Tracy Hester
Climate Intervention Law
LAW 5397
Fall 2019



LAW 5397

Fall 2019
Room BLB 3




No. Date Topics Guest Speaker(s) Readings Background Optional Materials and Comments
1. Aug.19, 2019

Introduction - Orientation and Overview

Climate Science - background


Executive Summary of Fourth National Climate Assessment Report (2017)

Climate Science Basics PowerPoint 


Mauna Kea CO2 cumulative monitoring data

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

Global Warming of 1.5 Degrees, IPCC Report (10/7/18)

2. Aug. 21, 2019 Guest lecture (John Nielson-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist, TAMU)  



3. Aug. 26, 2019

Responding to Climate Change: Mitigation and Adaptation

Climate Cognition


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

The Tragedy of Risk Perception Commons, D. Kahan et al., pp. 1-3, 10-16

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

Lecture (audio)

McKinsey GHG Cost Abatement Curve (see page 8)

Texas No-Regrets Strategies Report (2010)

Climate Change in Context

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

4. Aug. 28, 2019 Overview of Climate Intervention Strategies and Technologies  

Climate Engineering Technologies, Eli Kintsch (from Climate Engineering and the Law, 2018)

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

Remaking the World to Save It, T. Hester (2011)

The Law of Direct Air Capture by T. Hester (2018)

Scientists' Letter to House Space Science and Technology Subcommittee re Geoengineering (Nov. 8, 2017)

H. 6001 (Rhode Island 2017)

  Sept. 2, 2019





5. Sept. 4, 2019 Climate Intervention and International Law:  Foundational Principles, UN Framework Convention, and Kyoto Protocol Project 1: Project Sunrise (Russia) and MineSave (Canada)

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

Full text of U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (focus only on portions that we discuss in class)

Full text of Kyoto Protocol (as on-line reference)

Powerpoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

6. Sept. 9, 2019

International Law:  Applying Paris to Climate Intervention


Paris Agreement final text

U.S. Initial Nationally Determined Contribution

General Issues in Elaborating the Paris Rulebook, by Dan Bodansky and Lavanya Rajamani

Powerpoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

7. Sept. 11, 2019 NO CLASS - I will be presenting to the National Academy of Sciences workgroup on solar radiation management governance at Stanford this day  


8. Sept. 16, 2019 Other International Law:  Climate Intervention, Human Rights Law, and International Trade Law  

Human Rights Principles and Climate Change by John Knox

The State of Netherlands v. Urgenda Foundation (Oct. 9, 2018) (skim for discussions of ECHR Arts. 2 and 8)

Trade Considerations for Decarbonization Strategies (draft), Prof. Elizabeth Trujillo (2018)

Lecture (audio)

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)

Animal Legal Defense Fund v. United States, Complaint (D. Ore. filed 10/22/18)

Statement of UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Environment re Friends of Irish Environment proceeding (Oct. 25, 2018)

Chapter 24 (Environment) of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement

9. Sept. 18, 2019 Applying Human Rights Law and International Trade Frameworks to Climate Intervention  

Climate Engineering and International Law by Jesse Reynolds (from Climate Engineering and the Law, 2018), pp. 105-108

W. Burns, The Paris Agreement and Climate Geoengineering Governance:  The Need for A Human Rights-Based Component (Oct. 2016)

S. Duyck et al., Human Rights and the Paris Agreement's Implementation Guidelines:  Opportunities to Develop a Rights-Based Approach (2018)

Powerpoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

10. Sept. 23, 2019 Other International Frameworks and Climate Change Law:  Using the Oceans to Engineer the Climate  

High-Level Review of a Wide Range of Proposed Marine Geoengineering Techniques, UN GEMAP (2019) (skim for overview of technologies)

Geoengineering, the Law of the Sea, and Climate Change by Verlaan (2009)

Resolution LC.LP.1 on the Regulation of Ocean Fertilization (2008)

Powerpoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)


UN Convention on the Law of the Sea

Resolution LC.LP.02 (2010) (framework for scientific assessment of ocean fertilization projects)

11. Sept. 25, 2019 Other International Law Frameworks:  Engineering the Ocean (Alkalinity) Project 2: Tribal Salmon Restoration Project

UNEP, Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Update on Geoengineering in Relation to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD Technical Series No. 84), pp. 8-13, 87-99

Decision X/33, Conference of Parties, Convention on Biological Diversity (2010), paragraphs 8(w), 8(x) on p. 5

Decision XIII/14, CBD COP (2016)

Dealing with Ocean Acidification by R. Craig (2016), pp. 390-422, 435-437, 467-471 (overview of U.S. law)

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

Center for Biological Diversity v. EPA, 90 F. Supp. 3d 1177 (W.D. Wa. 2015)
12. Sept. 30, 2019 Comparative Climate Law and Transnational Liability Project 3:  Vanuatu solar radiation domestic lawsuit and injunction

Current NDC for China (English translation begins on p. 17)

Transnational Liability in U.S. Courts for Environmental Harms Abroad (2018)

The Internationalization of Climate Damages Litigation, 7 Wash. J. Envt'l L. & Pol. 264 (2017), pp. 265-269, 285-310, 316-317

Transnational Enforcement PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

NDC for India; Brazil; and Canada; European Union and Supplemental Statement from France

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

Pandey v. India complaint

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

Compliance and Dispute Settlement in Multinational Agreements

13. Oct. 2, 2019

Governance of Climate Intervention Research

Weather Modification Law


National Weather Modification Policy Act of 1976

NWMPA Regulations

Rain on Demand by Adriana Velez-Leon, 8 Geo. Wash. J. Energy & Envtl L. 148 (Spring 2017)

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

Texas Weather Modification Act

Texas Weather Modification Rules

Texas Weather Modification Application Form

14. Oct. 7, 2019

Climate Intervention - Military Applications and Emergency Powers



ENMOD discussion from Climate Engineering and the Law (Jesse Reynolds)

Emergency Powers Extract from Climate Engineering and the Law (chapter by Al Lin)

A New National Security Framework for Geoengineering by Chalucki (2018)

Lecture (audio)

15. Oct. 9, 2019

The Clean Air Act and Climate Intervention

Project 4: Field research test of solar radiation management

Massachusetts v. EPA

Repeal of Clean Power Plan and Affordable Clean Energy Rule overview, pp. 32520-3253 (July 8, 2019)

Stratospheric controlled
perturbation experiment
a small-scale experiment to improve understanding of the risks of solar geoengineering by Dykema, Keith, etc (2014)

ScopeX Governance Framework (2018)

Lecture (audio)

Clean Air Act overview from Mastering Environmental Law (2019)

Climate Change Law overview from Mastering Environmental Law (2019)

Plain English Guide to the Clean Air Act

Clean Air Act text

16. Oct. 14, 2019 Climate Intervention, the Clean Water Act and CERCLA/RCRA


Conservation Law Foundation v. ExxonMobil complaint (D. Mass. 2016) (skim)

Superfund and Climate Change

Testimony to Senate Subcommittee hearing on Disaster Response and Climate Change and questions

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

Notice of intent to sue by Center for Biological Diversity to EPA for failure to identify Oregon coastal waters as impaired by acidification (Aug. 18, 2018)

Integrated Reporting and Listing Decisions Related to Ocean Acidification, EPA (Nov. 2010)

Columbia Riverkeeper v. Pruitt Motion for Summary Judgment (8/30/17, W.D. Wash.)

EPA Rule on TSCA Petition re Ocean Acidification

EPA Fact Sheet re landfills and climate change

OSWER Climate Change Adaptation Implementation Plan

Act of God Defenses and Climate Change by Prof. Cliff Villa

Clean Water Act overview from Mastering Environmental Law (2019)

CERCLA/RCRA overview from Mastering Environmental Law (2019)

17. Oct. 16, 2019 Climate Intervention in Polar Regions and Glacial Strategies

Guest Lecture: Dr. Julia Wellner, University of Houston

Geoengineer polar glaciers to slow sea-level rise by J. Moore, 555 Nature 303 (March 15, 2018)

Can regional climate engineering save the summer arctic sea ice?by S. Tilmes (2014)

Political Legitimacy in Decisions About Experiments in Solar Radiation Management by D. Morrow et al. (2015)

The Antarctic Treaty

Dr. Wellner PowerPoint (.pdf)

Hester PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio file will be provided via email to class)

HBA Lunch registration for 10/16/19


Arctic Seasonal Ice Coverage 2019 

18. Oct. 21, 2019 Climate Intervention, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act Project 5:  Florida Keys coral protection project

NEPA and ESA Extract from Climate Engineering and the Law (chapter by Al Lin)

Presidential Executive Order Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth (March 28, 2017)

Sierra Club v. FERC

Draft NEPA Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Council on Environmental Quality (June 26, 2019)

Final revisions to ESA regulations under Sections 4, 4d and 7

Governing Geoengineering Research for the Great Barrier Reef by J. McDonald et al. (2018)

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

NAS Report on Social Cost of Carbon

Allegheny Defense Project v. FERC Emergency Motion for Stay (10/30/17)

NEPA overview from Mastering Environmental Law (2019)

ESA overview from Mastering Environmental Law (2019)

19. Oct. 23, 2019 Tort Liability and Climate Intervention  

American Electric Power v. Connecticut

City of Oakland v. BP PLC complaint (skim); dismissal order

Rise in global atmospheric CO2, surface temperature, and sea level from emissions traced to major carbon producers by Ekwurzel et al (2017)

U.S. Litigation Tracking Chart

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

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

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

Kivalina v. ExxonMobil district court; Ninth Circuit ruling

San Mateo County v. Chevron (complaint)

City of Baltimore v. BP PLC, denial of remand (June 10, 2019)

Remaking the World to Save It, T. Hester (2011) (follow-up discussion re state tort law nuisance liabilty for climate engineering)

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

20. Oct. 28, 2019 Comparative climate change law and approaches to climate intervention Guest lecture: Thomas H. Meister, The Honorable General Counsel of Germany (Houston)

Class will meet at noon to 1 pm in BLB 144

No readings


Lecture (due to technical difficulties, there is no audio-only link)


21. Oct. 30, 2019 Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS), Tax Credits, and Enhanced Oil Recovery as a Possible Climate Strategy  

Liability and Compensation (pp. 239-246) from Climate Engineering and the Law (2018) (summary and review of climate tort nuisance issues for climate intervention)

45Q Tax Credit Legislation

Draft White Paper: 45Q and How A Federal Tax Credit Can Shape the Future of Carbon Management, UH Center for Carbon Management in Energy (2019)

Carbon Capture and Storage Project Development, T. Campbell et al., Texas Envt'l L.J. (Spring 2008)

Oxy Moves Forward with DAC Test Unit in Permian, J. Blum, Houston Chronicle (May 22, 2019)

PowerPoint (.pdf)

Lecture (audio)

TCEQ and Bureau of Economic Geology, Injection and Geologic Storage of Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide: A Prelimilary Joint Report (Dec. 2010)


Nov. 4, 2019 Applying state laws to climate intervention projects and technologies

Guest lecture: Myles Culhane, Assistant General Counsel, Occidental Petroleum

Class will meet at noon to 1 pm in BLB 3.

Project 6: DAC, EOR and upstream E&P

Pore Space Caselaw

CCS Protocol Excerpt

Unit Agreement Excerpt

Lecture (I will not post an audio file for this session; please contact me directly if you would like a copy)

Full CCS Protocol from CARB
24. Nov. 6, 2019

Carbon credits, low-carbon fuel standards, 45Q tax credits, and DAC


The LCFS and CCS Protocol: An Overview by the Global CCS Institute (2019) . . .

As Congress Promotes Carbon Capture, A Lack of Pipelines Slows Companies Looking to Cash In, Houston Chronicle (July 12, 2018)

The Health and Climate Impacts of Carbon Capture and Direct Air Capture, by M. Jacobson (2019), pp. 1-13.

Lecture (audio)

Global Roadmap for Implementing CO2 Utilization by The Global CO2 Initiative (Nov. 2016).

Short lecture by Dr. David Keith on Fast Path to Solar Fuels (2019)

California LCFS regulations 

California Executive Order S-01-07 

Full California LCFS CCS Protocol 

25. Nov. 11, 2019 Corporate transactional perspectives on strategies and acquisitions in CO2 management and climate intervention

Guest lecturers: Timothy Langenkamp, General Counsel of PFJ Energy, and Prof. Bret Wells, UH Law Center

Class will meet at noon to 1 pm in BLB 3.

The Law of Direct Air Capture from Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States by M. Gerrard and J. Dernbach (2018), pp. 10421-10428


  Nov. 13, 2019 NO CLASS - I will be out of the United States this day.      
22. Nov. 18, 2019

State climate change laws and permitting, and applications to climate intervention projects


Climate Change and Federalism from Climate Change Law by Dan Farber (2018)

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey (9th Cir. 2019)

Energy & Envt'l Legal Institute v. Epel (10th Cir. 201) (per J. Gorsuch)

Transport and Climate Initiative framework (Oct. 1, 2019)

Rhode Island Bill Would Regulate Geoengineering in Its Many Forms (May 13, 2019)

Lecture (audio)

City of Houston's Climate Action Plan

California Executive Order B-55-18 (Sept. 10, 2018)

The Geoengineering Act, H5992 (Rhode Island 2019)

26. Nov. 20, 2019

Class review exercise: regional climate intervention and local laws


Voluntary Review for semester

Project 6: Heat Wave Emergency Response

Could Aerosol Emissions be Used for Regional Heat Wave Mitigation? by D. Bernstein et al. (2012)

A Matter of Scale: Regional Climate Engineering and the Shorfalls of Multinational Governance by T. Hester (2013)

Lecture (audio)

Sample final exam question

Sample answer




  Dec. 2 - Dec. 11, 2019

Final Exam - 8-hour take-home examination. You can check out the exam online starting at 9:00 am on December 2, and you must submit your exam answers by 5:00 p.m. on December 9. You will have only eight (8) hours to complete your exam once you check it out online.

Please send me any email queries by Nov. 30 at noon - I will try to compile responses and distribute before the exam period opens on Dec. 2.

  Final review email questions