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The Pope’s Environmental Economics

Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home includes a section about the economics of carbon mitigation. Although a small part of the encyclical—one paragraph out of 246—the pope’s economic prescription received extensive coverage from top newspapers...

Towards an Integrated Approach to Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change Adaptation

By Michael Burger Recently I traveled to Vientiane, Laos, to give a presentation at the National Workshop on Disaster and Climate Change Law. The workshop, convened by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the International Federation of Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Disaster...

Model Protocols for Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on the Built Environment under NEPA and State Equivalents

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law is releasing a set of model protocols for assessing the impacts of climate change on the built environment under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state equivalents. The protocols are intended for use in environmental reviews of proposed buildings...

U.S Crackdown on Ivory Trade – Implications for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has proposed an amendment to the African Elephant Rule under section 4(d) of the Endangered Species Act, which would enforce stricter regulations on the United States ivory trade. If finalized, the rule would prohibit sale or offer for sale of ivory and sport-hunted...

New EPA Report: Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action

A new EPA report, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action , estimates the physical and monetary benefits to the U.S. of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The report summarizes results from the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, a peer-reviewed study...

Lawsuit Alleges that U.S. Government Violated Constitutional Rights of America’s Youth by Promoting the Development and Use of Fossil Fuels

By Nikita Perumal and Jessica Wentz A foundational component of sustainable development is the principle of inter-generational equity: that we should meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. On August 12, a group of twenty-one...

Potential Liability of Governments for Failure to Prepare for Climate Change

As governments turn a blind eye to the accumulating risks of climate change, do they expose themselves to potential legal liability? A new working paper by former Sabin Center fellow Jennifer Klein explores three possible legal claims against state and local governments for their failure to prepare for...

Heat in US Prisons and Jails: Corrections and the Challenge of Climate Change

The Sabin Center has published Heat in US Prisons and Jails: Corrections and the Challenge of Climate Change . This groundbreaking paper, written by visiting scholar Daniel Holt, addresses two important but largely neglected questions: How will increased temperatures and heat waves caused by climate...

Climate Change as a Charitable Investment?

Mitigating climate change is going to require unlocking new sources of finance to fund the innovative technologies that will take us to a low-emissions future. Program related investments (PRIs), investments that support charitable activities while also offering the potential return of capital, are one...

Proposed Rules Seek to Cut Methane Emissions at Landfills

By Ethan R. Ware , Partner, Williams Mullen EPA has issued a proposed rule and a supplemental proposal to a July 14, 2015 proposed rule that are designed to achieve additional reductions of landfill gas (LFG) and its components, including methane, by lowering the emissions threshold at which emission...

Litigation Seeking Climate Scientists’ Emails for “Transparency” Has Been Secretly Paid for by the Coal Industry

In March 2015, an Arizona trial court validated the University of Arizona’s denial of massive records requests by Energy & Environment Legal (“E&E Legal”), which sought 13 years of climate scientists’ emails under Arizona open records laws.[1] E&E Legal, formerly named...

PA Climate Impacts Assessment Update

In 2008, the Pennsylvania General Assembly passed the Pennsylvania Climate Change Act (Act 70), [subscribers can access an enhanced version of this Act: lexis.com | Lexis Advance ], which directed the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to conduct a study of the potential impacts...

Federal Agencies Acknowledge the Importance of Preparing Infrastructure for Climate Change But Rarely Act on Climate Projections

Jessica Wentz Associate Director and Postdoctoral Fellow Although it has become more common for agencies in preparing environmental impact statements (EISs) to acknowledge the impacts of climate change on a project and its affected environment, it is still quite rare for agencies to accurately...

EPA Focuses on Methane Leaks as Climate Change Takes Center Stage

In the September 2015 edition of the US EPA’s Compliance Alert, EPA reported that it and state investigations had identified Clean Air Act compliance concerns regarding significant emissions from storage vessels, such as tanks or containers, at onshore oil and natural gas production facilities...

Meeting China’s Climate Goals: An Expert Discussion

The Sabin Center and the Center on Global Energy Policy (CGEP) recently co-hosted a panel discussion on Meeting China’s Climate Goals . The event was convened to discuss how China can shift its economy away from coal-fired power generation, improve energy efficiency, and increase the share of low...

Petition to Philippines Human Rights Commission Seeks Investigation into “Carbon Majors” for Human Rights Violations

Greenpeace Southeast Asia and the Philippine Reconstruction Movement have filed a Petition with the Philippines’ Commission on Human Rights (CHR or Commission) on behalf of 13 organizations and 20 individuals. The Petition makes several allegations and requests. At its core is a claim that 50 of...

Lahore High Court Orders Pakistan to Act on Climate Change

Ashgar Leghari, a farmer from Pakistan, sued the national government for failure to carry out the 2012 National Climate Policy and Framework. The Lahore High Court ruled that “Climate Change is a defining challenge of our time and has led to dramatic alterations in our planet’s climate system...

Designing a Climate Change Displacement Coordination Facility: Key Issues for COP 21

Since the first draft negotiating text was released last spring, the inclusion of a “climate change displacement coordination facility” in the anticipated Paris agreement has been on the table. Recently, in the wake of the migrant crisis in the Middle East and Europe, the prospect has gained...

Climate Scientist Threatened with Investigation by Member of Congress for Purported “Partisan Political Activity”

By Lauren Kurtz A climate scientist who was the lead signatory on a letter to President Obama, supporting a proposed RICO investigation of some corporate opponents to action on climate change, has himself been threatened with a Congressional investigation by Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX). Rep. Smith –...

Social Dynamics and Climate Change

Last month, the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne hosted an official COP21 side event: Social Dynamics and Climate Change . The conference was commissioned by the French government to provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the social and institutional changes that will be needed to...

New York State Attorney General Subpoenas Exxon Mobil

On November 4, the New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman subpoenaed Exxon Mobil for extensive records, as part of an investigation to determine whether the company lied to the public or investors about the risks of climate change. According to the New York Times , “people with knowledge...

Peabody Energy Agrees to Update SEC Filings to Acknowledge Financial Risks of Climate Change Policies

By Jessica Wentz Associate Director and Fellow On November 8, Peabody Energy Corporation, the world’s largest publicly-traded coal company, reached a settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office (“NYAG”) in which it agreed to revise its financial disclosures to...