EarthUHLC logo

Tracy Hester
Climate Change Law
LAW 5397
Spring 2013



LAW 5397

Spring 2013
213 BLB



No. Date Topics Guest Speaker(s) Readings Comments
1. Aug. 26, 2013

Introduction - Orientation and Overview


Climate Science - background


Osofsky and McAllister, Climate Change Law and Policy (2012), pp. 4-25 ("Osofsky")

Climate Outlook Looking Much the Same, or Even Worse, 334 Science 1616 (Dec. 23, 2011)

EPA Greenhouse Gas Emission Mapping System (just explore; we'll use it in class)

2. Aug. 28, 2013 Climate Science - guest discussion on climate science challenges and future directions

Prof. Barry Lefer, University of Houston

Prof. Lefer's PowerPoint

No Need to Panic About Global Warming, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 27, 2012 (opinion article)

Trends in America's Climate and Environmental Attitudes: 2011, ecoAmerica (2011)


NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA Finds 2011 Ninth Warmest Year on Record (Jan. 19, 2012) and temperature animation

Climate Science Legal Defense Fund

3. Sept. 2, 2013

Labor Day - no class



4. Sept. 4, 2013 Climate Science - communication and policy implications  

D. Kahan et al, Cultural Cognition of Scientific Consensus, Journal of Risk Research (2013)

Where did global warming go?, New York Times news analysis, Oct. 16, 2011

Global warmth trends

Class PowerPoint

Background reference material:

J. Schmandt (ed.), The Impact of Global Warming on Texas, chap. 10 (Policy Options) (June 2011)

D. Kahan et al., Geoengineering and the Science Communication Environment: A Cross-Culture Experiment, Cultural Cognition Project Working Paper No. 92 (draft; Jan. 9, 2012)

5. Sept. 9, 2013

Responding to Climate Change - Mitigation


Osofsky 26 to 39

R. Socolow and S. Pacala, A Plan to Keep Carbon in Check, Scientific American at p. 50 (Sept. 2006)

R. Socolow, Wedges Reaffirmed,, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (Sept. 27, 2011)


McKinsey GHG Cost Abatement Curve (see page 8)

McKinsey & Co., Unlocking Energy Efficiency in the U.S. Economy, Executive Summary (July 2009)


6. Sept. 11, 2013 Responding to Climate Change - Mitigation and Adaptation  

Exercise - review of Texas wedge strategies

Osofsky 39-62

Adaptation Powerpoint


Executive Summary of N. Stern, The Economics of Climate Change (2006)

Texas No-Regrets Strategies Report (2010)

J. Williams, et al.
The Technology Path to Deep Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050: The Pivotal Role of Electricity, 335 Science 53 (Jan. 6, 2012)

5. Sept. 16, 2013

Climate engineering and other technology-based proposals


Osofsky 399-428


Climate Engineering Concepts PowerPoint

SPICE Opposition Letter

6. Sept. 18, 2013 Climate engineering - field experimental proposals and application of domestic environmental legal requirements Guest speaker: Prof. David Keith, Harvard University

Readings to be provided by Prof. Keith

Lecture availble by email per request

7. Sept. 23, 2013 U.S. climate change law and policy - statutory initiatives and the Clean Air Act  

Osofsky 117-142

President Obama's Climate Action Executive Order and Climate Action Plan


Final Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule

8. Sept. 25, 2013 U.S. climate change law and policy - Clean Air Act regulations and permitting  

Wold, Climate Change Under Existing Federal Statutes (excerpt on stationary source permitting)

Final Tailoring Rule (read only pp. 31516-522)


Proposed NSPS for new power plants

9. Sept. 30, 2013 U.S. law - Clean Air Act and NEPA  

Wold, Climate Change Under Existing Federal Statutes (chap. 14 excerpt)


10. Oct. 2, 2013 U.S. law - NEPA  

Wold, Climate Change Under Existing Federal Statutes (chap. 14 excerpt on NEPA)


11. Oct. 7, 2013

U.S. law - Endangered Species Act


Wold, Climate Change Under Existing Federal Statutes (chap. 14 excerpt on ESA)



12. Oct. 9, 2013 U.S. law - Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act  

Wold, Climate Change Under Federal Statutes (chap. 14 excerpt on Clean Water Act)

Center for Biological Diversity v. Export-Import Bank, Complaint (N.D. Cal., filed Dec. 13, 2012)



13. Oct. 14, 2013 U.S. law - climate change litigation overview Guest speaker: Matt Paulson, Katten Munchin (Austin)

Matt Paulson's PowerPoint



Letter from Bryan Shaw, TCEQ, and Greg Abbott, Texas Attorney General, to EPA Region 6 Administrator Al Armendariz (Aug. 2, 2010)

U.S. Climate Change Litigation Chart (Columbia Law School)

14. Oct. 16, 2013 Social Cost of Carbon

Guest speakers: David Bookbinder and David Bailey, Element VI Consultants

Readings to be assigned by speakers


15. Oct. 21, 2013

U.S. law - climate change tort liability


American Electric Power v. Connecticut

Comer v. Murphy Oil Co. panel opinion (5th Cir.)

Kivalina v. ExxonMobil





Kivalina Oral Argument in 9th Circuit

Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc. (district court decision on re-filing)

Bonser-Lain v. TCEQ (201st Dist. Ct., Travis Co., filed July 22, 2011)

Bonser-Lain v. TCEQ letter opinion

TCEQ v. Bonser-Lain appellate brief

Alec L v. Jackson Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss by United States

Youth Insist State of Alaska Address Climate Change (Oct. 11, 2013)

16. Oct. 23, 2013 Regional Initiatives -- RGGI, WCI and compacts  

Osofsky 267-295, 301-306


Chart of states with renewable portfolio standards

Rocky Mountain Farmer's Union v. Corey, 9th Cir. (9/18/2013)

17. Oct. 28, 2013

State and local initiatives -- California, NY, Houston

State climate change laws and permitting


Osofsky 306-310, 314-323

H.B. 788 (2013)

Executive Summary of Rules to Implement H.B. 788


Pending Proposed TCEQ Rules to Implement H.B. 788 (2013)

Profile of David Keith, 342 Science 307 (Oct. 18, 2013)

18. Oct. 30, 2013 International law - Montreal Protocol and UNFCCC  

Osofsky 63-80, 98-102

Excerpts from Louis Henkin, Foreign Affairs and the United States Constitution (1998)


Full text of U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change

19. Nov. 4, 2013 International law - Kyoto Protocol, Cancun Agreements, Durban Accords, Doha Framework and Warsaw COP  

Osofsky 80-98, 103-112

Full text of Kyoto Protocol (skim)

U.S. Pushes to Cut Emissions of Some Pollutants That Hasten Climate Change, The New York Times, Feb. 15, 2012


Powerpoint on Introduction to Kyoto Protocol

R. Kerr, A Quick (Partial) Fix For An Ailing Atmosphere, 335 Science 156 (Jan. 13, 2012) and study

United Nations, The Future We Want, Jan. 10, 2012 (planning document for Rio+20 conference)

Decisions from 2012 Conference of Parties at Doha, Qata

20. Nov. 6, 2013

International law - Impact of Kyoto Protocol and international climate change conventions on U.S. citizens and companies


D. Goldberg, The Impact of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. Business (2007) (excerpts)

D. Bodansky, Implications for U.S. Companies of Kyoto's Entry into Force Without the United States (2002)



21. Nov. 11, 2013 International law - international human rights and climate change law; lawsuits before international courts and agencies  

Osofsky 112-115

Wold -- read pp. 11-36

Compliance and Dispute Settlement in Multinational Agreements -- focus on pp. 322-333


Petition to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Seeking Relief From Violations Resuling From Global Warming Caused by Acts and Omissions of the United States (Dec. 7, 2005)

Gbemre v. Shell (High Court of Nigeria, Nov. 14, 2005)


Nov. 13, 2013 International Trade and Climate Change

Guest lecture by Scott Fulton, former General Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Wold at Chap. 10

North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation

Any readings assigned by Prof. Fulton


The TransPacific Partnership Trade Agreement Would Harm Our Environment (July 10, 2013)

23. Nov. 18, 2013

Comparative law - responses by other nations


Osofsky 191-195, 221-256



T. Hester, Private Claims for a Global Climate: U.S. and Indian Litigation Approaches to Climate Change and Environmental Harm (July 2011)

R. Lord ed., Climate Change Liability: Transnational Law and Practice (2012) (chapter on India)

24. Nov. 20, 2013

Comparative law - responses by other nations -- conclusion


Climate Refugee Law


Update on Warsaw COP 19

Panel Discussion: Profs. Geoff Hoffman and Hester

Guest comments -- Rodman Johnson, partner at Enoch Kever PLLC

Osofsky 195-221

Membership in Particular Social Groups (Prof. Hoffman's PowerPoint, for background only)

Atlas of Pollution: World in CO2 Emissions, The Guardian, Jan. 31, 2011

Estimated 2010 Greenhouse Gas Emissions


U.S. fears climate talks will focus on compensation for extreme weather (Guardian, 11/15/13)

Interactive Graphic on Top 90 Historic GHG Polluters

25. Nov. 25, 2013 Climate Adaptation law Prepare to draft an outline of Texas climate adaptation plan in class

Osofsky 295-301, 310-314

Executive Order -- Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change (Nov. 1, 2013)

V. Flatt, Adapting Laws for a Changing World: A Systematic Approach to Climate Change Adaptation, 64 Fla. L. Rev. 269 (2012)

Climate Adaptation Clearinghouse

Washington State Climate Adaptation Strategy:

     -  Executive Summary

     -  pp. 25-31


Port of Houston Climate Adaptation Plan for Bayport Terminal

Draft EPA Climate Adaptation Plan

Obama uses executive order in sweeping takover of nation's climate change policies (Fox News, Nov. 1, 2013)

NRDC Critique of Absence of Climate Change Considerations in Texas Emergecy Response Plan (2013)

    No class - Thanksgiving Break      
26. Dec. 2, 2013

Role of non-governmental organizations and corporate initiatives; voluntary commitments and actions; disclosure-based initiatives


Final class review


Osofsky 325-358

SEC Guidance on Climate Change Disclosure

AES Annual Report 2011, pp. 65-72 (disclosure on climate risk)


In the Matter of Dynegy Inc. (assurance of discontinuance, Oct. 23, 2008)

Unburnable Carbon (CERES Report, 2013)

Sample carbon disclosure request letter (CERES, Sept. 9, 2013)

27. Dec. 4, 2013 No class, but available for any meetings or to review questions  


Final exam sample question and instructions




  Dec. 9 -18, 2013

Final Exam - 24-hour take-home examination. You can check out the exam at the reference desk of the UHLC library, and you must submit your exam answers by 9:00 p.m. on Dec. 18.

Please send me any email queries by Dec. 8 at noon - I will compile responses and distribute before the exam period opens on Dec. 9.