Spring 2020 Newsletter
Message from the Director

This is a challenging time for all of us as COVID-19 changes our lives in profound ways. We hope that you are staying safe and healthy. We encourage you to review Yale's many resources around the virus . During this time of social distancing, we will continue to share our thinking and our work through digital communications and our various Yale online platforms. We look forward to connecting again in person in the not-too-distant future.

We have had a busy few months here at the Center for Environmental Law & Policy – at least up through early March. Building on last December’s UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid, our Center has continued to pursue cross-cutting research on the policy follow through from the 2015 Paris Climate Change Agreement. We had a number of students at the Conference, who got to see up-close the challenge of keeping up the momentum for climate change action. The push to decarbonize has now, of course, been pushed to the back burner. But I hope that we will see a renewed focus on sustainability in general and the climate change agenda in particular in the second half of the year. For those who are interested, there are a number of online communities working to advance strategies for deep decarbonization including the Sustainable Development Solutions Network .

We also continue to promote the Yale Environmental Dialogue and the commitment of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (which will adopt a new name this summer: Yale School of the Environment or SOE) to being a platform for debate and dialogue on a range of sustainability issues. I have personally been on the road talking about the book we produced last year, A BETTER PLANET: 40 BIG IDEAS FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE , which offers a compilation of policies, strategies, frameworks, concepts, processes, and technologies that might help society shift toward greater sustainability.

We are very pleased that the BETTER PLANET book was chosen by the Financial Times as one of the best books of 2019 , and won an Axiom Book Award Silver Prize. I have done BETTER PLANET book talks at the University of Southern California , Arizona State University , the iconic Politics and Prose Bookstore in Washington DC ( CSPAN Book TV ), Google, Stanford University, University of California (Berkeley), the Yale Club of Los Angeles, the Yale Club of Phoenix, the Yale Club of Italy, the World Affairs Council of Seattle, Mandag Morgan (Danish news magazine), the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), Town Hall Seattle , and the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco .

Finally, we plan to release the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) in June. We have been planning to make the 2020 EPI public at the World Conservation Congress in Marseille (France). We are not sure whether this gathering will go ahead as planned, but we will launch the 2020 rankings and report in any case at some point this summer. The 2020 EPI expands the number of indicators we track across the spectrum of Environmental Public Health and Ecosystem Vitality to more than 30, including a new solid waste management metric and improved data on greenhouse gas emissions and other key measures of sustainability. We will keep you posted on the evolving EPI release game plan.

I am pleased to share with you the below updates that highlight the news from our Center on research, upcoming events, and ongoing projects. I am grateful for your interest and support.

                                                             Dan Esty
Director, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy

News and Blogs
Center Director Dan Esty Promotes "A Better Planet"
Professor Dan Esty, Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy, has been promoting "A Better Planet: Forty Big Ideas for a Sustainable Future." Esty is editor of the new book, which has been featured in many media outlets including Resources Magazine , The Economist , and Seattle K-5 news . The book brings together insights to combat climate change from forty of the biggest and best environmental thought leaders.

For full news coverage and other updates, visit our media page here and our blog post here .
COP 25: A Climate Event Marked by Contrasts
In December, students from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies attended COP 25 hosted by Chile and held in Madrid, Spain. The goal of COP is to help make international decisions on climate change mitigation and adaptation and to review the national contributions and emissions submitted by each nation.

To learn more about one student's experience, read our blog post .
2020 Environmental Performance Index - Coming Soon
Stay tuned for details about the upcoming release of the 2020 Environmental Performance Index (EPI).

The 2020 EPI expands on the 2018 findings, which ranked 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across ten issue categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality. These metrics provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to reaching established environmental policy goals.

Read the 2018 EPI findings here .
How Trade Policy Can Help Fight Climate Change
Cool Heads in a Warming World: How Trade Policy Can Help Fight Climate Change is the Center's latest publication. This series of essays, authored by leading trade experts, emerged from the the trade and climate change workshop hosted by the Center last year.

"Cool Heads" details the important role trade plays in combating the impacts of climate change. Center Director Dan Esty and Professor Sue Biniaz edit this exciting new series of essays, available online only here .


Amanda Maxwell and Sustainability in Latin America

Amanda Maxwell, director of the Latin America Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council, discusses sustainable capital for Latin America, climate change challenges in the region, and challenges and opportunities in North American trade.

Listen to the podcast on the Center's website .

Research Assistant Spotlight

Meet Liam!

 Liam Gunn is a first year Masters of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES). At F&ES, he specializes in environmental policy analysis, with an emphasis on environmental economics. Before Yale, Liam was a Program Manager at The Mentor Group, where he managed a constitutional and economic law peer group of U.S. & E.U. justices, regulators, diplomats, and flag officers. Liam graduated Bowdoin College with a degree in Government, Environmental Studies, and Economics. At Bowdoin, he also led the first nonpartisan voter registration movement as the inaugural Election Engagement Fellow, and led a volunteer trip to New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward focusing on environmental justice.

To learn more about our research assistants, visit our RA page .

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