Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics Newsletter

Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics Newsletter: Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Message From The Directors

Victor Flatt
As you can see from our lead story, we have some wonderful changes happening here at the newly renamed Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics (CE3).  The name change goes along with our expanded mission to engage the intersection of these 4 issues.  With new funding from the Duke Energy Foundation, we will be able to host workshops with students, practitioners, academics and government workers to try and focus on the most important issues that should be considered, and then examine these with directed student research and advanced workshops.

The new funding will also allow us to offer the first full tuition academic scholarship to a student interested in pursuing a career in the overlapping areas.

As we begin our engagement with the sustainable energy mix of the future, in April, we will be hosting our first joint workshop with the Center for Banking and Finance and the Environmental Finance Center to look at laws and policies affecting the financing of solar energy.

Welcome to CE3!

Featured Article

UNC School of Law Center for Climate, Energy, Environment and Economics

CE3 unofficial logo

With a leadership gift from the Duke Energy Foundation, additional funding from the Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professorship in Environmental Law, the C. Boyden Gray Distinguished Professorship in Energy Law, and contributions from the UNC Environmental Law Project (ELP) alumni, the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources (“CLEAR”) is expanding its mission to become the nation’s first law center specifically devoted to the intersection of climate, energy law, environmental law, and economic development.  This continues UNC Law School’s longstanding commitment to addressing environmental, energy, climate, and adaptation issues with hands on student projects and education.

In recognition of its expanded role, CLEAR will be renamed the UNC Law Center for Climate, Energy, Environment, and Economics. (CE3).  CE3 will work on moving climate, energy, environment, and economic development policies out of silos so that these issues can be considered together.  CE3 will provide a university based forum to reach out to stakeholders in government, business and the community to learn about concerns, examine these concerns, and bring together important thinkers and decision makers from the current energy, environment, climate, and development worlds.

CE3 will continue to make training UNC law students in environmental, energy, and climate law its primary mission.  It will carry out that mission by engaging the most important issue facing our country today:  how to protect the environment, including the environment of disadvantaged communities, and address the challenges associated with climate change while providing adequate affordable energy resources and encouraging economic development.  Our work, which will focus on the complex interactions between energy and environmental laws and regulations; their impacts on the public; the role of public policy in promoting deployment of innovative energy technologies; and the process by which engagement occurs, will provide an objective, fact-based forum for scholars, practitioners, NGO representatives, government officials, and students to identify and evaluate the most pressing energy and environmental policy challenges.

  • CE3 is an educational resource for Carolina Law students.  It will provide enhanced, real-world education on the intersection of laws and policies governing energy, environment, climate and economic development. Students will learn by working hand-in-hand with outstanding Carolina Law faculty members, academic and non-profit partners, and legal practitioners.  The Center’s white papers and projects will inform policymakers, industry leaders and practitioners on legal issues surrounding energy provision and environmental protection. CE3 will fund a full tuition scholarship and summer employment for an incoming law student to study the intersection of these issues.
  • CE3 will provide continuing education to the business, legal and political communities in North Carolina and the nation on the fast changing intersection of energy, environment, climate, and economic development.
  • High-level discussion fora and policy papers are a key objective. CE3 will identify key policy and legal issues for discussion and analyses. Through them, Carolina Law will place itself squarely in the midst of the important national and international conversation needed at the intersection of these crucial issues.
  • In partnership with other centers and UNC partners, CE3 will provide a regular, welcoming forum for the state’s and the country’s legal, political and business elite, engaging them in discussions about energy, climate and environmental risks and opportunities emerging in the 21st century.

We look forward to this new iteration of our existence, and welcome all of you to continue this journey with us!

Recent News

Environmental Justice Seminar Offered at Carolina Law

This spring, Professor Savasta-Kennedy is offering an Environmental Justice course, which she is co-teaching with SELC attorney and alum Chandra Taylor. The class is a skills-based, transition to practice course that teaches students how to identify and address environmental injustice in various settings, while exploring professional and ethical responsibilities to clients and to the legal system. 

Professor Hornstein Chairs UNC-wide Task Force on the Environment

Tasked by the Provost to shepherd a vision for "The Environment@Carolina: Redefining the 21st Century Public Research University Through Innovation in Environmental Research, Education, and Engagement," Prof. Hornstein has been leading a diverse group of faculty in developing this potential pan-campus environmental unit. Envisioned to be larger than a single department, the vision encompasses interconnectivity between units at Carolina and frequent interdisciplinary coordination, unifying the currently disparate efforts across the university. 

To reach critical mass, the Environment@Carolina envisions hiring a strategic cluster of faculty.  In addition to these faculty, existing faculty will also have the potential to be appointed as "Fellows" for a specific term.  Along with affiliated graduate students, this structure will ensure research in core areas.  An external advisory committee - with diverse backgrounds - will help guide by providing advice.  Unlike efforts at interdisciplinary environments which have occurred previously, the Environment@Carolina also envisions a core physical space.

With this process and structure, the Environment@Carolina aims to help Carolina become one of the top ten universities in environmental research.  While Carolina has proven success in NIH and NSF grants in medicine and other areas, the new Environment@Carolina will enable focus on "environmental" grant funding.  Grant funding and research work at the Environment@Carolina would be focused in three areas: Human Health and the Environment, Sustainability, and Global Change and the Environment.  Four cross-cutting themes would provide key research areas: 1) analytics, big data, bioinformatics, and modeling; 2) ethics, discourse, and social values; 3) public institutions and system design; and 4) markets and economic incentives. 

While there are no details yet about if or in what form the Environment@Carolina will go forward, we all thank Prof. Hornstein for his energy to moving the conversation forward!

Environment and Energy Externship Update

Externships continue to provide a broad range of practical experiences for students interested in environmental law.  During the fall semester, 3L Erin Carter spent a Semester in Practice externing with the DOJ Environmental Enforcement Division at DOJ headquarters in Washington DC.  Locally, Rich Pepper externed with EPA Air Quality Division, while Preston Dole and Brett Fox externed with the Southern Environmental Law Center.  Aaron Jones externed with the NC Attorney General, Air & Natural Resources section in the fall, and Jenn Fredette is externing there this spring.  Alum and former ELP'r Asher Spiller served as both Aaron and Jenn's site supervisor.  Issac Vargas and Racheal Hammond dove in to the work of Triange Transit, and Shay Raja continues their work with the organization this semester.  Coming up, Ethan Blumenthal will extern with the South Carolina Environmental Law Project through the Summer School Externship Program. 

New Scholars Profiled!

Since our last newsletter, we have profiled Daniel H. Cole (November 2015), David L. Markell (December 2015), Ann E. Carlson (January 2015), Joshua P. Fershee (February 2016), and Alexandra B. Klass (March 2016).  Keep up to date by going to our Scholars page or by liking CE3 on Facebook or following us on Twitter or Instagram (@UNCCE3), where the new profile is posted monthly.    

What We're Reading: The TMAC Future Conditions Interim Report

Established by Congress, the Technical Mapping Advisory Committee (TMAC) was established to make recommendations to FEMA regarding the national flood mapping program.  Published in 2015, the report details seven primary recommendations for incorporating the best available climate science and using the best available methodologies when considering the impacts of sea level rise and future development on flood risk.  With the goal of making the "Nation more resilient to flood hazards through the effective identification and communication of flood hazards risk," recommendations include providing projected future conditions flood risk tools and information with the effects of long-term erosion and sea level rise incorporated and ensuring flood risk messages that accurately and meaningfully reflect future hazards.

Save the Date! CE3 lectures at Carolina Law March 23rd and 24th

CE3 is excited to welcome both Carl Bruch and Professor Alexandra Klass to Carolina Law.  Both lectures will take place at 5:00 pm in Room 5046 of the law school.  

On Wednesday, March 23rd, Carl Bruch will lecture on Beyond Paris: Compliance and Enforcement Considerations to Realize NDCs.  

The Paris Agreement represents an innovative approach to addressing climate change through the adoption of Nationally Determined Contributions.  Through their NDCs, countries have voluntarily committed to reducing greenhouse gases.  Now that delegations have returned to their capitals, governments are developing approaches to achieve the emissions reductions necessary to meet their NDCs.  In this lecture, Carl Bruch will highlight considerations for countries to promote compliance and enforcement with their domestic climate change laws and policies.  He will examine past experiences with environmental compliance and enforcement, drawing lessons for countries as they seek to achieve the mitigation goals articulated in NDCs.  Carl Bruch is the Director of International Programs at the Environmental Law Institute, and the Managing Director of the International Network on Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE), hosted by ELI.  This lecture is co-sponsored by the Coastal Resilience Center as part of their speaker series.

On Thursday, March 24, Professor Alexandra Klass will lecture on Future Proofing Energy Transport Law.

The U.S. energy system is critical to every aspect of the nation’s economy and daily life. That energy system, in turn, is completely dependent on U.S. energy transport infrastructure—the oil pipelines, natural gas pipelines, electric transmission lines, and import and export facilities that allow for the cost-effective and rapid transportation and distribution of the energy resources that power the country. This lecture will explore how the law can influence the billions of dollars in private sector energy transport investments necessary to meet current energy needs, address the technological and market shifts in the energy sector, and implement present and future clean energy goals and mandates. In other words, it considers how policymakers can attempt to “future-proof” energy transport laws to deliver the growing array of present and future fossil fuels and renewable energy resources to consumers. This includes describing the rapidly changing nature of the U.S. energy economy as well as the development, current status, and key challenges of the U.S. energy transport infrastructure; analyzing in greater detail a select group of federal and state laws that regulate the planning, permitting, and construction of energy transport infrastructure; and drawing on the earlier examples to set forth criteria policymakers should consider in creating laws and regulations to govern energy transport infrastructure that focus on federalism principles, flexibility in the location and amount of energy resources, and clean energy goals. It then analyzes two current energy transport debates to apply these criteria—whether to transfer more siting authority for interstate electric transmission lines to the federal government and whether to transport new sources of North American oil primarily by an upgraded rail system or by expanded pipeline infrastructure.  Alexandra B. Klass is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor at the University of Minnesota School of Law.  She teaches and writes in the areas of energy law, environmental law, natural resources law, tort law, and property law.

We hope many of you will join us!  Questions?  E-mail

Energy Moot Court Team Advances and Wins Best Brief Runner-Up

The Holderness Energy Moot Court team, comprised of 2Ls Kristin Athens, Brooklyn Hildebrandt, and Jenica Hughes, won Best Brief Runner-Up at the National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition, hosted by the West Virginia University School of Law.  In addition to the brief award, the team advanced to the Round of 16.

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