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News Release

VLS Presents ‘The Future of the Paris Climate Change Agreement After Trump’ with Harold Koh

Monday, February 19, 2018


Harold Koh

––Lawyer and international law scholar Harold Hongju Koh of Yale Law School will present “The Future of the Paris Climate Change Agreement After Trump” during Vermont Law School’s annual Sterry R. Waterman Lecture from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 1, in Chase Community Center at VLS. The lecture is free and open to the public and press, and will be streamed live at

Koh, Sterling Professor of International Law and former dean of Yale Law School, previously served for four years as the Legal Adviser of the Department of State under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He is a leading expert in international law, national security law, and human rights.

Koh’s talk at VLS will examine the future of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. In November 2016, just days before the election of Donald Trump, the Paris Agreement came into force for 191 signatories, including the United States. On June 1, 2017, over visible dissent within his own administration, now-President Trump announced his intent that the United States “withdraw” from the Paris Agreement. But it remains unclear precisely what legal meaning that withdrawal announcement has, given that the earliest the U.S. can legally withdraw under the terms of the Paris Agreement is Nov. 4, 2020, the day after the next U.S. presidential election. In his lecture, Koh asks, “What is the future of the Paris Agreement after Trump? Is it doomed, or in Humphrey Bogart’s words, will we always have Paris?”

Before joining the faculty at Yale, Koh clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun and Judge Malcolm Richard Wilkey of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. He also worked as an attorney in private practice, and served as an attorney-adviser for the Office of Legal Counsel, U.S. Department of Justice. He has testified regularly before Congress, litigated numerous cases involving international law issues in both U.S. and international tribunals, and received numerous honorary degrees and awards for his human rights and international law work. Koh earned a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and his juris doctor (JD) from Harvard Law School.

The Sterry R. Waterman Lecture at Vermont Law School is named in honor of the late senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a former president of the VLS Board of Trustees. For more information about the lecture, email Shannon Leach at or call 802-831-1456.


Vermont Law School, a private, independent institution, is home to the nation’s largest and deepest environmental law program. VLS offers a juris doctor curriculum that emphasizes public service; four master’s degrees—Master of Environmental Law and Policy, Master of Energy Regulation and Law, Master of Food and Agriculture Law and Policy, and Master of Arts in Restorative Justice; and four post-JD degrees —LLM in American Legal Studies (for foreign-trained lawyers), LLM in Energy Law, LLM in Environmental Law, and LLM in Food and Agriculture Law. The school features innovative experiential programs and is home to the Environmental Law Center, South Royalton Legal Clinic, Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic, Energy Clinic, Food and Agriculture Clinic, Center for Applied Human Rights, and Center for Justice Reform. For more information, visit, find us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter and Instagram.