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Topics in Legal Studies (376-0-23)


Climate Change Law and Policy


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 12:30PM - 1:50PM

Overview of class

Climate Change Law and Policy - Winter 2024

This course examines the potential role of the law in confronting climate change from an institutional and policy perspective, examining the role of treaties, national legislation (in the United States), sub-national responses and judicial and quasi-judicial fora. Among the topics that will be addressed include the science associated with climate change, the role of key international climate treaty regimes, including the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement, national and state and local responses to climate change in the United States, the role of litigation in confronting major emitters, and the potential role of climate geoengineering approaches. It will also seek to help students develop critical skills of analysis of treaty provisions, legislative language, and court decisions, public speaking and cogent writing.