Leading experts in energy, the environment and law gathered at a symposium at UConn School of Law to discuss the U.S. withdrawal from the historic Paris Agreement and the implications for climate change.
Among the speakers at the event, which was titled “Paris, Policy and the Grid: The Future Of Transnational Energy Policy,” were Commissioner Richard Glick of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and Commissioner Robert Klee of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
Nearly 200 countries pledged in the Paris Agreement to work jointly to combat climate change. Less than two years later, the United States announced that it would withdraw the agreement.
Klee said withdrawing “was a misguided and ill-informed decision.” The good news, he said, is that Connecticut is part of a coalition with 16 other states that are moving forward and keeping the terms of the Paris Agreement.
The April 20, 2018, event drew more than 100 students, attorneys and lawmakers to hear from panels of national and international experts.
“There are a lot of people in the room who can change policy,” noted Professor Joseph MacDougald, executive director of the law school’s Center for Energy & Environmental Law, which worked with students from the Connecticut Journal of International Law to organize the symposium.
“We are a public law school and want to be at the center of all debates on law and public policy,” UConn Law School Dean Timothy Fisher said of the conference. “The legal profession needs people who understand the interplay between energy and the environment.”
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Climate and Energy Practice called on law students to help continue the fight to address climate change.
“I hope you students will help the process,” he said, “and develop different principles that could move the world toward something different.”
“Could we lawyers bring new principles to move the world toward something different? I hope so,” he said
Elizabeth Miske ‘18, co-organizer of the symposium, said it is important to discuss climate change.
“It is a pressing topic for not only the region and the country, but the world. It’s important to get leaders in the field in a room and discuss how we can move forward,” she said.
Christopher Kelly ‘19, said law school is the place to begin thinking about issues such as climate change. “It is a place where we who are going right into the field will learn what is going on so we can jump into the fray,” he said.