Surveying Climate Change Law


In only 25 years, a dynamic new field of law has taken root. Climate Change Law, the first volume of the Elgar Encyclopedia of Environmental Law, provides a guide to the rapidly evolving body of legal scholarship relating to climate change. In this piece first posted on the LegalPlanet blog , Editor Dan Farber introduces the book.

Climate Change Law, the first volume of Elgar’s Encyclopedia of Environmental Law has just appeared.  There are a number of excellent edited collections about aspects of climate change law. What distinguishes this one is that breadth of the coverage, including both international and domestic aspects of carbon reduction and adaptation to climate change.

The book confirms how quickly climate change has become the subject of a set of sprawling yet interconnected legal structure.  Virtually every country now has some domestic law on the subject, whether from the legislature, the executive, or the courts, and often subnational units like states and cities have taken adopted their own measures.  There are strong interconnections both vertically, between subnational, national, and international law, and horizontally, between individual states and countries across the world.  Moreover, climate change law has interpenetrated many other areas of law, including administrative law, water law, land use law, and energy regulation.

Even in over 750 pages it’s not possible to cover all of these developments in depth, but the chapter authors have managed to bring together a remarkable amount of information. I’m happy to have worked with Marjan Peeters at Maastricht University to assemble a really stellar group of more than fifty authors for this project. It’s the authors, of course, who deserve the real credit for the quality of the book.  We made an effort to get a broad range of authors, including leading scholars on climate change from the United States, the European Union, and Asia. I’m particularly pleased we got contributions from most of the top U.S scholars on climate change and energy law. Among that group is Sean Hecht, my fellow Legal Planet contributor, with a terrific chapter on climate change and insurance.

I’ve appended a list of authors and chapter titles after the fold to give a sense of the scope of the book.  You can also get free public access to the concluding chapter, which sums up the book, here. 

Climate Change Law has come of age as a field.  Given the very long-term effects of climate change, it’s clear that we’re going to be coping with the problem for many decades, if not centuries to come.  We can only hope that the developments discussed in this volume will be the foundation of a successful regime of climate change governance.

Daniel A. Farber is Sho Sato Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley, US


Climate Change Law
edited by Daniel A. Farber and Marjan Peeters,
is out now.

Reposted with many thanks to the Legal Planet blog


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