We've been spending our last summer days going to the beach, visiting national parks, and for some of us, discussing the finer points of geoengineering governance. We're excited to welcome four new fellows to the institute. Classes started this week, believe it or not! More below. 

Sean Hecht , co-executive director, Emmett Institute

This month in Banff, Canada, a group of more than 50 leading experts in geoengineering and post-graduate students, early-career researchers, and professionals explored the societal, political, governance, and ethical aspects of geoengineering.

The summer school was co-sponsored by the Emmett Institute and led by faculty co-director Ted Parson . Learn more.

Photo credit:

In a Los Angeles Times op-ed, Ann Carlson argues that oil and gas companies are desperate to stop the wave of lawsuits seeking to hold them financially responsible for their role in climate change.

Should these suits get to trial, their executives would have to testify about whether they knowingly misled the public about the climate threat posed by their products going back to the 1970s. Read the op-ed .

Photo credit: Daniel Melling

This month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ambitious sustainability plan that calls for phasing out fossil fuels, deriving 80 percent of the county’s water from local sources, and a host of other actions to address climate change and improve quality of life in the region.

Sean Hecht , Harjot Kaur , and Nat Logar contributed to the plan and in a Legal Planet blog post , Kaur notes the county's people-focused sustainability goals and the plan's mechanisms for holding agencies accountable for implementation. Read a press release.

Photo credit: Jake Dobkin
UCLA Law alumnus defends federal ozone standards

Last week, the D.C. Circuit upheld a tightened 2015 standard for ozone pollution against a fierce challenge from industry groups and state petitioners. California stepped up to defend the standard. 
UCLA Law alumnus and deputy attorney general in the California Attorney General's environment section Jonathan Wiener argued in the DC Circuit on behalf of California and several other states, supporting EPA’s rule against claims by industry and state petitioners that the rule was too strict. Read a media release (link to decision at bottom).
Welcoming new Emmett Institute fellows!

The Emmett Institute welcomes four new fellows for two-year faculty appointments at UCLA Law:

  • Holly Jean Buck join us as an Emmett Climate Engineering Fellow with a joint appointment between the Emmett Institute and UCLA Institute on the Environment and Sustainability. Buck was previously a postdoctoral fellow at UCLA IoES and holds a doctorate in Development Sociology from Cornell University and a MSc in Human Ecology from Lund University, Sweden.
  • Charles Corbett joins us as an Emmett Climate Engineering Fellow. Corbett is a 2019 graduate of Harvard Law School.
  • Siyi Shen is an Emmett/Frankel Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy. Shen earned her J.D. from Vanderbilt Law and LL.M. degrees from Berkeley Law and Pace Law School. Shen's fellowship will focus on work involving China. 
  • UCLA Law alumnus Ben Harris is our 2019-21 Shapiro Fellow in Environmental Law and Policy. Harris was previously a judicial law clerk for the Hon. Stephen V. Wilson in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California.

Pictured left to right: Siyi Shen, Charles Corbett, Ben Harris

Photo credit: Daniel Melling
2019 graduates start environmental law fellowships

UCLA School of Law has awarded 14 postgraduate fellowships to 2019 graduates committed to practicing public interest law, including University of California President's Public Service Law Fellowships for two graduates with a focus on environmental law:

  • Kayla Karimi will work at San Francisco Baykeeper, where she will advocate for the protection of San Francisco Bay ecosystems and communities. 
  • Alex Gay will work at Earthjustice’s Washington, D.C. office to protect communities that are exposed to air toxics emitted from industrial facilities.  

Read a press release about the program and donate to the Emmett Institute to support student scholarship and post-graduate fellowships.
August trivia corner

In this month's trivia, we turn our gaze south towards Brazil, where intentional forest fires continue to destroy acres of rainforest:

What are the two principal Brazilian exports that drive human-caused deforestation of the Amazon rainforest? 

Please send responses to Daniel Melling, melling@law.ucla.edu to win an Emmett Institute notebook!

Congratulations to our previous winners who correctly identified the two significant environmental cases in which the late Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion: Mass v. EPA and Chevron v. NRDC.  Our winnners are David Holtzman , Matthew Simmons '20 , and Meredith Hankins , our recent Shapiro Fellow, now serving as a deputy attorney general at California Department of Justice.

Photo credit: Global Forest Watch Fires
Upcoming events and speaking engagements

Emmett Institute faculty are organizing and participating in events and talks over the next few months:

September 9, 2019, 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. | UCLA School of Law, Room 1430
Jeff Opperman, Global Freshwater Lead Scientist at WWF, will describe how growing electricity demands and climate objectives can be achieved while avoiding the negative impacts on the world’s remaining freeflowing rivers posed by high-impact hydropower. Alex Wang will moderate the conversation.  Details/RSVP.

September 13, 2019 | Newport Beach Civic Center, Newport Beach, CA
Ralph Faust will provide an informational presentation on recommendations from his recent Pritzker Brief on increasing transparency, accountability, and opportunities for effective public participation. Details.

October 17-20, 2019 | Yosemite, CA
Emmett Institute faculty and staff will participate in the annual meeting of California environmental lawyers in Yosemite. Sean Hecht will speak on a panel on managing climate change impacts on coastlines. Julia Stein is a member of the California Lawyers Association Environmental Law Section Executive Committee that planned the conference.   Details.

The Governance of Solar Geoengineering: Managing Climate Change in the Anthropocene
November 12, 2019, 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. | UCLA Law, Room 1447
Jesse Reynolds will share insights from his new book on the governance of geoengineering. Ted Parson will moderate.  Details/RSVP.

Photo credit: Todd Cheney
Daniel Melling writes the Emmett Institute newsletter with editing from Sean Hecht and Cara Horowitz. Please send any feedback to melling@law.ucla.edu .
About the Emmett Institute
The Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment is the country's leading law school center focused on climate change and other critical environmental issues. Founded in 2008 with a generous gift from Dan A. Emmett and his family, the Institute works across disciplines to develop and promote research and policy tools useful to decision makers locally, statewide, nationally and beyond. Our Institute serves as a premier source of environmental legal scholarship, nonpartisan expertise, policy analysis and training.   Learn more.