meg Sheehan, public interest environmental lawyer
Rebekah Hinojosa, artist and organizer; Texas Gulf Coast Campaign Representative, Sierra Club

Panel 2: Climate Goals
Moderator: Vermont Law School Professor Kevin Jones

Ivy Main, lawyer, policy consultant, and writer
Dr. Nancy Ryan, consultant, regulator, environmental advocate, and academic
Mollie D'Agostino, Policy Director, 3 Revolutions Future Mobility Program, UC Davis
Nate Hausman, Project Director, Clean Energy States Alliance

Panel 3: Nature-Based Solutions
Moderator: Vermont Law School Professor Sarah Reiter JD'13

Jennifer Tabola, Deputy Managing Director, Global Tackling Climate Change Team, The Nature Conservancy
Ronny Jumeau, Ambassador for Climate Change and Small Island Developing State Issues, Republic of Seychelles
Read Porter, Senior Staff Attorney, Marine Affairs Institute
Dr. Pushpam Kumar, Chief Environmental Economist and Senior Economic Advisor, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Panel 4: Protecting Our Grid
Moderator: Vermont Law School Professor Mark James LLM'16

Sarah Hofmann, Vermont Public Utility Commission
Richard S. Mroz, Managing Director, Resolute Strategies, LLC; Director, Archer Public Affairs
Andy Bochman, Senior Cyber & Energy Security Strategist, Idaho National Laboratory
Dr. Ranjit Gadh, Professor and Founding Director of the Smart Grid Energy Research Center, UCLA