News and Events
2017 Spring Hike
Saturday, April 8th, at 7AM leaving from JG Lobby for Manitou Point Preserve.
Come join ELS for a much-needed break from the stress of law school and a dose of the outdoors before finals season starts up! Our plan is to leave in the morning for Manitou Point Preserve on the Hudson River (pictured above), about an hour train ride from the city, and come back around 5 that afternoon. This hike is not very strenuous and offers great views of the river. ELS will provide some snacks but hikers should bring a lunch, sturdy shoes with some traction (depending on the weather, it could be slippery or muddy), and at least one water bottle. You should bring: Sturdy shoes, water, and money for the train. You can RSVP here!
Environmental Policy Database for State Attorneys General
In the wake of the election results, legal action at the state level to fight climate change is more important than ever. The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law is seeking volunteers to help compile a database of actions undertaken by state attorneys general (AGs) to advance environmental law and policy within their respective states. The database will be posted online at StateAG.org – a website aimed at educating state AGs and other stakeholders about the role that AGs can play in the U.S. legal system, and helping them initiate lawsuits and other legal actions.
Student volunteers will identify examples of environmental actions undertaken by state AGs, compile relevant resources (such as press releases and case documents), draft summaries of each example, and organize these into a user-friendly database. They will work under the supervision of Sabin Center Faculty Director Michael Gerrard and Staff Attorney Jessica Wentz. The project will likely be eligible for pro bono credit (but please confirm with the public interest office). Work can be carried out during winter break or afterwards.
To volunteer for the project or request additional information, please contact Jessica Wentz, email@example.com. Please also let Jessica know if you can't take on this project but are interested in learning about other volunteer or summer internship opportunities at the Sabin Center.
Brooklyn Recycling Center Tour
Friday, March 3rd, 4:30pm-6:00pm (Leaving JG at 3:00pm), Sunset Park Material Recovery Facility, 472 2nd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Ever wonder where the recyclables end up? Come see for yourself and join ELS for a free guided tour of the Brooklyn Recycling and Material Recovery Facility. You'll get a behind the scenes look at home recycling works in NYC!
2017 Climate Change Symposium
Tuesday, March 7th, 5:00pm, in Rm. 101 Jerome Greene Hall
The symposium will feature the following presentations:
Think Global: International Reciprocity as Justification for a Global Social Cost of Carbon
by Jason Schwartz & Peter Howard, Institute for Policy Integrity
A Carbon Fee as Mitigation for Fossil Fuel Extraction on Federal Lands
by Michael Burger, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
CJEL-ELS Happy Hour
Wednesday, February 22nd at 6:30pm at the Amsterdam Tavern (938 Amsterdam Ave)
Join the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law and the Enviornmental Law Society for a happy hour! Come learn more about what ELS and CJEL are doing!
Columbia University Energy Symposium
Thursday and Friday, February 2-3, 9:00am-6:00pm, International Affairs Building, 420 W 118th Street, NY 10027
Columbia is hosting a fantastic event that includes panel speakers, a recording of The Energy Gang podcast, a career fair, and a variety of informal networking opportunities! This event attracts more than 300 energy professionals to discuss isuses ranging from new technologies and business models to current events and market trends. You must register online by Sunday, January 22nd. You can register and find out more here: http://www.cuenergysymposium.com/
New York City Town Hall Meeting on NY Renews Legislation
Wednesday, December 8th, 6:30, at Friends Meeting House, 15 Rutherford Place, NY 10003
This exciting campaign will make New York State the national leader in addressing the climate crisis by simultaneously cutting GHG emissions while investing in communities that are most vulnerable to climate change and creating green economy jobs where they are most needed.
A Conversation with Earthjustice Attorneys Representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakota Access Pipeline Case
Friday, November 11, 12:10-1:10, in Big Warren 103
Jan Hasselman and Stefanie Tsosie, the attorneys at Earthjustice representing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the Dakota Access Pipeline case will be coming to speak to students. The Tribe filed suit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for violating the National Historic Preservation Act and other laws after the agency issued final permits for a massive crude oil pipeline stretching from North Dakota to Illinois. The pipeline travels through the Tribe's ancestral lands and passes within half a mile of its current reservation. The Corps' approval of the permit permit also allows the oil company to dig the pipeline under the Missouri river just upstream of the reservation and the Tribe's drinking water supply. A federal appeals court recently reaffirmed the lower court ruling denying the tribe’s motion for a temporary injunction that argued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers didn’t adequately consult with it to protect historical sites. However, protests and clashes with police continue in North Dakota, where 123 protestors, mostly Native Americans, have been arrested since August. Hasselman and Tsosie will be discussing their role in the case and answering questions from students.
ELS, Green Business Club, and SIPA ECO Happy Hour Mixer!
Thursday, November 10th, 6:00-7:00pm, Amity Hall Uptown, 982 Amsterdam Ave
Please join ELS, GBC, and SIPA ECO for our happy hour mixer event tomorrow! Get to know your fellow law school classmates who are ELS members, or branch out and meet others at Columbia who are interested in the environment. We hope to see you there!
Trash Me - Meet Sustainability Activist Rob Greenfield
Wednesday, November 2, 1:00, in International Affairs Building 501B
Activist and award-winning filmmaker Rob Greenfield wore every piece of trash he created around New York City for a month. Join ECO and Rob for a chat about waste, food, sustainability and activism. More on Rob's latest project (via the Huffington Post): This Guy Is Wearing Every Piece Of Garbage He Generates For A Month
Legal Pathways to Decarbonization and Deep Decarbonization Pathway Project (DDPP) with Professor Michael Gerrard
Thursday, November 3, 1:00-2:00, in International Affairs Building 1510
Join ECO and EPOC. Guest Speaker Professor Gerrard Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law will present on the DDPP and there will be a short Q/A section at the end. Food and beverages will be provided.
ELS Annual Fall Hike
Saturday, October 22nd
We will be hiking Breakneck Ridge in Cold Springs, New York and should be back on campus by 4-5pm at the latest. This event is open to all Columbia Law School students; you do not need to be a member of ELS to join us on the hike. Even if you signed up before, please sign up here if you intend to join us on Saturday.
Environmental Justice: What's Race Got To Do With It?
Wednesday, October 19, 6:30 pm, Jerome Green Hall, Room 103
Kendall Thomas, Nash Professor of Law, Columbia Law School and Director, Center for the Study of Law and Culture, will provide opening remarks.
Panel 1: "Planting the Roots of (In)Justice: Past Practices and Laws"
Moderated by Michael Gerrard, Professor at Columbia Law School and Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
Christine Appah-Gyamfi, Senior Staff Attorney, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest;
Susan Kraham, Senior Staff Attorney and Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School;
Peggy Shepard, Executive Director and Co-Founder, WE ACT for Environmental Justice; and
Kellie Terry, Program Officer for Sustainable Environments, Surdna Foundation.
Panel 2: "Wade in the Water: From Flint to NYCHA"
Moderated by Olatunde Johnson,Professor at Columbia Law School
Christine Ernst, Associate Attorney, Earthjustice;
Edward Lloyd, Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professor in Environmental Law, Columbia Law School;
Al Huang, Director of Environmental Justice, Natural Resources Defense Council; and
Steven McSloy, Partner, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP; Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School
Civil Disobedience and Climate Change: Legal and Ethical Issues.
Friday, October 14, 12:15-1:15pm, in Jerome Greene Hall, Room 105.
Hosted by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, speakers will include Professor Tom Lininger of the University of Oregon School of Law, and Karenna Gore, CLS alumna and Director of the Center for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary. Register here
Faculty Film Series with Professor Michael Gerrard: "Merchants of Doubt."
Tuesday, October 11, 6:30pm, in Jerome Greene Hall, Room 104.
We will be screening the film "Merchants of Doubt", an award-winning documentary on the investigation of "pundits-for- hire" who present themselves as scientific authorities as they speak to topics such as climate change, toxic chemicals, and pharmaceuticals, and how they relate to the public. Non-pizza food will be served.
Governor Cuomo's Goal of 50% Renewable by 2030: What Will It Take?
Tuesday April 12th, 6:30 pm, JG 104
Governor Andrew Cuomo has taken action to require 50 percent of the state's electricity supply to come from renewable resources like solar, wind, and hydro by 2030. This decarbonization is a central part of the state's efforts to fight climate change. At this event the principal architect of the program will discuss how it will be achieved, followed by commentaries by representatives of important elements of the energy industry and environmental community.
Admission is free but registration is required. RSVP here.
Richard Kauffman, Chairman of Energy and Finance for New York, Office of NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Sergej Mahnovski, Director, Utility of the Future team, Consolidated Edison Co.
Anne Reynolds, Executive Director, Alliance for Clean Energy of New York
Jackson Morris, Energy and Transportation Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Michael B. Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, ColumbiaLaw School
1Ls: Joint Open House for ARIA, CJEL, CJTL
Thursday April 14th, 12-1, JG Annex
Interested in joining a journal next year?Join the following journals for a non-pizza lunch in the JG Annex on Th. 4/14:
ARIA - American Review of International Arbitration
CJEL - Columbia Journal of Environmental Law
CJTL - Columbia Journal of Tax Law
Talk with current staffers to learn more about what our journals publish and what it's like to be on our staff. Stay for as long as you'd like, and hop between as many journals as you'd like.
Sponsored by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. Co-sponsored by the Center on Global Energy Policy, Columbia Law SchoolEnvironmental Law Society, SIPA Environmental Coalition, and the Earth Institute of Columbia University.
ELS Spring Study Break
Thursday, April 14th from 7:00PM to 9:00PM at Amity Hall
Join us for drinks and unwind before finals time rolls around. Drink tickets are first-come, first-served.
Rescheduled Spring Hike
Saturday April 16th, meet 8 am in JG lobby
Due to unpleasant weather, the Environmental Law Society / Outdoors Club spring hike was rescheduled for Saturday 4/16. We'll go as long as we can get a critical mass. The details will be the same: Meet at 8 am at JG; take the Metro North up to Breakneck Ridge; hike for the day; grab drinks in the afternoon; be back to New York by late afternoon / early evening. And as before, attendees will need to cover the Metro North fare individually (~$28), and we'll cover snacks and the bar trip afterwards.
If we can get enough participants for the new date, we'd love to make it happen. RSVP and we'll confirm ASAP.
Direct any questions to Lee Hill <firstname.lastname@example.org> and Regina Wang <email@example.com>.
Annual Symposium & Reception
Please save the date for our annual reception on Monday, April 11th. Every year we team up with the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law: CJEL will host a symposium featuring presentations on climate change law (4 pm), and to follow, ELS will host a student/alumni environmental law reception (7 pm).
The reception is generously sponsored by Sive, Paget & Riesel. To help us get an advance head count for food and drinks, please RSVP here if you think you'll make it.
How to Negotiate an International Agreement: Lessons from the Paris Climate Talks
Susan Biniaz CLS '83
Lead climate lawyer for the U.S. Department of State
Tuesday, March 8, 12:15 - 1:00 p.m.
William and June Warren Hall (NE corner of 115th & Amsterdam), room L107 (lower level).
Food will be served
What are Columbia’s Economic, Legal and Moral Responsibilities to Act on Climate Change?
Tu 3/1, 6:30, JG 104 (reception to follow - bring your own water bottle!)
(no need to RSVP)
The Environmental Law Society, the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, The Earth Institute, the Green Business Club, and the SIPA Environmental Coalition are co-sponsoring a student-faculty discussion:
Over the past year and a half multiple proposals have been advanced to alter Columbia’s strategy to investing its endowment in order to make those investments better reflective of the imperative for a shift away from an economy reliant on fossil fuels. At the same time, there is increasing recognition that these investments need to be matched with a strong commitment to ‘walking the talk’ on sustainability across Columbia’s campuses and throughout its programs. As part of an ongoing dialogue, this event will be an opportunity to hear and discuss faculty and student perspectives from across the university. It will feature a panel of distinguished faculty, and will allow considerable time for questions from members of the Columbia community.
Michael Gerrard, Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School
Jessica Prata, Assistant Vice President of Environmental Stewardship, Columbia University
Jeffrey Sachs, Director, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Bruce Usher, Faculty Director, Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, Columbia Business School
Todd Gitlin, Columbia Journalism School
Moderated by Lisa Sachs, Director, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
The Growing Importance of Renewable Energy and Distributed Generation: Legal, Political, and Technological Perspectives
Monday, February 22, 2016
4:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. (EST)
Columbia Law School’s Jerome Greene Hall
435 West 116th Street, Rm. JG103,
New York, NY 10027
and Via Teleconference
Please register - RSVP
Technological innovations, scientific advancements, and federal policies aimed at promoting national deployment of renewable energy resources have the potential to transform this country’s energy generation and distribution future – one that includes increased reliance and incorporation of wind energy and solar energy into our overall energy mix. Distributed generation resources are enabling power to reach isolated, “islanded” communities, both at home and abroad. Federal and state initiatives, such as the Clean Power Plan and New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) will also have important ramifications for co-generation and distributed generation. However, legal, political, and policy issues exist that could potentially impede the implementation and proliferation of renewable and distributed energy measures. These issues present interesting questions, as well as opportunities, for practicing lawyers, law students, and others with an interest in energy law. Our experts will share their practical business and legal experience with respect to these cutting-edge issues. Please join us for a two-panel symposium co-sponsored by the Renewable, Alternative, and Distributed Energy Resources (RADER) Committee and Columbia Law School’s Environmental Law Society (ELS) to explore these issues of growing importance.
* Reception sponsored by the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy & Resources • Debevoise & Plimpton LLP • Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP
COP21 Climate Agreement - What Comes Next?
Monday, January 25, 2016
12:00 pm to 1:30 pm
Jerome Greene Hall, Room 101
435 West 116th St
New York, NY 10027
Please join the Center on Global Energy Policy and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law for a discussion on what comes next for the Paris COP21 Agreement after its adoption last month. Our discussion will feature remarks from a set of distinguished speakers followed by a moderated discussion. Featured participants include:
Dr. Scott Barrett, Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics, Columbia SIPA;
Jason Bordoff, Founding Director, Center on Global Energy Policy;
Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice, Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School;
Nat Keohane, Vice President, Global Climate, Environmental Defense Fund;
Kyung-Ah Park, Managing Director and Head of Environmental Markets Group, Goldman Sachs;
David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy.
Registration is required. This event is open to press.
A podcast of this event (in addition to other past Center events) will be available ~5 days after the date of the event through iTunes or via our website.
For more information contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Recycling Plant Trip
The Environmental Law Society is kicking things off with a field trip to a recycling plant in Brooklyn. (These things are surprisingly cool.) Learn about recycling in New York City and see a state-of-the-art material recovery facility, together with great views of downtown and the Statue of Liberty across New York Harbor.
Click here to RSVP.
- Leave Friday 2/5 at 1:30 pm from JG lobby.
- Remember your Metro card - we'll be taking the subway to Brooklyn.
- Tour is free.
- After the tour, we'll cover a round of drinks somewhere nearby.
- Leave from Brooklyn around 5:30.
Yale New Directions in Environmental Law Conference
From all of us preparing for New Directions in Environmental Law Conference (NDEL) 2016, we invite you to join us for our annual conference at Yale Law School, Friday & Saturday, February 26-27 (if you need overnight lodging, contact email@example.com). Our theme this year is Cascading Change: Innovation, Organizing, and Disruptive Strategies. In exploring that theme, this year’s event will feature keynotes from:
Mark Tercek, President and CEO of The Nature Conservancy &
Christy Goldfuss, Managing Director of the White House Council on Environmental Quality
The conference will also feature breakout sessions and panels on: Innovation in military environmental policy; Organized labor and environmental law; Post-conflict environmental impact; Clean energy finance; Climate change litigation; State-level utility regulation; American Indian water rights; Climate change adaptation; Forest resiliency; and many other pressing environmental concerns. A full conference agenda and a link to the registration page can be found on the conference website [ www.tinyurl.com/ndel2016 ] . Be sure to register early, as space is limited! For up-to-date information about the conference, refer to our Facebook page.
This will be the 6th annual NDEL conference and we would love to continue this tradition with you and your colleagues in attendance. With over 300 academics, practitioners, regulators, lawyers, and students in attendance in 2015, NDEL 2016 will be a not-to-miss networking opportunity. Register now, invite your friends, and we will see you in February!
(Transportation funding may be available; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org)
Tour of New York's most eco-friendly brewery + beer tasting
When: Sunday, October 18, 2015, 11:10 AM
Where: Meet up in JG at 11:10 --> Brooklyn Brewery (79 N 11th St., New York, NY 11249)
(Co-sponsored with the Craft Beer Club)
Lecture by Hilal Elver, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, United Nations
Wednesday, October 21, 2015, 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm, JG 103
(Cosponsored by ELS)
First Annual David Sive Memorial Lecture on Environmental Law
Thursday, October 22, 2015, 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm, JG 104
Lecture by John C. Cruden, Assistant Attorney General for the Environment and Natural Resources Division, U.S. Department of Justice
Wine and cheese reception: 6:15 - 7:00
(Cosponsored by ELS)
Panel discussion on climate change adaptation in New York City
Tuesday, October 27, 2015, 12:10 pm - 1:00 pm, JG 102A
Panel discussion featuring:
- Michael Gerrard, CLS professor and Director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law
- Venetia Lannon - SIPA alum and Regional Director for the New York State Dept. of Envtl. Conservation
- Eric Schaaf - Regional Counsel for the U.S. EPA
- Carter Strickland, Jr. - CLS alum and former Commissioner of the NYC Dept. of Envtl. Prot.
(Hosted by ELS, non-pizza lunch)
Event with the Attorney General of Ecuador, Diego García Carrión
Date: October 8, 2015, 6:30-8:00pm – Reception following
Location: Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103
The Attorney General of Ecuador, Diego García Carrión, will give a presentation at Columbia Law School in connection with the launch of a book on the legal disputes between Chevron and Ecuador. Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs will provide commentary. The event will be followed by a reception. Registration is free, but required. Please rsvp here.
(Cosponsored with the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment)
ELS Annual Hike
Saturday, September 26, 2015, 8 am - 6 pm.
Rather than staring at processed trees (textbooks) in the urban jungle, come stare at real live trees in the forest outside New York! ELS' annual hike is a great way to get up, get out, and appreciate the beauty of nature before autumn hits. You can see pictures from previous hikes on ELS' website.
- Meet at 8 am on Sat. 9/26 in JG lobby.
- We'll take the Metro North up the Hudson Valley to Cold Spring, NY, approx. $15 each way (Student Senate doesn't cover transportation).
- The hike will be at Breakneck Ridge (so named because a hiker once swooned off the edge of a cliff because the view was so beautiful), about 4 miles depending on our route. At a moderate pace, it should take about 4 hours.
- Bring appropriate footwear (good support, no open toes), at least a liter of water, and rain protection to ward off the weather gods.
- We'll have some snacks but you should bring lunch.
- After the hike we'll get food and drinks on us at Doug's Pretty Good Pub (it lives up to its name) in Cold Spring.
- We should be back in New York around 5 or 6 pm.
Habana Outpost Orientation Event
Monday (Labor Day), September 7, 2015 at 6 pm.
1Ls and LLMs: RSVP here to join us on Monday (Labor Day) 9/7 at 6 pm - we'll be meeting on campus (location TBA) to take the subway to Habana Outpost in Brooklyn for green Cuban food, a red drink ticket, and colorful conversation. Spots are limited, so RSVP soon.
Protecting Human Rights in an Era of Climate Disruption
Details: February 4th, 2015 from 12:10 pm - 1:00 pm. Located in Jerome Greene Hall, Room 102b. Non-pizza lunch will be provided thanks to the generous support of Allen & Overy, LLP.
The panel will discuss recommendations from the July 2014 report issued by the International Bar Association Climate Change Justice and Human Rights Task Force, and will assess related challenges and opportunities presented by the United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Paris, France later this year. A short video about the report is available here.
The panelists are:
- Professor Michael B. Gerrard: Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice; Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law; Columbia Law School.
- David Estrin: Co-Chair, IBA Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights; Certified Environmental Law Specialist and Counsel, Gowlings LLP; Senior Research Fellow, International Law Research Program, Centre for International Governance Innovation
- Gauthier van Thuyne: Member, IBA Task Force on Climate Change Justice and Human Rights; Partner, Head of Belgian and EU Environmental Law Group & Co-Head, Human Rights Interest Group, Allen & Overy LLP
- Ken Rivlin: Partner & Head of Global Environmental Law Group, Allen & Overy LLP; Lecturer-in-Law, Columbia Law School
Fossil Fuel Divestment Forum
Details: November 24th, 2014 from 7:00 - 9:00 PM. Located in Jerome Greene Hall, Room 103.
In view of the mounting scientific evidence of the perils of climate change, there is growing pressure on univer- sities, pension funds, foundations, religious institu- tions, and others to divest from the stock of fossil fuel companies. This public panel discussion will explore whether divestment is consistent with the fiduciary duties of fund trustees, and whether divestment is the best way for investors to influence corporate behavior. The speakers include both proponents and opponents of divestment, as well as experts on the effect of divestment on portfolio value and its place in the corporate social responsibility movement.
Speakers: Bennett Freeman, Senior Vice President, Sustainability Research and Policy, Calvert Investments. Stephen Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund. John Willis, Portfolio Manager, Sustainable Insight Capital Management. Christianna Wood, President and Chief Executive Officer, Gore Creek Capital, Ltd.
Moderator: Michael B. Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice and Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School.
Columbia University Energy Symposium - November 21st
Details: The event is scheduled for November 21st and will be located in Lerner Hall
Join Columbia University in celebrating 10 years of dynamic discussions on pivotal energy concerns. In 2014 we will explore the players that are bringing about evolutions and revolutions in the energy industry. Our featured keynotes this year are Daniel Yergin (Pulitzer Prize winning author and Vice Chairman of the IHS) and Cheryl A. LaFleur (Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission). We are also excited to feature a great line-up of speakers coming from companies such as First Solar, A.T. Kearney, Cheniere, NRG, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners, and Solar City.