Fall 2020
7397 WRS: Climate Intervention Law & Policy - HESTER- 26491

Professor(s): Tracy Hester (DIRECTOR/SUPERVISOR )

Credits: 3

Course Areas: Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Law 

Time: 5:30p-7:00p  MW  Location:  

Course Outline: Climate change poses one of the greatest threats of our time, but our legal and regulatory systems have enormous difficulties in responding to it. As a result, the consequences of climate change are inexorably growing while global emissions of greenhouse gases from human activity continue to accelerate.

To help bridge the gap between increasing emissions and the pace of governmental and private action, the emerging field of climate intervention explores options to directly control or alter the environment in ways to offset or prevent climate change effects. These strategies, so far, have generally fallen into two categories: technologies that reduce the amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth’s surface, and methods that directly remove large amounts of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Both of these approaches pose unique challenges to environmental law and climate change regulatory policy.

This class is the first law school seminar offered in the United States on climate intervention law. We will explore how this nascent field of law will grow, and experiment with different approaches and frameworks that could apply to climate intervention initiatives under international law and under U.S. and state laws. As part of that process, we will also discuss the growing field of climate change law in general and how it might interact with climate intervention work.

As an outcome of taking this class, you should be able to identify key regulatory issues and liability risks associated with climate intervention efforts and strategies to help manage those risks (including, if needed, halting a project entirely).

The class will use a combination of lectures, class discussions, case studies, in-class exercises and sample problems. Where possible, we’ll use real-life proposed experiments and demonstration projects, and will reach out to bring key researchers to speak with us where possible. This class might include remote participation in two international climate engineering conferences in Berlin.

Course Syllabus: 2019 Class Syllabus provided for student consideration. The 2020 syllabus is expected to follow closely to this, and will be posted soon, at this link.

Course Notes:   The instructor for this course has expressed a preference to operate the course as distance education. This means no physical classroom is assigned for this course. This also most likely means synchronous internet videoconferencing class sessions during the day(s) and time(s) when the course is scheduled to meet. However, other, more flexible modalities are possible, such as not using some of the scheduled class sessions to meet but instead supplementing with asynchronous distance education techniques. More details should be made available from the instructor via their syllabus or via other means as the start of the semester nears.

Quota=12. Your grade in this course will be based on a final semester paper and class participation.

Final semester paper submitted at end of semester.

One paper at conclusion of semester, with timely submittal of drafts and outline in advance.

Prerequisites:  While this class does not have a prerequisite, Environmental Law is strongly recommended.

First Day Assignments:

Final Exam Schedule:    

This course will have:
Paper: YES

Satisfies Skills Course Requirement: No
Satisfies Senior Upper Level Writing Requirement: Yes

Experiential Course Type: No

Bar Course: No

DistanceEd ABA 306:

Pass-Fail Student Election: Available

Course Materials (7/2/2020 1:14:53 PM)

Book(s) Required

Course Materials: Climate Engineering and the Law, ed. Profs. Michael Gerrard and Tracy Hester (Cambridge U. Press, 2018) – paperback and hardback available. ISBN 9781316610169 (paperback).