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Topics in Legal Studies (376-0-22)


Ocean Law and Politics


William Charles Geoffrey Burns
1808 Chicago Avenue
Office Hours: call or email
Dr. Wil Burns is a Visiting Professor at Northwestern and Professor of Research and Founding Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University in Washington, DC. He serves as the Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law Section of the American Branch of the International Law Association. Previously, he served as well as President of the Association of Environmental Studies & Sciences and was the 2019 recipient of the organization’s Lifetime Achievement War for Scholarship and Service in the field. His research agenda includes: climate geoengineering, climate loss and damage, and the effectiveness of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System. He received his Ph.D. in International Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law and is the author of more than 85 publications.

Meeting Info

Harris Hall L28: Mon, Wed 11:00AM - 12:20PM

Overview of class

Ocean Law and Policy- Winter 2024

The world's oceans, encompassing 70% of the world's area and 90% of its volume, are essential to life on Earth. However, they are increasingly imperiled by an array of anthropogenic stressors, including pollution, overexploitation of natural and non-living resources, and climate change. This class will focus on both the threats posed to ocean ecosystems, including impacts on marine living resources. The focus of the course will be on the role of international law, including treaties and customary international law, in addressing threats to the world's oceans. A large portion of the course will focus on the provisions of the so-called "constitution for the oceans," the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.