New York, August 15, 2014—Columbia Law School announced today that the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation has established an endowed fund to support and expand the Center for Climate Change Law, which has been renamed the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.
The $3.5 million gift over five years will strengthen and expand the center’s groundbreaking work on climate change law, which is directed by one of the nation’s most prominent environmental law experts, Michael B. Gerrard. In 2009, the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, a charitable organization founded by environmentalist and philanthropist Andrew Sabin, provided funding to help launch the center.
“Congress has not enacted a major new environmental law since 1990 and that is not likely to change any time soon,” said Gerrard, the Law School’s Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice. “Thus our mission is especially vital—developing new legal tools within the existing statutory framework to tackle this extraordinarily important problem. This generous gift from the Sabin Foundation will allow us to increase the scope and impact of our work, and assures the long-term operation of the center.”
The Sabin Center advances effective legal techniques and tools to fight climate change, regularly providing policymakers and legal researchers around the world with information on climate litigation, legislation, and regulations. The center will continue to work closely with scientists at Columbia University's Earth Institute and with governmental, nongovernmental, and academic organizations.
Already known for its contributions to advancing climate change law, the center’s work in the past year included leading the effort to secure a novel pact under which Con Edison will implement state-of-the-art measures to plan for—and protect its electric, gas, and steam systems from—the effects of climate change. The center also issued an influential report rating states’ climate change preparedness and a study describing legal tools state and municipal governments can employ to discourage or prevent development along coastlines that are threatened by sea level rise.
In addition to this work, Gerrard has taken a leadership role in advising small island nations about the legal implications of rising sea levels, and has convened experts from around the world to address the myriad challenges brought about by climate change. The American Bar Association recently published the second edition of Gerrard’s groundbreaking book, Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (which was co-edited by Harvard Law School Professor Jody Freeman).
The Andrew Sabin Family Foundation’s gift will allow the center to bring on a full-time executive director, in addition to its existing staff of junior lawyers, research assistants, and teaching assistants. The fund will also support the annual Sabin Colloquium on Innovative Environmental Law Scholarship.
“Let’s protect what is precious and leave a living planet for future generations,” said Sabin, the president and sole owner of Sabin Metal Corp., a global private precious-metals refinery company that maintains stringent environmental management policies.
Sabin, a resident of Long Island, is an active conservationist who not only provides grants to numerous environmental organizations, but also takes on projects to protect and preserve endangered species. He has purchased land to protect natural habitat, and regularly conducts extensive hands-on fieldwork. Twenty-five years ago, Sabin founded the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton, New York, to share his lifelong love of nature—especially reptiles and amphibians—with the public. In the summer of 1987, he participated in an expedition to Papua New Guinea, that led to the discovery of a new species of frog now named for him (Aphantophryne sabini). Sabin is also a member of Columbia Law School’s Environmental Law Advisory Council.
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