Using the Law to Solve Climate Change: What Can Pennsylvania Do?

On October 8, 2018, the United Nations scientific panel charged with tracking climate change issued a special report that dominated international headlines for days. The report painted a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and noted that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

What can we do to avoid the predicted catastrophic effects of climate change? 

That will be the subject of an important program on November 28, 2018, at 12:00 pm, hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association. Co-hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change, the program will address (1) the legal landscape for solutions to climate change, (2) the case for carbon pricing policies, (3) the authority under Pennsylvania law for carbon pricing; and (4) a specific proposal for using carbon pricing to make Pennsylvania a leader in fighting climate change while generating revenues for the Commonwealth.

Further program details can be found here: http://www.philadelphiabar.org/App/WebObjects/PBAReadOnly.woa/wa/eventNotification?style=1&eventID=0450L

Register for the program here: https://www.philadelphiabar.org/page/EventDetails?appNum=5&eventID=0450L.

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Lawyers Fighting Climate Change Take Inspiration from Those Who Fought for Civil Rights #ClimateLaw

On April 28, 2017, a group of leading lawyers, law professors, and law students will convene in person and on the internet at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC, for the First National Conference of Lawyers Committed to Addressing the Climate Emergency. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Check it out at www.climatechangecle.org

These lawyers can take inspiration from the civil rights movement and specific events in 1963.

In June of 1963, the racial climate in parts of the United States was bad, and nowhere worse than in Alabama, where law enforcement had taken sides against the civil rights protesters with police dogs, night sticks, and fire hoses. Alabama Governor George Wallace declared that he would disregard the federal court order that prohibited interference with the admission of African-American students at the University of Alabama.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Geraldine Segal challenged her husband, attorney Bernard G. Segal: “Well, what is the bar of the nation doing about this? What should you be doing?”

Attorney Segal took his wife’s challenge seriously, and with the help of another lawyer, Jerome J. Shestack, set about calling leaders of the bar across the country. The following Tuesday, a total of forty-six lawyers from around the country joined in a statement published in two Alabama newspapers calling on the governor of Alabama to respect the rule of law.

That same day, June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech on civil rights by radio and television from the Oval Office in which he proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After that speech, he learned about the statement published by the bar leaders and issued a call to the bar for leaders of the legal community to join him for a meeting at the White House.

Later that same month, 244 leaders of the American legal community met in the White House where President Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy urged the lawyers to use their training and influence to move the struggle for the protection of civil rights from the streets to the courts.

The need for action on civil rights in the summer of 1963 was undeniable. The need for action on climate change now is undeniable. Just as the support of the legal community was needed in 1963 on civil rights, so too is it now needed on climate change.

Please register to join us live or via the internet at www.climatechangecle.org. Also, if you would like to become a financial sponsor of the conference, please contact Brett Korte at korte@eli.org or 202-939-3852.

Photo credit: Michael M. Koehler

Now More Important than Ever: Legal Conference in Philadelphia on Climate Change

The result of the American presidential election highlights the need for bipartisan support for fighting climate change. The law and legal framework proposed to date can be used to build a variety of solutions to climate change, including harnessing the power of free markets to stimulate investment and growth in alternative energy supplies and technology. With the recent report from the science community that more needs to be done sooner to address climate change, our future will depend on our ability as a society to come together in support of reasonable laws to address the problem.

Our November 16 all-day CLE program will focus on the legal, policy, economic, and ethical issues involved in fighting climate change. Our outstanding speakers will address the impact the election will have on our efforts to fight climate change, the promotion of new technologies, and the chance for the United States to become the world leader in alternative energy and technologies, while at the same time supplying jobs at home.

In short, with the election of a new president the topics to be addressed on November 16 could not be more important. We hope you will consider attending. Learn more about our speakers and agenda and for a link to register go to www.climatechangecle.org