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May 5th | 9:00 – 10:00AM CT

Smita Narula
Haub Distinguished Professor of International Law at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and Co-Director of the law school’s Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies.

Speaker's Slides

On behalf of the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources (EENR) Center at the University of Houston Law Center, we are delighted to announce the forthcoming events we’ll host in the frame of our virtual lecture series on Energy Transition and Climate Governance, sponsored by the EU’s Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, and spearheaded by Dr. Aubin Nzaou.  

Topic: Can a Right to a Healthy Environment Deliver Climate Justice?

Abstract: Climate justice is a concept used to frame climate change, and its impacts, as an ethical, political, and moral issue, and not just an environmental issue. It does so by relating the effects of climate change to concepts of justice—particularly environmental and social justice—and by recognizing that those who are bearing the brunt of climate change have contributed the least to the climate crisis. In this talk, Professor Smita Narula will explore the potential and challenges of using a right to a healthy environment, which was recently recognized by the U.N. Human Rights Council, as a tool to remedy climate injustices.

Bio: Professor Smita Narula is the Haub Distinguished Professor of International Law at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and Co-Director of the law school’s Global Center for Environmental Legal Studies. Professor Narula teaches International Environmental Law, International Human Rights Law, Environmental Justice, Human Rights and the Environment, and Property. She is author of dozens of widely-cited publications on human rights, food systems, and the environment, and has helped formulate policy, legal, and community-led responses to a range of social justice and ecological issues worldwide. She is co-editor of Climate Change Law: An Introduction (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021).

In 2021, Professor Narula was inducted as a Fellow into the American College of Environmental Lawyers. Prior to joining Haub Law School, she was Distinguished Lecturer and Interim Director of the Human Rights Program at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College. Prior to Hunter, Professor Narula was an Associate Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law where she taught the International Human Rights Clinic and served as Faculty Director of the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. In these capacities, she helped found and grow the law school’s human rights program—a top-ranked program for international law in the United States.

In 2008 she was appointed legal advisor to the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and served in this capacity for the duration of the Rapporteur’s six-year mandate. From 1997 to 2003, Professor Narula served as India researcher and Senior Researcher for South Asia at Human Rights Watch, and in 2000, she co-founded the International Dalit Solidarity Network, a transnational advocacy network that helps advance the right to equality for 260 million people affected by caste-based discrimination worldwide.

Professor Narula graduated with honors from Harvard Law School where she was editor-in-chief of the Harvard Human Rights Journal. Prior to law school, she earned a B.A. and M.A. with honors from Brown University and worked on HIV and public health issues at UNICEF and the United Nations Development Fund.


We have a remarkable series planned for the rest of the year featuring domestic and international speakers.

May 19, 2022, 10-11 am ET, Deepa Badrinarayana (Chapman University School of Law).

June 2, 2022, 10-11 am ET, Katrina Wyman (New York University School of Law).

June 2022, 10-11 am ET, Don Elliot (Yale Law School).

Jun. 2022, 10-11 am ET, Cary Coglianese (University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School).

You can also access the recordings of our past events.