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Course Descriptions

As of 1/15/2021 5:52:16 AM

Climate Change/Sustainability

The Law of Climate Change and Sustainable Development Law 661 - Winter 2015


Law 661, the Law of Climate Change and Sustainable Development, will focus on ways in which the law is changing in view of likely climate change impacts and to promote sustainable development. It will focus on climate change adaptation (adjusting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change), not climate change mitigation (reducing greenhouse gasses). Thus, this course will not duplicate topics covered in environmental law and energy law courses.

Topics to be covered in Law 661 will include emerging developments concerning climate change in business law, such as corporations and securities law, disclosure requirements, fiduciary responsibilities of officers and directors, and insurance law. Legal regimes promoting adaptation to climate change and fostering sustainable development will also be covered, including land use planning (especially in coastal and vulnerable areas), regional transportation planning, stormwater management, and the promotion of "green" buildings through building codes and building efficiency requirements and incentives.

The class will meet alternating weeks, with attendance and active participation in all class sessions expected of all students. Class members will write six short papers over the semester and class grades will be based on these papers and on class participation. There will be no final exam or final paper.

The tentative schedule for class meetings and topics is:

Session 01: Introduction and the national U.S. framework for climate change adaptation and sustainable development planning.

Session 02: State adaptation planning, including vulnerability assessments and disclosure requirements.

Session 03: Sustainable cities and the built environment.

Session 04: Sustainable water resources management.

Session 05: Managing vulnerable areas, including insurance and disaster response.

Session 06: Managing working landscapes (farms and forests) and natural areas.

Session 07: Building a sustainable world; the international dimension.

Please send questions about Law 661 to