Attorneys to Tackle Climate Change at November 16th CLE


November 16, 2016

The Law Firm of Drinker Biddle
One Logan Square, Ste. 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19103

CLE Provided by the Philadelphia Bar Association
7.5 credit CLE course, including one ethics credit

A Call to the Bar, the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council are convening lawyers and others concerned about our global future on November 16 to engage the legal community in climate change awareness, education, and action. Economist and author Jeffrey D. Sachs to address group from UN Climate Change Conference.

PHILADELPHIA (October 17, 2016) – With the evidence now overwhelming that carbon pollution is driving climate change, leading experts are coming together with the area legal community on November 16, 2016, at the law firm of Drinker Biddle to focus on this important question:

How can the legal community serve as a catalyst for action to address climate change?

Kicking off the discussion will be Jeffrey D. Sachs, the world-renowned economist, leader in sustainable development, and UN advisor, who will speak remotely from the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, where global leaders and experts will be discussing the next steps in implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted last year. The bestselling author and syndicated columnist Sachs has been called “probably the most important economist in the world,” by the New York Times.

Participants will hear from leading attorneys, state and federal government officials, and experts on energy and the environment on topics such as: the legal framework for addressing the challenge, the need for much stronger and quicker action, the economic case for action, legal and economic issues specific to Pennsylvania, and the ethical and philosophical argument for action by lawyers and others. Megan Ceronsky, Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to the President, will speak on a panel discussing the the Clean Power Plan. John Quigley, Senior Fellow at Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and former PA Secretary of Environmental Protection, will share unique insights over lunch into the challenge here in Pennsylvania. The day will close with a hands-on discussion of what lawyers can do to spur action toward climate solutions.

“Attorneys have a vital role in responding to the threat of climate change,” said Steve Harvey, an attorney who founded A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change. “We need to get beyond the politics and find sensible, decisive solutions so we can preserve the planet for ourselves and our children.”

The event will be held at the law firm of Drinker Biddle, One Logan Square, Ste. 2000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-6996. Please note that this is the new location, as the event was originally planned and announced for the Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. Attorneys are eligible to receive seven and a half CLE credits, including one ethics credit. For registration and sponsorship information, please visit or contact Tara Phoenix at 215-238-6349 or by e-mail at


Check out the full itinerary and list of speakers here:

Why Every Lawyer Should Care About Climate Change

On November 20, 2015, the House of Delegates of the Pennsylvania Bar Association will consider a resolution calling for government to acknowledge and act on the urgent problem of climate change caused by human activity. As a supporter of the resolution, I have been asked “why is this an issue for lawyers and the bar association?”

In my view it comes down to a question of justice, as the undeniable effects of climate change will include disruption of the life, liberty, and property of people in our country and throughout the world. Solutions are available. They need to be debated, adopted, and expressed in law. But social, political, and economic forces prevent many elected officials from even acknowledging the problem, much less pursuing solutions.

As a community of lawyers, one of our primary concerns should be furtherance of justice. Faced with one of the greatest challenges our society has ever faced, it is right that lawyers should speak out in favor of solutions through law. This falls squarely within PBA’s mission: the advancement of jurisprudence, promotion of justice, protection of the disadvantaged, and advancement of proper legislation.

In June of 1963, President John F. Kennedy convened 244 leading lawyers from throughout the United States, including leaders from the state bars and the American Bar Association, to a meeting at the White House where he asked for their support on civil rights through law.

Days before that meeting, the President gave one of the most important speeches of his life, calling on “every American” to “stop and examine [their] conscience” on the subject of racial justice.

The need for action on civil rights in the summer of 1963 was undeniable. As President Kennedy recognized, “events in Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.”

The need for action on climate change is now 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.


Steve Harvey

President, A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense for Climate Change



This is an excerpt of an article that was originally published in the October 2015 issue of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Environmental & Energy Law Section Newsletter. Click here to read the full newsletter, including the full resolution and full article (located on page 6)