Join us, March 10 and 11, 2017, for a conference that explores the legal challenges for climate change advocacy, alternative policy approaches, and the stumbling blocks for existing and proposed legal theories.
Climate change is the most pressing environmental and human rights issue of our time. Yet, actual lawmaking in this arena has been slow to occur. Without comprehensive climate change legislation, efforts in the United States have largely focused on regulatory solutions under the Clean Air Act.
The Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan is the most recent attempt at a wide-reaching regulatory framework to address climate change drivers in the US. However, the Clean Power Plan faces many challenges, especially in light of the recent presidential transition. Advocates are grasping for other legal theories, including drawing upon the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and developing new theories like Atmospheric Trust Litigation. At the same time, challengers oppose increasing federal regulation. The international framework for legal and policy action is even more diffuse, but new creative ideas are being developed.
In the spirit of the Baldy Center for Law & Social Policy, this conference brings together noted experts to think collectively about how law and policy can help society address the changing climate and the justice issues the changes raise. Articles from this conference will be published later in 2017 by the Buffalo Environmental Law Journal.
We invite you to register for the conference using the link,
below. All interested parties are welcome to attend. Questions
regarding online registration can be directed to
(The conference schedule is subject to change.)
FRIDAY, MARCH 10
4:00 pm, PANEL DISCUSSION
Buffalo at the Crossroads: Advocating for Climate Justice in a Cold City
A panel of local experts moderated by Sam Magavern, Adjunct Law Professor and Co-Director, Partnership for the Public Good.
5:30 to 6:30 pm, RECEPTION AND DISCUSSION
SATURDAY, MARCH 11
8:30 – 9:00 am, Registration with Continental Breakfast Available
9:00 – 9:15 am, Welcome and Introductory Remarks
9:15 – 10:45 am, SESSION 1: Inclusivity, Equality,
and Environmental Integrity
Moderated by Errol Meidinger
10:45 – 11:00 am, Break
11:00 am – 1:00 pm, SESSION 2: Energy, Trade
Security and U.S. Policy
Moderated by Amit Goyal
1:00 – 2:00 pm, Lunch
2:00 – 4:30 pm, SESSION 3: Ecosystems and
Moderated by Margaret A. Shannon
4:30 – 5:30 pm, CONCLUDING DISCUSSION (with all
moderators and presenters)
The Potential of Academic Research and Reflection for the Future of Climate Change and Justice
Professor, Chapman University, Dale E. Fowler School of
Bio: Professor Badrinarayana comes to Chapman from Pace Law School, where she completed her Doctorate in Juridical Studies in Environmental Law. Professor Badrinarayana researched for Professor Frank P. Grad at Columbia Law School on environmental and public health laws. Between 2005 and 2006, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Global Legal Studies, Columbia Law School. Professor Badrinarayana is also a consultant to the United Nations Global Compact, on issues of corporate voluntarism and regulations. Before coming to the United States, Professor Badrinarayana was a Research Officer for a Government of India-World Bank Environmental Capacity-Building Project, at the National Law School of India University. In addition to research and advocacy, she also trained government officials and legal professionals in environmental law. Professor Badrinarayana was part of a team that advised the Government of India on its new legislation to manage biomedical waste. Professor Badrinarayana holds an LL.M. in Environmental Law from Pace Law School and a B.A.LL.B. (Hons) from the National Law School of India University. She is also a Member of the World Conservation Union, Committee on Environmental Law and serves as Chair of the AALS Section on Law and South Asian Studies and as an Executive Committee member of the AALS Section on Environmental Law.
Title: Can potential shifts in U.S. trade policy
indirectly benefit climate mitigation efforts?
Abstract: The Trump administration has signaled significant shifts in several U.S. foreign policies, including on trade liberalization and climate change mitigation efforts. The probability of U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, in combination with changes U.S. domestic environmental law and policy has created significant concerns about the future of climate change mitigation efforts. However, there is also potential promise of new U.S. trade policy, particularly efforts to promote domestic production, to indirectly promote climate mitigation. This talk discusses the potential for successfully pursuing protectionist trade measures within existing trade law, notably the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, and the probable impact on climate change mitigation efforts.
Associate Dean for Faculty; Professor of Law, Michael E. Moritz
College of Law, The Ohio State University
Bio: Professor Cinnamon Piñon Carlarne is a leading expert in environmental law and climate change law and policy. Prior to joining the Moritz faculty, she was an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law. From 2006-08, Professor Carlarne was the Harold Woods Research Fellow in Environmental Law at Wadham College, Oxford, where she was a member of the law faculty and the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies. She previously taught at the University of Cincinnati Center for Environmental Studies. Prior to that, she was an associate attorney in the Energy, Land Use, and Environment section at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in Washington, D.C. Professor Carlarne’s scholarship focuses on the evolution of system of domestic and international environmental governance and includes a book on comparative climate change law and policy with Oxford University Press; a series of journal articles and book chapters exploring questions of domestic and international environmental law; and a forthcoming textbook on seas, society, and human well-being. She is on the editorial board for the Climate Law journal (IOS Press) and the newly established Transnational Environmental Law journal, launched by Cambridge University Press in 2012. Carlarne earned her law degree from the University of California at Berkeley. She also holds a B.C.L. and a master’s degree in environmental change and management from the University of Oxford.
Title: The Promise and Perils of Inclusivity: What the
Paris Agreement Means for Environmental Integrity & Energy
Abstract: The 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement abandons the preexisting paradigm that envisioned the world as split into two categories of actors with vastly different global obligations. Instead, the Paris Agreement shapes a new approach to climate change that is premised on inclusiveness and voluntarily cooperation. The Paris Agreement’s embrace of global cooperation envisions a world where it is easier for more States to experiment and be more ambitious in their individual and collective efforts to address climate change. At its core, this vision centers on a cooperative, worldwide effort to peak and then dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Paris Agreement offers the greatest signal yet that the global community is committed to transitioning to a more sustainable future.
The level of inclusivity in emissions reductions commitments and emissions reduction cooperative mitigation strategies envisioned by the Paris Agreement is unprecedented and is likely to change the way we think about global climate change cooperation. The hope, presumably, is that inclusivity will facilitate both a more effective shift towards a sustainable low-carbon future and a more equitable framework within which these efforts can occur. Focusing on the relationship between the voluntary mitigation commitments and the cooperative mitigation mechanisms created by the Paris Agreement, this talk explores the challenges associated with using this new, inclusive model to achieve both a safe and equitable future.
Professor of Law, Vice Dean for Advocacy and Experiential
Education; Director, Clinical Legal Education; Director,
Advocacy Institute; Director, Environmental and Natural
Resources Law Program; Director, Environmental Law and Policy
Clinic and Animal Law Pro Bono Clinic; University at Buffalo
School of Law
Bio: Professor Kim Diana Connolly’s areas of scholarly interest include natural resources and environmental law, particularly wetlands law and policy and other Clean Water Act matters. Her scholarly works have appeared in Environmental Law Reporter, Georgetown International Environmental Law Review, Catholic University Law Review, Wyoming Law Journal, Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, Vermont Journal of Environmental Law and Southeastern Environmental Law Journal. Connolly co-edited the book ABA Wetlands Law and Policy: Understanding Section 404 (American Bar Association, 2005) and has had chapters about wetlands law in other books. She is currently editing a book on wetlands law entitled Beyond Jurisdiction: Essential Wetlands Law and Policy Questions for Our Time and co-editing a book entitled The Big Thaw: Policy, Governance and Climate Change in the Circumpolar North. Professor Connolly is the Director for the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at UB School of Law and also runs the national environmental clinicians listserv. She also directs the Environmental Advocacy Clinic, in addition to the Animal Law Pro Bono Clinic that she founded. Before joining the law faculty at the University at Buffalo School of Law, Connolly taught at the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she was associated faculty at the School of the Environment. Prior to her teaching career, she practiced law with a number of Washington, D.C., law firms, most recently Hunton and Williams. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center and her LL.M. with highest honors from George Washington University Law School. Connolly did her undergraduate work in chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and served as a VISTA volunteer working on water access and waste disposal in low-income communities between college and law school.
Title: A Role for Wetlands Regulation in Climate
Abstract: “Wetlands” are biologically diverse systems that provide vital services to their local communities, and the planet as a whole. As complex biogeochemical systems, wetlands have been susceptible to loss and other negative impacts for many years – and climate change ramps up these threats. Wetlands of some sort are found in every state throughout the United States and in every nation in the world. Although what we include in the definition of “wetlands” may vary, human reliance on wetlands is common throughout the world. All wetlands provide various ecosystem services that are vital to many, and thus wetlands have increasingly been a part of the concept of climate justice that has arisen in recent years. Appropriate regulation – through federal, state, or international means – can help protect wetlands and those who depend on the health of wetlands for their lives and livelihoods. This talk will explore a number of regulatory regimes in terms of climate justice, including the potential climate benefits from the recent so-called U.S. Clean Water Rule (amending the regulations governing which areas comprise “Waters of the United States”) and recent scientific studies and guidance documents issued by the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands that recommend increased wetlands governance by parties to that treaty.
Assistant Professor of Public Administration, West Virginia
Bio: Paolo Davide Farah teaches climate change, trade, energy, and environmental law and policy at West Virginia University, John D. Rockefeller IV School of Policy and Politics, Department of Public Administration, WV. He is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of International Economic Law (IIEL), Georgetown University Law Center, Washington DC. He is the Director of Research of gLAWcal – Global Law Initiatives for Sustainable Development in the United Kingdom and is Principal Investigator for EU Commission research projects in collaboration with Russian, Japanese and Chinese Universities. His most recent book on CHINA’S INFLUENCE ON NON-TRADE CONCERNS IN INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC LAW covering topics like global justice, Climate Change, Sustainable Development and the Protection of Environment, Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, Labour Rights, Public Health, Food and Product Safety, Consumer Protection. As Scientific Director and Program Coordinator, he has been coordinating the Summer Law Institute in China – Executive Education Training Program held in China. He was individually awarded of the Science & Technology Fellowship (STF) Program in China funded by the European Union and the European Commission Delegation to China and Mongolia. He was also EU Commission Marie Curie Fellow at Tsinghua University School of Law, THCEREL – Center for Environmental, Natural Resources & Energy Law in Beijing (China) and at the Department of Philosophy, at the CRAES – Chinese Research Academy on Environmental Sciences in Beijing (China), at Peking University School of Government and at Beijing Normal University, Department of Business and Economics.
Title: Energy Independence through Wider Use of Renewable Energy Sources: A Case Study on Europe and China
Abstract: Energy independence requires the fulfillment of three cumulative conditions: self-sufficiency, effectiveness and energy mix diversification. In the light of this, the proposed paper aims for a thorough investigation of the current challenges faced by both the European Union and China. This includes the analysis of current and planned alternative legal and policy measures to support renewable energy production in Member States on a unified and liberalized European energy market (e.g. feed-in-tariffs, Tradable Green Certificates, various investment subsidies and tax related reliefs). On the other hand the paper will equally focus on the Chinese “struggle” to comply with its long term goals of coal use reduction and replacement with green energy resources (e.g. the problematic area of CDM projects, usage of wind, solar and hydropower, accuracy of statistical information regarding results achieved so far, investments of infrastructure already approved, mandatory grid access etc.).
Higher costs of infrastructure construction as an inevitable part of the shifting process towards renewables require vast amounts of financial support from the government both in Europe and in China. The paper will also include case studies, comparing and evaluating mechanisms used within both the countries providing suggestions regarding improvements also considering the current tendencies of development, together with analyzing the ongoing cooperation related to energy resources and energy utilization.
Assistant Professor, University at Buffalo, School of
Architecture and Planning
Bio: Dr. Zoé Hamstead is an assistant professor of environmental planning at the University of Buffalo. She directs the Community Resilience Lab, which is focused on developing socially equitable, livable and healthy urban communities. Building on interdisciplinary approaches in urban planning, geography, urban ecology and landscape ecology, Zoé’s current work explores the biophysical, social and adaptive dimensions of vulnerability to extreme heat events. She is engaged in the five-year, multi-city Urban Resilience to Extremes (UREx) Project, which integrates social, ecological and technical systems to support urban decision-making in the face of climate change. Her engaged research supports equitable climate adaptation planning approaches through vulnerability mapping in communities including Harlem, New York City. Previous research projects have included the three-year European Urban Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (URBES) Project, which investigated urban ecosystem services and biodiversity, and social-ecological analyses of vacant land. Her work has been funded by the Environmental Protection Agency STAR program and the National Science Foundation IGERT program. Zoé teaches courses in environmental planning and policy, and geographic analysis of environmental problems. Dr. Hamstead holds a Ph.D. in Urban & Public Policy from The New School, a Master’s in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts from St. John’s College.
Title: Integrating ecosystem-based approaches into
collaborative climate action planning
Abstract: As our climate changes, cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to weather-related threats. Surface flooding, storm surges, droughts and extreme heat events list among those events which are becoming more frequent and intense. Extreme heat events – responsible for higher mortality rates than all other natural disasters – are particularly dangerous in urban communities lacking green space and dominated by sealed surfaces which store and trap heat; and among sensitive populations who have difficulty finding relief from heat. Ecosystem-based interventions offer potential solutions to the negative impacts of extreme heat by providing cooling benefits. However, urban ecosystems such as urban forests, wetlands, street trees and built features that facilitate access to these ecosystems are not evenly distributed within cities. In fact, ecosystem-based heat reduction can be nearly non-existent in some of the most vulnerable communities.
City governments have begun to recognize that extreme heat is an increasingly dangerous threat to urban residents. Yet, unlike hazards such as floods and storm surges – which are commonly studied by agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the United States – communities often lack basic knowledge of where extreme heat threats are likely to have the most impact, and who is most likely to be affected. In addition, the fact that risk of injury due to extreme heat (among other threats) is not evenly distributed across social groups is emblematic of deeper structural inequality, embedded in our systems of governance and economy. Not only do communities need vulnerability assessments to identify who is at risk where, but also access to processes of collaborative planning that enable knowledge to translate into interventions. Here, I demonstrate a conceptual framework and application of a heat vulnerability assessment approach in New York City. I describe how cumulative heat risk indicators can be integrated into a spatial assessment approach that can support collaborative planning for investment in urban green infrastructure and other resources that enable communities to cope with extreme heat.
Associate Professor of Law, Albany Law School
Bio: Professor Keith H. Hirokawa joined the faculty at Albany Law School in 2009. He teaches courses involving environmental and natural resources law, land use planning, property law, and jurisprudence. Professor Hirokawa's scholarship explores convergences in ecology, ethics, economics, and law, with particular attention given to local environmental law, ecosystem services policy, watershed management, and environmental impact analysis. His books include GREENING LOCAL GOVERNMENT: LEGAL STRATEGIES FOR PROMOTING SUSTAINABILITY, EFFICIENCY, AND FISCAL SAVINGS (Hirokawa and Salkin, eds. 2012); ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND CONTRASTING IDEAS OF NATURE: A CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH (2014), and RETHINKING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TO MEET THE CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGE (Hirokawa and Owley, eds. 2015). Prior to joining the faculty at Albany Law, Professor Hirokawa was an Associate Professor at Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (presently Texas A&M) and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law. Professor Hirokawa practiced land use and environmental law in Oregon and Washington and was heavily involved with community groups and nonprofit organizations. Professor Hirokawa studied philosophy and law at the University of Connecticut, where he earned his JD and MA degrees. He earned his LLM in Environmental and Natural Resources Law from Lewis & Clark Law School.
Title: Moving Towards Better Climate Governance: Loving Ecosystems Locally
Abstract: Climate governance is driving a new appreciation for the relationship between communities and their ecosystems. My talk will examine the situatedness of local governments and consider the local drivers, opportunities, and vulnerabilities for systemic and productive climate adaptation.
Dean Designate, Penn State Law and School of International
Affairs; Robins Kaplan Professor and Director, Energy Transition
Lab, University of Minnesota Law School
Bio: Professor Hari M. Osofsky is the Dean Designate at Penn State Law and the School of International Affairs and will be joining Pennsylvania State University in July 2017. She is currently the Robins Kaplan Professor of Law; the Faculty Director of the Energy Transition Lab; and the Director of the Joint Degree Program in Law, Science, and Technology at the University of Minnesota Law School. She also is on the faculty of the Conservation Biology Graduate Program, an adjunct professor in the Department of Geography, Environment and Society, and a Fellow with the Institute on the Environment. She received a B.A. and J.D. from Yale University and a Ph.D. in Geography from University of Oregon. Her over fifty publications on energy and climate change have received awards from legal scholars and geographers, and she collaborates with numerous government, business, and non-profit partners on these issues. Her professional leadership roles have included, among others, serving as President of the Association for Law, Property, and Society; chair of the American Association of Law School’s Section on Property; and a member of the Executive Council of the American Society of International Law and the International Law Association’s Committee on the Legal Principles of Climate Change. She also is a member of the Board of Governors of the Society of American Law Teachers, the International Bar Association’s Model Statute on Climate Change Remedies Working Group, and the editorial board of Climate Law.
Title: Possibilities for Bipartisan Progress on Climate
Abstract:The divisive partisan politics receive substantial media attention, especially in the transition to President Trump’s administration. However, bipartisan collaboration on action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and supports adaptation to climate change continues, especially at state and local levels. In addition, networks of leading corporations have made climate change pledges, and litigation is likely to interact with the Trump Administration’s regulatory choices. This talk will explore these avenues for pragmatic progress on climate change.
Bio: Jeffery Ray is a practicing attorney in Florida and has been licensed to practice since 2012. Jeff earned his B.S. at Troy University; his Juris Doctor at Florida A&M University College of Law; his LL.M. in Energy Law at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, with honors; and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Energy Law at the University of Birmingham, England. He also completed a post-graduate program in Human Rights Law at the University of Oxford, England. Mr. Ray has published in areas such as offshore energy and environmental regulation, regulation of shale gas, investment regulations in the energy sector, and in the area of international human rights and humanitarian law. In addition to publishing, Mr. Ray guest lectures and presents his research on energy and environmental law at university level. Mr. Ray’s ongoing research interests involve exploring and analyzing the United States’ regulatory regime on environmental and technological issues of offshore energy production, including his current research that is focused on energy regulation and the historical dominance of fossil fuels in the United States and United Kingdom.
Title: U.S. Regulatory Regimes and Offshore Energy
Abstract: This paper gives a snap shot of current U.S. regulatory regimes that support the existing energy security paradigm in the United States. Particular attention will be given to analyzing offshore energy regulation to determine whether renewable energy is being dominated by regulatory favoring of fossil fuels or if the offshore playing field is currently conducive to the entry of a substantive increase in wind energy production.
Pace University, Elisabeth Haub School of Law; University
Professor on the Environment and Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin
Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law Emeritus;
Center for Environmental Legal Studies
Bio: Professor Nicholas A. Robinson has developed environmental law since 1969, when he was named to the Legal Advisory Committee of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. He has practiced environmental law in law firms for municipalities and as general counsel of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. He drafted New York’s wetlands and wild bird laws and was inaugurated as the first chairman of both the statutory Freshwater Wetlands Appeals Board and Greenway Heritage Conservancy for the Hudson River Valley. He has served as legal advisor and chairman of the Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, engaged in drafting treaties and counseling different countries on the preparation of their environmental laws. He founded Pace’s environmental law programs, edited the proceedings of the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is author of several books and numerous articles. He teaches a number of environmental law courses. Professor Robinson served as James D. Hopkins Professor of Law during the 1991–1993 academic years. On March 2009, the Pace University Board of Trustees conferred the position of University Professor for the Environment on Nicholas A. Robinson for his significant contribution to scholarship in the field of environmental law, both in the USA and abroad.
Title: Climate Justice: Anthropocene Perspectives (via
Abstract: A mosaic pattern of governmental innovation is emerging, from the legal mitigations measures needed to meet Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement, to the adaptations in law and practice needed to build a legal framework to further the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Environmental legal techniques, and innovations in judicial practice energize and extend traditional environmental law, but also redefine concepts of justice. The Anthropocene perspective is leveraging changes in law, in cities, regions and nations. From the “bottom up” this will remake deliberations in the several multinational intergovernmental meetings of States, and in turn remake international environmental law. These trends have implications for all governments, rich or poor alike. New York State’s responses illustrate the opportunities and constraints that all governments face in muddling into new mitigation and adaptation practices.
Ghent University, Faculty of Law, Department of European, Public
and International Law
Bio: In 2014, Anemoon Soete graduated as a Master in Law (magna cum laude) at Ghent University, receiving the prize for best pleader of her graduating year. During her Master, she spent a semester at the University of Auckland and participated in the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. In 2016, she graduated as a Master of Science in European Politics and Policies at KULeuven. Hands on experience as the legal expert and negotiator for legal issues for the Belgian climate team in the period running up to and during the COP21 has provided her with an understanding that we have a long way to go, and legal expertise can help solve some pieces of the climate change puzzle. Anemoon is currently an academic teaching assistant and is preparing a Ph.D. on the public legal status of island states which have become submerged due to climate change effects under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Frank Maes.
Title: Human Security, What’s in a
Abstract: A change in legal perspective is necessary for a solution-based thinking in considering the potential loss of land and population criteria of statehood for low-lying island states in the state of submergence due to climate induced sea-level rise.