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MAR 25, 2019 MONDAY

Faculty Spotlight: John Dernbach co-edits book on deep decarbonization

In 2015, the leaders at the Paris climate talks issued a challenge to 200 countries to drastically reduce their production of greenhouse gases by 2050.

Since then, Prof. John Dernbach, director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, has been assembling a “playbook” for enabling the United States to address decarbonization.

The new book, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, provides more than 1,000 legal recommendations, contributed by 59 experts, on 35 topics about achieving deep decarbonization in the Unites States. The legal options outlined in the book apply to the federal, state, and local levels, and to private actors.  They convey the simple message that deep decarbonization is achievable in the Unites States using laws that exist or that could be enacted. The book is co-edited by Michael B. Gerrard, professor of professional practice at Columbia Law School.

The book is based on two reports by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) that explain technical and policy pathways for reducing the U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050.

“Our book fills an important gap by describing and analyzing what laws are needed to accomplish significant level of decarbonization,” said Dernbach. “It’s geared for lawyers, policymakers, and anybody who has an interest in  decarbonization.  It contains an index of recommendations so that local governments, public utility commissions, and other actors can easily find all of the recommendations relevant to them regardless of what chapter in the book those recommendations are made.” 

A second, shortened version of the book is also available. The Summary and Key Recommendations includes a thumbnail summary of each chapter, key recommendations by chapter, and a separate listing of recommendations organized by actor.   There are more than 500 key recommendations in the summary version of the book.  

Dernbach is a nationally recognized authority on sustainable development, climate change, and environmental law. He is also the director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, and teaches courses on property, environmental law, and sustainability. He writes and lectures on sustainable development, climate change, and environmental law.