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State and Local Climate Law

Future Offerings

State and Local Climate Law (2526): State and local governments in the U.S. are critical actors and innovators in a new generation of law and policy to confront the climate crisis. Their role is much more significant than as second-best substitutes where international and federal politics are slow or erratic. As regulators, planners, service providers, property owners, conveners, and more, state and local governments hold their own zones of opportunity and legal authority. This course will consider state and local potential in terms of mitigation (to help decarbonize our energy systems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions), including through electricity and gas provision; energy efficiency in buildings; cars, land-use planning, and transportation; and direct regulation of fossil fuel extraction. A second unit of the course will focus on infrastructure and other adaptation efforts related to escalating risks of wildfire, heat, drought, floods, and coastal land loss. A third unit focused on loss and damage will cover the aftermath of climate-related disasters, including the state and local role in decontamination, clean-up, and reconstruction, as well as in insurance and other compensation systems for managing loss of life, property destruction, economic losses, and reconstruction. Our syllabus will minimize overlap with Climate Law & Policy (LAW 2520) (including by mostly skipping Californias cap-and-tr'ade program), so students are encouraged to take both courses. The course will feature several guest lectures by lawmakers and scholars who are leaders in subnational climate action. There are no mandatory prerequisites, though students who have some familiarity with either local government law or climate law/policy will find themselves more quickly at home with the readings and material. Enrollment preference will be granted to law students and E-IPER (or other SDSS) students, but any remaining seats will be offered to undergraduate or graduate students from across the university. Grades will reflect class participation, a brief in-class presentation based on original research, and three short papers derived from each of our three main units. At least one of those three papers can be framed as an exercise in professional writing, for example drafting a model local ordinance. Elements used in grading: attendance, class participation, written assignments.


State and Local Climate Law | LAW 2526 Section 01 Class #1121

  • 3 Units
  • Grading: Law Honors/Pass/Restrd Cr/Fail
  • Enrollment Limitations: Lottery 30
  • Learning Outcomes Addressed:
    • LO1 - Substantive and Procedural Law
    • LO2 - Legal Analysis and Reasoning
    • LO3 - Ability to Conduct Legal Research
    • LO4 - Ability to Communicate Effectively in Writing
    • LO5 - Ability to Communicate Orally
  • Course Category:
    • Environmental & Natural Resources

  • 2023-2024 Spring ( )
  • Tue, Thu
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