In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, there is a debate on whether to rebuild the areas that were devastated and continue to be vulnerable. Both New York and New Jersey have announced limited programs to buy out certain homes, but these programs are extremely expensive and can lead to checkerboard patterns. This forum will not advocate any particular approach, but will explore these underlying legal questions:
1. What governmental actions in restricting development or reconstruction in vulnerable areas are “takings” that require compensation? 2. How would the government adopt a policy of managed retreat from the coastlines—through changes in zoning and building codes, restrictions on infrastructure, or other methods? What process would be needed? 3. What is the role of federal flood insurance and private insurance in shaping patterns of development or redevelopment in vulnerable areas? 4. Where has managed retreat been attempted in the past? What is the experience with these attempts, and what procedures were followed?
J. Peter Byrne Professor and Faculty Director, Georgetown Climate Center, Georgetown Law School
Vicki L. Been Boxer Family Professor of Law and Director, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University School of Law
Howard Kunreuther James G. Dinan Professor and Co-Director, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
Anne Siders Associate Director, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
Michael B. Gerrard Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall 435 West 116th Street (at Amsterdam Avenue)
Judge Jack B. Weinstein, United States District Court, Eastern District of New York
Tony deBrum, Minister in Assistance to the President of the Marshall Islands; former Foreign Minister
Dr. Radley Horton, Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University
Michael B. Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Center for Climate Change Law
Video of event:
What is the State of the Art in Preparing for Extreme Weather Events?
Nov. 14, 2012
In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, scientists and policy makers from the United States and Taiwan gathered to discuss how modern cities and countries can and should address future extreme weather events. Available evidence suggests that climate change will cause more frequent and more severe storms in the future. So how will we prepare to adapt to that new future?
Keynote Speeches: SHAW CHEN LIU, Distinguished Research Fellow and Director, Research Center for Environmental Changes, Academia Sinica, Republic of China (Taiwan) and KLAUS JACOB, Special Research Scientist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
Panelists: AMBASSADOR COLLIN BECK, Permanent Representative of Solomon Islands to the United Nations, AMBASSADOR JANINE COYE-FELSON, Deputy Permanent Representative of Belize to the United Nations, PROFESSOR MICHAEL GERRARD, Director, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University, PROFESSOR WILLIAM SOLECKI, and JUSTIN HARRIS, Office of Regional and Bilateral Affairs, US EPA.
Co-sponsored with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in New York and the Academic Council on the United Nations System.
The Future of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
Oct 22, 2012
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) was formed in 2005 by northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states as the nation’s first mandatory cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide. RGGI is now undergoing a comprehensive review. This public meeting featured speakers with a broad range of perspectives on the future of RGGI. Among the questions addressed were: Is RGGI achieving its purposes? Where does RGGI fit in the context of North American efforts to fight climate change? Can and should RGGI be linked with trading programs in California and Canadian provinces? Should RGGI lower the cap on emissions, or include more pollutants or sources? How can emissions leakage be controlled? What has been the environmental and economic impact of RGGI? What is the impact of Governor Chris Christie’s withdrawal of New Jersey in 2011?
Moderator: MICHAEL B. GERRARD, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice; Director, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
Speakers: GAVIN J. DONOHUE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Independent Power Producers of New York; ROSS GOULD, Air & Energy Program Director, Environmental Advocates of New York; JARED SNYDER, Assistant Commissioner for Air Resources, Climate Change and Energy, New York Department of Environmental Conservation; ROBERT N. STAVINS, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; SUSAN F. TIERNEY, Managing Principal, Analysis Group
Sponsored in conjunction with: Earth Institute of Columbia University; Environmental Law Institute; New York State Bar Association, Environmental Law Section; New York City Bar Association, Environmental Law Committee and Energy Committee; New York League of Conservation Voters
This event was made possible thanks to the generous support of the John Gorham Palfrey Memorial Lectureship Fund.
Click here for additional information about the event, and here for a short review of the evening.
Environmental and Energy Stakes of the 2012 Presidential Elections
Sep 11, 2012
Often overlooked in the coverage of the 2012 elections, environmental and energy issues could be among those most affected by the elections’ results. Senior environmental litigators and policy experts will discuss: the key environmental issues at stake in the upcoming elections; the impacts of those issues on the presidential race; and the environmental challenges facing the next administration and Congress.
Moderator: JOHN C. CRUDEN, President, Environmental Law Institute
Speakers: KENNETH BERLIN, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP (retired former head of Environmental and Climate Change Practice Group); MICHAEL B. GERRARD, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School; RAYMOND B. LUDWISZEWSKI, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP; MARK McINTOSH, former Deputy General Counsel, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Policy Director, Jon Huntsman 2012 Presidential Campaign
In conjunction with: Environmental Law Institute; New York City Bar Association
On May 23, 2012, Columbia Law School hosted an all-day conference, Key Environmental Issues in U.S. EPA Region 2. A highlight was the Commissioner Speak panel, pictured.
The conference packed the largest classroom at Columbia Law School with 190 attendees. It was co-sponsored by EPA Region 2; the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources; the New York State Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section; the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Environmental Law Section; the New York City Bar Association’s Committee on Environmental Law; and Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law. This conference has been held every two years starting in 1994; this was its ninth running.
Panels at the conference discussed climate and air pollution, natural gas extraction, contaminated site cleanup and redevelopment, and the cross-cutting issues of civil enforcement, criminal enforcement, and environmental justice. Each panel included high-ranking state and federal regulators.
In picture, from left: Carter Strickland Jr. (JD 1995), Commissioner of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection; Bob Martin, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection; Joseph Martens, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; Professor Michael Gerrard, who chaired the conference; and Pedro Nieves, Chair of the Puerto Rico Environmental Quality Board. Not pictured is Judith Enck, Regional Administrator of EPA Region 2, who was in Albany on business but delivered a keynote address by video link from Albany Law School.
President Nasheed Speaks at Columbia
March 29, 2012
After years as a political prisoner, Mohamed Nasheed was elected President of the Republic of the Maldives in 2008 in the first democratic election in that Indian Ocean nation's history. Trained as a marine scientist, President Nasheed emerged as one of the leading voices of small island nations threatened by sea level rise and climate change. He was forced out of office in February 2012 in what may have been a coup orchestrated by the repressive forces he defeated in 2008.
On March 29, President Nasheed gave an address and answered questions at Columbia University Low Library. A video of this event will be posted soon.
President Nasheed is also the subject of a film, The Island President, which will be opened in New York at Film Forum on March 28, 2012.
Rachel Sapery James Speaks on Sustainability, Land Rights, Women's Rights and Climate Change in Papua New Guinea
March 6, 2012
Forum on the Future of Indian Point
March 1, 2012-Columbia Law School
On Thursday, March 1 from 6:30 - 8:30pm, the Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law hosted a forum on the future of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. The Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is located in Westchester County, New York, thirty miles north of New York City. Its two units opened in 1974 and 1976, and their owners have applied to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for relicensing for 20 years. Whether to relicense the plant has become a matter of considerable public controversy, raising issues of energy, environmental, and economic policy. This program will feature speakers with contrasting views on the fate of the facility and on the underlying policy and legal issues.
Click here for additional information about the event.