Environmental Justice, Energy, and Climate Seminar
What are "Super Wicked Problems," "No Analogue Futures," "Black Swan Events" and "Toxic Hot Spots"? These are newly minted terms that are used to describe issues arising in the field of environmental justice, climate law, energy law and an emerging area of study colloquially termed "disaster law." What these issues have in common is first, that they describe problems that tend to be interrelated and reinforce each other, and second that they challenge existing legal frameworks designed to address more conventional environmental problems. This seminar will examine some of these issues. Seminar participants will consider, for example, why the current Clean Air Act is ill-equipped to address climate change, why the Endangered Species Act cannot adequately aid in the recovery of the recently listed polar bear, why cancer clusters and toxic hot spots have evaded redress under environmental statutes that regulate toxic chemicals, why environmental statutes failed to prevent disasters like the B.P. oil spill, and why utility regulation may unintentionally provide disincentives for transitioning to cleaner, renewable forms of energy. Students may submit a research paper on a range of topics in the environmental, energy, climate and environmental justice area. The paper will be a substantial portion of the grade and may be used to help meet the UNMSOL writing requirement.