2017 GWC Distinguished Lecture: Professor Mary Wood

Atmospheric Trust Litigation:  Securing a Constitutional Right to a Stable Climate System

Wednesday, September 20th

5:30 p.m.

University of Colorado School of Law

Wolf Law Building, Wittemyer Courtroom

In face of irreversible climate tipping points and the failure of statutory law to control carbon dioxide pollution, youth around the world are suing their governments to act before it is too late.  The campaign, called Atmospheric Trust Litigation, recently won a landmark ruling from a federal district court declaring a constitutional right to a stable climate system.  Professor Wood discusses this litigation in the context of climate urgency and the federal government's policy to spur production of fossil fuels.

Professor Mary Wood

Mary Christina Wood is a Philip H. Knight Professor of Law at the University of Oregon and the Faculty Director of the law school's nationally acclaimed Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center.  She is an award-winning professor and the co-author of leading textbooks on public trust law and natural resources law.  Her most recent book, Nature's Trust: Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age, sets forth a new paradigm of ecological responsibility.  She originated the legal theory called Atmospheric Trust Litigation, which seeks to hold governments accountable to reduce carbon pollution within their jurisdictions.  Further, Professor Wood's research is being used in cases brought on behalf of youth throughout the world.  Professor Wood is a frequent speaker on climate issues and has received national and international attention for her sovereign trust approach to global climate policy.

The Distinguished Lecture is brought to you in partnership with the Getches-Wilkinson Center and the Colorado Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law Review.


Drafting Model Laws on Indoor Air Pollution for Developing and Developed Nations

2012 - Summer Symposium

Thursday and Friday, July 12-13, 2012

Wolf Law Building

The 2012 Summer Symposium was a resounding success. The Colorado Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law Review teamed with Lakshman Guruswamy, the Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law and Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Security at the University of Colorado Law School, and Jude Biggs, a partner at Holland & Hart in Boulder, CO, to co-host the Symposium.

The primary purposes of the Symposium were to discuss the global problem of indoor air pollution from inefficient cook stoves and write model laws to address this challenge. The air pollution that results from inefficiently burning biomass as fuel for cooking has serious health and climatic consequences. The practical and affordable solution to indoor air pollution would be to use more efficient cook stoves that provide better combustion and do not emit black soot. A number of national and international initiatives have been pursuing this solution. These efforts, however, are largely unsupported by any legal scheme that establishes workable cook stove programs and funding. This Symposium produced a Model Law for Developed Nations and a Model Law for Developing Nations, both of which can be implemented to help solve the air pollution problem caused by inefficient cook stoves.

The Symposium featured three speakers: Cynthia Barr, Christian L'Orange, and Lakshman Guruswamy. Cynthia Barr, a founding member of the International Consortium for Law and Development and an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Law, discussed the importance of law as an instrument of social change in developing countries. Christian L'Orange, a Ph.D. candidate at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, discussed the engineering challenges of designing and marketing cook stoves. Lakshman Guruswamy let the roundtable discussions to draft the Model Laws. The symposium attendees included graduate and undergraduate students from multiple departments at the University of Colorado, Boulder, domestic and foreign visiting professors, and other professionals and attorneys. Collectively, the symposium attendees and speakers produced two sets of Model Laws and commentaries to help nations solve the problem of air pollution from inefficient cook stoves: Model Laws for Developing Nations and Model Laws for Developed Nations. Both sets of Model Laws and the commentaries will be published in the Colorado Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law Review.


The Human Impacts of Energy Exploration and Development

2012 – Spring Symposium

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building

The 2011-2012 Annual Symposium featured a panel of five distinguished speakers. Lakshman Guruswamy, the Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law and Director of the Center for Energy and Environmental Security at the University of Colorado Law School, provided introductions and William Boyd, who is an associate professor at the University of Colorado Law School, moderated the panel discussion. Darren Kew, Professor and Executive Director of the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, spoke about oil, corrupt politics, and corporations in the Niger Delta. Alice E. Walker, the managing partner of McElroy, Meyer, Walker & Condon, P.C., discussed the impacts of resource development projects on native communities. Judith Kimerling, Professor of Environmental Law and Policy at The City University of New York, Queens College, shared her thoughts on oil, transnational litigation, and indigenous peoples in the Amazon. Anne Richardson, a partner at Hadsell Stormer Keeny Richardson & Renick, a private plaintiffs' law firm located in Pasadena, used Doe v. Unocal as a case study to discuss corporate accountability for international human rights violations. Kari Lydersen, a Ted Scripps Environmental Journalism Fellow, addressed mining concerns and spoke about the potential impacts of Pacific Rim’s CAFTA lawsuit against El Salvador.


Hydraulic Fracturing: A look into the science, law and policy of one of America’s most contentious issues

2011 – Fall Lecture

Friday, October 28, 2011

Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building

The Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy presented two speakers for a discussion on the science, policy, and law implications of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracing.” Mike Eberhard, the Completion Engineering Manager for Anadarko’s Rockies horizontal wells team, explained the science and technology behind hydraulic fracturing. He also talked about some of the safety and environmental regulations from the industry perspective. He was followed by a presentation by Michael Chiropolos, the Lands Program Director for Western Resource Advocates, on the law and policy of hydraulic fracturing. The focus of his presentation was the impacts of fracing on communities, offering an alternative perspective on the issue.


Designing New Flexibility Mechanisms and Overcoming Technological, Financial and Institutional Challenges

2010 Fall Symposium: Energy Justice Conference

Friday and Saturday, November 5-6, 2010

The 2010 Energy Justice Conference took place on November 5th and 6th, 2010. This event was presented by the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy and the Center for Energy and Environmental Security (CEES).

This working conference focused on mainstreaming appropriate sustainable energy technologies by addressing technological, institutional, and financial challenges. Technology breakout sessions in cooking, illumination, communication, drinking water, and agriculture discussed issues at the forefront of each field. Institutional and financial roundtables explored how the next round of climate change meetings could design post-Kyoto flexibility mechanisms that give credits for the reduction of black carbon, thereby generating capital and incentivizing small projects aimed at the energy poor.


Universities and Law Schools as Incubators: Energy & Environmental Problem Solving

2010 - Spring Lecture

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building

Professor Lakshman D. Guruswamy discussed why law schools should not be confined to training students to solve cases and controversies; why and how universities and law schools should become incubators for solving major local, national, and international energy and environmental problems; why law schools are qualified to do so; and Jeremy Bentham's jurisprudential legacy.

Professor Guruswamy, the Nicholas Doman Professor of International Environmental Law and Director of the Center for Energy & Environmental Security of the University of Colorado, is one of the world's recognized experts in International Environmental Law. He is the author of: International Environmental Law in a Nutshell (2d ed. 2003), Legal Control of Land Based Sea Pollution (1982), and the co-author of: International Environmental Law and World Order (2nd. 1999), Biological Diversity: Converging Strategies (1998), Arms Control and the Environment (2001).


Making Sense of International Environmental Law

2009 - Inaugural Spring Lecture

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wittemyer Courtroom, Wolf Law Building

Daniel B. Magraw gave the first annual lecture of the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy. This first lecture, celebrating the Journal's 20th anniversary, was entitled “Making Sense of International Environmental Law.” Mr. Magraw is the President and CEO of the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in Washington, DC, and before moving to CIEL, Mr. Magraw served as the Director of the International Environmental Law and Policy Office of the U.S. EPA from 1992-2001. A former professor at the University of Colorado Law School, Mr. Magraw was the faculty founder of the Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy. His lecture discussed the state of the field of international environmental law and identified future trends and directions.