Executive Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Research Scholar and Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School
As Executive Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Michael leads a dynamic team that is at the forefront of domestic and international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote climate change adaptation through pollution control, resource management, land use planning and green finance. Past and present projects involve collaborations with local and national environmental groups and government representatives, as well as international organizations such as the United Nations Environment Program, the United Nations Development Program, and the International Red Cross. Michael is a widely published scholar, a frequent speaker at conferences and symposiums, and a regular source for media outlets. He has taught at Columbia Law School, NYU Law School and Roger Williams School of Law, and has lead short courses on climate change and human rights in the Hague and Grand Cayman. He is also a co-founder and member of the Environmental Law Collaborative.
Prior to joining the Sabin Center Michael was an associate professor at Roger Williams University School of Law, where he taught environmental law, administrative law, and law and literature, and was founder and director of the Environmental and Land Use Law Clinical Externship program. He previously taught in the Lawyering Program at New York University School of Law, and served as an attorney in the Environmental Law Division of New York City’s Office of the Corporation Counsel. Michael is a graduate of Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and an articles editor for the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law; and of Brown University, where he graduated magna cum laude and received the Ratcliffe Hicks Prize for highest standing in language and literature. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Creative Writing program at NYU.
Law Review Articles
- Downstream and Upstream Emissions Analysis: The Proper Scope of NEPA Review, 41 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. ___ (co-authored with Jessica Wentz) (forthcoming, Fall 2016/Winter 2017).
- Legal Pathways to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions under Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, 28 Geo. Envtl. L. Rev. 359 (coordinating lead author, with Ann E. Carlson (UCLA), Michael B. Gerrard (Columbia), Jayni Foley Hein (NYU), Jason A. Schwartz (NYU), Keith J. Benes (Columbia/SIPA)) (2016)
- Legal Pathways to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions under Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, 28 Geo. Envtl. L. Rev. ___ (coordinating lead author, with Ann E. Carlson (UCLA), Michael B. Gerrard (Columbia), Jayni Foley Hein (NYU), Jason A. Schwartz (NYU), Keith J. Benes (Columbia) (forthcoming, Spring/Summer 2016).
- Narratives in Conflict: Alaska Natives and Offshore Drilling in the Arctic, 2014 Nordic Envtl. L.J. 77 (invited symposium essay).
- Property Law and American Empire, 35 U. Hawaii L. Rev. (forthcoming 2015) (co-authored with Paul Frymer, Associate Professor, Princeton University).
- The (Re)Federalization of Fracking Regulation, 2013 Mich. St. L. Rev. 1483 (2014).
- Environmental Law/Environmental Literature, 39 Ecology L. Q. 1 (2013).
- Consistency Conflicts and Federalism Choice: Marine Spatial Planning Beyond the Territorial Sea, 41 Env. L. Rep. 10602 (July 2011).
- “It’s Not Easy Being Green”: Local Initiatives, Preemption Problems and the Market Participant Exception, 78 U. Cin. L. Rev. 835 (2010).
- Empowering Local Autonomy and Encouraging Innovation in Climate Change Governance: The Case for a Layered Regime, 39 Env. L. Rep. 11161 (Dec. 2009).
Books and Book Chapters
Climate Change and Public Health Law (Michael Burger and Justin Gundlach, eds., on submission)
Combating Climate Change with Section 115 of the Clean Air Act: Law and Policy Rationales (Michael Burger, ed., Edward Elgar Publishing, forthcoming 2017)
“Research Governance,” co-authored with Justin Gundlach, Climate Law Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Climate Engineering and the Law: Regulation and Liability for Solar Radiation Management and Carbon Dioxide Removal (Michael B. Gerrard and Tracy Hester, eds., forthcoming 2017)
“Sustainable Utopias and Climate Change Apocalypse,” Rethinking Sustainable Development to Meet the Climate Change Challenge,” (Keith Hirokawa and Jessica Owley, eds., Environmental Law Institute (ELI) Press) (2015).
“The Last, Last Frontier,” Environmental Law and Contrasting Ideas of Nature: A Constructivist Approach (Keith Hirokawa, ed., Cambridge University Press) (2014).
“Charlottesville, Other Cities, Restore Their Watersheds,” in Cities and Nature, A Handbook for Renewal (Roger L. Kemp, ed., McFarland & Company, Inc., 2006); originally published as “A Watershed Moment: A New Environmental Movement is Born,” The Next American City, Issue 4, Oct. 2004, at 10
“Sustainable Utopias and Climate Change Apocalypse,” Rethinking Sustainable Development to Meet the Climate Change Challenge,” (Keith Hirokawa and Jessica Owley, eds., forthcoming from Environmental Law Institute (ELI) Press).
- “The Last, Last Frontier,” Environmental Law and Contrasting Ideas of Nature: A Constructivist Approach (Keith Hirokawa, ed., Cambridge University Press) (2014).
Media Interviews and Mentions (2016)
- "Protecting our right to the environment," International Bar Association's Daily News, September 22, 2016
- Law profs issue takedown of decision striking fracking rule, E&E Publishing, August 18, 2016
- Global Climate Spending Focusing on Forest Protection, Climate Central, July 15, 2016
- AAAS Symposium Highlights Steps to Reduce Carbon Dioxide Emissions, AZoCleantech, June 3, 2016
- Law Professor Touts Air Act Power To Craft North American Carbon Program, Inside EPA/Climate, May 26, 2016
- Full D.C. Circuit to Hear Clean Power Plan Argument, Bloomberg BNA, May 16, 2016
- Climate Change Law Remains Undefind Despite Boost From Paris Agreement, Bloomberg BNA, May 11, 2016
- Obama scores triumph with Paris pact, but his environmental agenda faces obstacles at home, Los Angeles Times, April 22, 2016
- Chapel Hill supports Clean Power Plan, The Daily Tar Heel, April 13,2016
- The Kids Who Sued the State Over Climate Change Are Trying to Go Back to Court, The Stranger, April 8, 2016
- Federal reviews must weigh indirect emissions legal experts, E&E Publishing, April 5, 2016
- Cities Speak Up to Save Obama's Clean Power Plan, The Atlantic's City Lab, April 1, 2016
- Clean Power Plan Opponents Turn Ginsburg's Words on EPA, Bloomberg BNA, March 10, 2016
- US youth take climate fight to Oregon courthouse, Climate Home, March 9, 2016
- Here’s How the EPA Can Achieve Paris Climate Goals — Without Involving Congress, ALTERNET, March 4, 2016
- Clean Power Plan Lawsuits Could Shape EPA Authorities, Bloomberg BNA, February 26, 201
- An obscure clause in an old law could help regulate US carbon emissions, WBFO88.7, February 15, 2016
- An obscure clause in an old law could help regulate US carbon emissions, PRI February 13, 2016
- Greens faced with nightmare scenario at the Supreme Court,The Hill, February 13, 2016
- Obama’s Clean Power Plan Now Depends (Even More) On the Next President, The Atlantic's City Lab, February 10, 2016
- Obama Confident in Climate Plan Despite Court Setback, Climate Central, February 10, 2016
- Paris Deal May Give EPA Another Source Of GHG Authority, Law 360, February 8, 201
- The Paris Climate Accord Could Activate A Powerful Part of the Clean Air Act, Living on earth, January 29, 2016
- The EPA's Clean Power Plan Just Won Another Legal Battle, The Atlantic's City Lab, January 22, 2016
- This audacious plan would let Obama enact an economy-wide cap-and-trade system — without Congress, Vox Energy & Environment, January 21, 2016