An Action Agenda for Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States

April 25, 2019 3:30 pm — 5:30 pm
Washington, DC (and webinar)

An ELI 50th Anniversary Seminar

In the fall of 2018, the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Global Change Research Program released new reports that painted a far worse picture of the consequences of climate change than previously projected. While the overall message was dire indeed, one thing is certain: we need to act now.

While a number of technologies and other methods are available to achieve radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, there are numerous legal impediments to implementing these activities at the necessary scale and speed. A new book, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, identifies these impediments and devises numerous ways to surmount them. Best described as a “playbook” for policymakers and lawyers, the book identifies well over 1,000 options-- legal pathways to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. The legal options identified involve federal, state, and local law, as well as private governance. Chapter authors were asked to include all options, even if they do not now seem politically  likely, giving the book not just immediate value, but also value over time. And with 1,000+ recommendations to choose from, policymakers and lawyers can pick the legal tools that work best for their situations.

The book editors, Michael B. Gerrard and John C. Dernbach, and a panel of experts discussed some of the legal options for deep decarbonization in the United States and offered insight as to efforts already underway to put these recommendations into action.

Opening Remarks:
William K. Reilly, Former EPA Administrator
Scott Fulton, President, ELI

Rachel Jean-Baptiste
, Director of Communications & Publications, ELI (moderator)
John C. Dernbach, Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability, Widener University Commonwealth Law School
Michael B. Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Columbia Law School
Kit Kennedy, Senior Director, Climate and Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Peter Lehner, Senior Strategic Advisor and Senior Attorney, Earthjustice
Charles (Chuck) Sensiba, Partner, Troutman Sanders LLP

ELI members will have access to materials/a recording of this session (usually posted w/in 48 hours). If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like this one, go HERE to see the many benefits of membership and how to join.

Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States  Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the US: Summary & Key Recommendations