Outline and Boxes on a Blue Blackground

Environment and Energy

 

 

Protecting the environment requires leveraging tools that exist in nearly every area of the from property rights to human rights to contracts to constitutional law, international law, administrative law, and corporate governance. Environmental and energy law is an interdisciplinary field at the nexus of science, business, public policy, human rights, and international relations. Many areas of the law—including corporate, property, real estate, intellectual property, tax, criminal, and contracts—play a role in how governments, corporations, and nongovernmental organizations address threats to the planet and humanity.

How can lawyers aid the fight against climate change and shape the local, national, and global response to environmental threats?

Students engage with leading scholars and practitioners who have spent decades working in environmental litigation and advocacy. Columbia University is devoted to finding new ways to respond to environmental threats across disciplines including through groundbreaking centers, clinics, and institutes, such as the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, and the Earth Institute, home of the Climate School

Why Columbia Law?

Research and write amicus briefs for court cases related to climate change.

Benefit from the Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, which develops legal techniques to combat climate change, trains students and lawyers in their use, and provides up-to-date resources on key topics in climate change law and regulation. 

Provide pro bono representation to community groups and residents who support renewable energy developments, such as wind turbines and solar arrays, but face local opposition.

Investigate mitigation solutions to protect vulnerable populations from humanitarian crises brought on by rising sea levels, heatwaves, floods, droughts, and other disasters that threaten basic needs like food and water.

Collaborate on projects with Columbia University’s renowned Earth Institute, home of the new Climate School, where more than 850 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and students work across disciplines to find solutions for problems in public health, poverty, energy, ecosystems, climate, natural hazards, and urbanization.

Gain hands-on training in the Environmental Law Clinic by representing organizations on a broad array of issues including clean air and water, wetlands preservation, endangered species, and environmental justice.

Delve into the economic and geopolitical issues of the global energy industry by taking classes cross-listed with Columbia’s School for International and Public Affairs.

Engage in programs offered by Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, a partnership between the Law School and Earth Institute.

Making History: Columbia Law School introduced a seminar on environmental law and legislation in the late 1960s taught by Professor Frank P. Grad ’49 LL.B., who wrote the first environmental law book produced at a major law school.

Related Faculty

Related Centers and Programs

Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI)—a joint venture from Columbia Law School and the Earth Institute at Columbia University—is the only university-based applied research center and forum dedicated to the study, practice, and discussion of sustainable international investment. CCSI conducts rigorous research; provides policy analysis and advisory services; offers educational programs; develops tools and resources; and furthers knowledge sharing among policymakers, development advocates, scholars, business leaders, and community stakeholders.

 

The Earth Institute at Columbia University

Widely recognized as the world’s foremost organization addressing the challenges of global sustainable development, The Earth Institute comprises 850 scientists, postdoctoral fellows, staff, and students who work across many disciplines to find solutions for problems in public health, poverty, energy, ecosystems, climate, natural hazards, and urbanization.

Areas of Study

Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law develops legal techniques to fight climate change, trains students and lawyers in their use, and provides the public with up-to-date resources on key topics in climate law and regulation. The center works closely with scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute as well as governmental, nongovernmental, and academic organizations around the world.

 

Areas of Study

Related Experiential Learning Opportunities

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Public Interest/Public Service

No matter what your area of interest, find ways to incorporate public interest and public service into your academic program and career.

Academics Careers