CLEAR submits comments on the Draft National Climate Assessment Report
CLEAR has submitted comments on the Draft National Climate Assessment Report, specifically focusing on the chapters related to Adaptation, the Southeast Region, and Coastal Zone Development and Ecosystems.
Professor Flatt to visit at Maryland
For the 2013-2014 academic year, Professor Flatt will be a Visiting Professor at the University of Maryland's Francis King Carey School of Law in Baltimore, Maryland. He will be teaching an integrated course in Torts and legal writing as well as teaching International Environmental Law and introducing his course in Environmental Markets to Maryland's well known program in environmental law, including a certificate and LLM program.
Professor Flatt will continue to lead the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources (CLEAR) at UNC Law School in addition to continuing his role as advisor to students and government in North Carolina. The Maryland visit will allow for collaboration between CLEAR and Maryland's environmental program, particularly concerning the clean-up of the Chesapeake Bay and the issues of water quality trading common to the Bay and North Carolina waterways.
CLEAR Honors Contributions to Clean Air in North Carolina
The Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation, and Resources (CLEAR) at UNC School of Law formally recognized individuals for their contributions to North Carolina’s success in protecting its citizens’ right to clean and healthful air at a luncheon reception on Saturday, Feb. 9.
The first CLEAR award was given to Attorney General Roy Cooper, as well as Marc Bernstein, Jim Gulick and Allen Jernigan in the N.C. Attorney General’s Office; Laura Boothe (posthumously), George Bridgers, John Evans, Sheila Holman and Brock Nicholson at the N.C. Department of the Environment and Natural Resources; John Suttles and Gudrun Thompson from the Southern Environmental Law Center; Chris Browning, former North Carolina Solicitor General; and Professor Don Hornstein, from UNC School of Law.
“The dedication of these individuals serves as an inspiration to all environmental attorneys and public servants and to our future attorneys,” says Victor Flatt, CLEAR director and Thomas F. and Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law.
With the passage of the strict Clean Air Act in 1970, the federal government tasked all states with playing a role in the provision of clean air. In particular, it was recognized that states should avoid actions that would cause harm to the air in another state. Despite this requirement, much upwind pollution traveled to downwind states like North Carolina, impairing the health of its citizens.
“Since 2002, the North Carolina Attorney General’s office and its allies have fought for clean air in North Carolina,” says Flatt. Their work, spanning over a decade, includes a lawsuit against the EPA for failing to respond to a petition under the Clean Air Act against upwind sources of pollution significantly affecting North Carolina; a lawsuit against the Tennessee Valley Authority, which reduced trans-boundary pollution from sources operated by the TVA; and a successful challenge of the EPA’s Clean Air Interstate Rule in the U.S. Supreme Court and the continued work petitioning for a better program for the future.
“With these actions, these environmental legal heroes have lowered the amount of pollution coming into the state from out-of-state sources by decreasing emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides or eliminating sources completely,” says Flatt.
Christopher Browning; Dean Jack Boger; Professor Victor Flatt; Attorney General Roy Cooper; Tom Taft; James Gulick; Marc Bernstein; Allen Jernigan; Gudrun Thompson; and John Suttles.
Attorney General Roy Cooper
Professor Flatt has been selected as Vermont Law School's Distinguished Environmental Scholar for Summer 2013
Victor Flatt, the Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation, and Resources (CLEAR), has been selected to be the Distinguished Environmental Scholar, one of Vermont Law School’s four Distinguished Scholars, for Summer 2013. As a Distinguished Scholar, he will deliver a public lecture, participate in informal social events on campus, and be available to meet with students individually.
Professor Flatt was chosen for his scholarship on the administration and enforcement of environmental and natural resources statutes. With a current focus on climate change adaptation and the frameworks required to support integrating adaptation into environmental, energy and economic policy, Professor Flatt looks forward to continuing his research and sharing it with students during his time at Vermont Law School. “It will be a real pleasure to give a public lecture at Vermont and to work with the students and faculty in their exceptional summer program,” Flatt noted.
Each summer, Vermont Law School invites leaders in environmental, energy, agriculture, and international environmental law to spent two weeks at the school. The other Distinguished Scholars this year are: Professor Alexandra B. Klass, the Julius E. Davis Professor at the University of Minnesota Law School (Energy); Robin Kundis Craig, the William H. Leary Professor of Law at the University of Utah’s S.J.
Quinney College of Law (Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems); and Antonio A. “Tony” Oposa Jr., a Counselor-at-Environmental-Law from the Philippines (International Environmental).
Professor Flatt speaks on Environmental Disasters and facilitates discussion at National Conference on Science, Policy and the Environment
The National Council for Science and the Environment held its 13th
National Conference on Science Policy and the Environment from January 15-17,
2013, in Washington, D.C. This year’s
topic “Disasters and Environment: Science, Preparedness, and Resilience” drew
over 2000 participants from all over the world. Victor Flatt, the Tom & Elizabeth Taft
Distinguished Professor of Law, and Director of the Center for Law,
Environment, Adaptation, and Resources (CLEAR) was invited to present on
“Environmental Emergencies: How to Manage Recent Trends of Climate Change and
In his remarks, Professor Flatt noted how environmental laws
rarely account for so-called secondary emergencies from disasters, that is situations in which natural disasters disrupt the
ability of environmental laws and systems to function, and suggested that this
should be a major reform goal in the United States and around the world.
Along with Rene Nijenhuis, Humanitarian Affairs Officer from
the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs and the United Nations
Environmental Programme (UNEP), and Carl Bruch, Senior Attorney and Co-Director
of International Programs at the Environmental Law Institute, Professor Flatt
also facilitated a broad discussion on making specific recommendations to the
United Nations, and member governments, concerning what needs to be done to
better manage and handle environmental emergencies. Participating in this workshop were
representatives from disaster and environmental response teams worldwide,
including the United Nations, the EU, Sweden, British Columbia, Boston, and the
United States Naval Southern Command.
In addition to the
suggestion to add emergency exception policies to environmental laws, the workshop
group also proposed that resources be made available to local governments to
better integrate and comprehensively plan for climate change, and all kinds of
disasters, before these disasters occur.
Because of its core expertise in climate change adaptation,
and the relation of climate change to natural disasters, CLEAR and Professor
Flatt, along with other units at the University of North Carolina (such as the
Center of Excellence for Natural Disasters and Homeland Security) have been
leaders in the discussion of laws governing disaster management and relief. General information about the conference can
be found at http://www.environmentaldisasters.net/.
Victor Flatt speaks at InterCLIMA 2012
InterCLIMA, which took place in Lima, Peru Oct. 29-31, focused on the progress, challenges, priorities and guidelines for managing climate change within the country. The climate conference included many stakeholder groups and a variety of international speakers on climate change.
While most of the conference was in Spanish, highlights of Professor Flatt's portion of the discussion in English are at 2:12 and 5:58:
Read the press release announcing Professor Flatt's involvement.
CLEAR Releases Sandler Master's Thesis Concerning Analysis of State Disaster Recovery Plans
CLEAR is publishing the Accepted Master's Thesis of UNC Planning student and CLEAR Fellow Dylan Sandler on a proper framework for examining the adequacy of state disaster planning. Mr. Sandler, working with CLEAR and the Center of Excellence for Homeland Security and Disaster Solutions, has exemained the literature and theories about what is required for effective disaster recovery plans, and has proposed a comprehensive framework for analyzing whether state Disaster Planning documents are adequate in terms of public participation, effectiveness, and comprehensiveness. This is the first posting of such a document. Read the thesis.
CLEAR Hires Heather Payne as post-graduate research fellow.
Heather Payne, a 2011 graduate of UNC School of Law, has been hired to expand the role of post-graduate CLEAR Fellow.
Before attending Carolina Law, Heather worked for nine years as a chemical engineer and supply chain executive with Honeywell and Sears Holdings. While in law school, she completed internships with The Nature Conservancy and the Southern Environmental Law Center. After graduation, she clerked for the Honorable Martha Geer at the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
As a full-time Fellow, Heather will drive the implementation of CLEAR’s strategic plan, conduct academic research and coordinate activities and events. She is licensed in the State of North Carolina, the Eastern District of North Carolina, and by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
CLEAR at Rio+20
While there has been marked dispute about whether Rio+20 was a success and how much the conference accomplished, Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation, and Resources Director Victor B. Flatt believes that some progress was made; read Professor Flatt's closing thoughts on Rio+20. Flatt spoke at three side events at Rio+20, including Climate Change Adaptation and Law, Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability, and Legal Barriers to Deployment of Low Impact Energy, added in the final run-up to the conference. CLEAR, as a co-sponsor of the Climate Change Adaptation and Sustainability event, was recognized in the "major groups" attending Rio+20.
Two of the workshops will be further developed, and CLEAR plans to work with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and universities around the world in deploying a program to assist in the systematic analysis and removal of legal barriers to low impact energy deployment. Read the Director's message from before the conference.
CLEAR to Participate in United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio
In June 2012, the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources (CLEAR) at UNC School of Law will be participating in the civil society side events during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) in Rio, Brazil. The conference, known as Rio+20, marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Thousands of participants, including world leaders, policy makers, NGOs, the private sector, and other stakeholders, are expected to attend. As of early May 2012, a total of 193 U.N. member nations had confirmed their participation.
The objective of Rio+20 is to secure an international commitment to sustainable development. The discussions will center around two main themes: (1) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (2) an institutional framework for sustainable development. In addition to these two themes, Rio+20 will focus on seven priority issues: jobs, energy, cities, food, water, oceans and disasters. Participants will review past progress in these areas and consider examples of successful sustainable development to fuel their discussions.
The conference is expected to result in a focused political document that will establish goals and outline commitments for implementing sustainable development measures. Prior to Rio+20, thousands of participants will be meeting to prepare for the conference and create a draft of the document that will later be negotiated at the official discussions in June. The Commission on Sustainable Development, which was created at the UNCSD in 1992, intends for these measures to reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources. Brazilian Environmental Minister Izabella Teixeira has expressed her desire for the conference to end with an obligation from everyone to commit to goals on sustainable production and consumption.
CLEAR Director and UNC School of Law faculty member Victor B. Flatt will be speaking at the civil society side events during Rio+20. These events are not part of the official negotiations, but rather provide a forum for the discussion and examination of critical issues surrounding the conference.
On June 15, Flatt will discuss the role of law in climate change adaptation at the Worldwide Conference of Environmental Jurists. Flatt's scholarship at UNC School of Law focuses on the legislative and regulatory mechanisms needed to address climate change adaptation in the United States, and he recently published a related article in the Florida Law Review entitled "Adapting Laws for a Changing World: A Systemic Approach to Climate Change Adaptation."
In addition, on June 19, CLEAR will be co-sponsoring a half day program on "Climate Change Adaptation, Law and Sustainability" in collaboration with the Environmental Law Institute and the American Society of International Law. The event will address the importance of law and legal systems for effective climate change adaptation, theoretical frameworks for approaching the adaptation of law and policy, and specific examples of these ideas in practice. Flatt will be speaking at the program, along with Carl Bruch of the Environmental Law Institute and representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme.
A Message from the Director on the upcoming conference is available on CLEAR's "Road to Rio" page.
Victor Flatt will be blogging live from Rio. For up-to-date information on Rio+20 as it progresses, as well as news from the civil society side events, follow the blog at http://fuelfix.com/blog/voices/flatt-out-environmental or visit CLEAR's " Road to Rio" page for updated links.
Students Prepare Short Papers for 2012 Environmental Law Symposium
Members of the Environmental Law Project, a student-organized group at UNC School of Law, recently prepared short papers for the 2012 Festival of Legal Learning's Environmental Law Symposium. The papers explored current topics in environmental law, and each focused on one of the following areas: "The Intersection Between Energy Law and Environmental Law", "Hydraulic Fracturing and North Carolina", "Energy and Catastrophes", and "Global Warming and the Energy-Environment Connections of an Emerging Legal Regime."
Papers were edited by second-year law students Joan Blazich, Kate Claflin, Kelsey Feeheley, Janie Hauser, Stephanie Murr, David Roadcap, Asher Spiller, Dan Tracey, Elizabeth Turgeon, Kira Whitacre and Rebecca Yang.
A list of student authors and links to full articles are available.
Victor Flatt Presents ELI Seminar on Federal Climate Change Adaptation
On December 1, 2011, CLEAR Director Victor Flatt presented a seminar on Federal Climate Change Adaptation: Current Efforts, Political Debates, and Future Potential. The seminar was held at the Environmental Law Institute and examined the current state of federal climate change adaptation efforts, existing legal authority for further adaptation policy, and the current political debate surrounding the issue which could affect federal policy making.
An audio recording of the event is available.
Victor Flatt Serves as Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute
CLEAR Director Victor Flatt will serve as a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) this Fall. Flatt is the Tom & Elizabeth Taft Distinguished Professor in Environmental Law. He is a leading scholar in environmental enforcement and has focused on legal approaches to adaptation in the face of climate change. Widely published, six of his articles have been finalists or have been selected among the top 10 environmental law articles of the year. His recent article on state spending on environmental enforcement was singled out as one of the top environmental articles in academia by the 2011 Environmental Law and Policy Annual Review, which is published by ELI.
"I am very excited to collaborate with ELI at this important time in understanding how we are going to move forward in planning climate change adaptation, both domestically and internationally. I have been a fan of ELI's real-world work for a long time and have enjoyed collaborating with them on ideas and articles in the past. I look forward to what can result from close work over a longer period of time." - Prof. Victor B. Flatt.
ELI is an internationally recognized, non-partisan research and education center working to strengthen environmental protection by improving law and governance worldwide. It has played a pivotal role in shaping the fields of environmental law, policy, and management, domestically and abroad. ELI's work conducts impartial analysis of important environmental issues for opinion makers, including government officials, environmental and business leaders, academics, members of the environmental bar, and journalists. ELI's Environmental Law Reporter is the leading site for academics, government officials and private sector attorneys to discuss the important environmental issues of the day.
CLEAR Director Victor Flatt Presents at Workshop on "Disasters and Sociolegal Studies" in Onati, Spain
CLEAR Director Victor Flatt participated in an international workshop on Disasters and Sociolegal Studies on July 21 and 22, 2011, where he presented on the role of non-profit organizations in long term disaster recovery.
The multidisciplinary workshop was held in Onati, Spain, and was hosted by the International Institute for the Sociology of Law. Flatt was among 20 scholars from Australia, Portugal, Spain, Germany and the United States who attended.
The workshop addressed the relationship between sociolegal studies and disaster studies, as well as the legal frameworks and governance structures that apply to disasters, climate change and humanitarian aid. Attending scholars examined these topics in the context of recent disasters such as Hurricane Katrina, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and the earthquakes in Haiti and the Sichuan province in China.
Flatt's presentation on "the role of non-profits in long term disaster recovery and the need for recognition of that role in official long term recovery planning documents" is closely tied to his work at UNC School of Law. As Director of the Center for Law, Environment, Adaptation and Resources (CLEAR), Flatt's work examines the legal frameworks affecting the ability of communities to adapt to climate change. As a part of his scholarship, Flatt examines disaster preparedness and response planning.
Carolina Law Students Participate in Carbon Trading Class with University of Houston business students
A ground-breaking class on "The Practice of Carbon Trading" is being offered simultaneously at the University of North Carolina School of Law and the University of Houston Bauer College of Business. A live video feed links the classroom experience between the two schools, allowing students to learn from the professors and each other. Carolina Law students will partner with Bauer Business students on academic projects designed to tackle climate change issues.
Along with the North Carolina Bar Association, CLEAR presented a Continuing Legal Education Program on cap and trade for greenhouse gases on December 3, 2010
Federal Adaptation Policy under Existing Law Workshop
CLEAR, the Nicholas Institute, and Center for Progressive Reform hosted a workshop of academics, government agents, and the private sector to discuss what path could be taken under existing federal law to address adaptation policy.
Flatt on Copenhagen
Victor Flatt, who attended the recent climate change conference in Copenhagen, shared his personal experience at the FedEx Global Education Center on January 19, 2010. A link to download the video is available from iTunesU. Professor Flatt also spoke at Chapman University's Beyond Copenhagen: An International Conference on Climate Change, on the Physical Science, Energy & Law Panel, on April 23, 2010. You can access the webcasts online.
CLEAR reception for new UK consul General for the Southeast
CLEAR hosted a reception for the new UK consul General for the Southeast, Annabelle Malins, on October 7, 2009. C-G Malins spoke of the UK's commitment to addressing climate change and working with CLEAR on various climate change projects. On October 8, CLEAR assisted with meetings between CG Malins, two UK Members of Parliament, and members of North Carolina's legislative and executive branches.
At the invitation of several law school units, including CLEAR, the German Ambassador to the United States spoke on the U.S.-German Climate Bridge at UNC.
Legal News, Op-eds and Publications
CLEAR releases report on the important role of non-profits in long term disaster recovery. Read the story.
The Institute for Homeland Security Solutions has posted the research brief: Assessing the Disaster Recovery Planning Capacity of the State of North Carolina, the first part of a CLEAR/UNC Center of Excellence for Homeland Security project which addresses how states plan for long term disaster recovery and climate change adaptation.
Council on Environmental Quality releases report on Interagency Approach to Adaptation. Adopts Recommendations of the CLEAR April 2010 workshop.
What if Drilling Goes Really Wrong?
An op-ed by Victor Flatt, published on July 5, 2010 in the Raleigh News & Observer.
CLEAR Research Fellows prepare white paper examining "Best Policies for Reversal in Avoided Deforestation Offsets." The paper examines the mechanisms to ensure environmental integrity in avoided deforestation offsets in the legislative and policy proposals, and proposes that a reserve process should be coupled with an insurance requirement to address failures in the reserve system. The paper also does a market analysis of such an insurance market, and suggests policy changes that might allow the market to develop.
Did a single week reverse energy fortunes forever?
An editorial by Victor Flatt, published on May 8, 2010 in the Houston Chronicle.
Flatt in IndustryWeek
IndustryWeek has quoted Professor Victor Flatt on climate regulation in a recent article, The Future of Energy Part One - Emissions Regulation: A New Era Dawns. Professor Flatt discusses the registering of emissions, as well as whether emissions will be governed by legislation from Congress or by EPA regulations:
The latter is a result no one in industry wants, say Flatt of the University of North Carolina. Though comprehensive legislation passed by Congress might not be perfect, it would be a more palatable solution, crafted in part to help appease industrial interests. EPA regulations, some fear, would be more onerous.
"If the climate bill does not pass this spring, the EPA's going to start regulating," says Flatt. "I'm positive of that. It will look pretty similar to what's been proposed by Congress -- focusing on the same size emitters. But it will come faster than the legislation and won't include some of the regulations on fuel importation that is included in the legislation." (From IndustryWeek.)
Global Warming and Women
An Op-ed by Victor Flatt and Donna Surge on the effects of global warming on the world's women. Featured in the Chapel Hill News & Observer and the Durham Herald-Sun. In a related report released in June 2011, Plan U.K. and the U.K. Department for International Development addressed the disproportionate impact of climate change on adolescent girls in developing countries.
Flatt Blogs on Climate Change for the Houston Chronicle
A regular blog by Victor Flatt, director of CLEAR
Boxer-Kerry an Improvement over ACES on Offsets
A post for CPRBlog by Victor Flatt
UNC and Duke Energy sign contract to develop coastal wind pilot project
An article from UNC News
Group sues to force greenhouse gas regulation
CLEAR professor comments on Texas lawsuit on regulating greenhouse gases