Call for Contributions: New Teaching Resource

We are in the process of developing a new component for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Academy of Environmental Law Climate Change Law Teaching Project, a collection of lecture materials.  Readers of this blog are encouraged to submit pertinent materials for posting on the site. This can include note lecture notes, Power Point presentations, or audio-visual lectures. Lecture materials in languages other than English are particularly welcome. Please submit your materials to my attention at: [email protected].

Also, we are seeking additional pertinent syllabi for the syllabus bank that we established on the site last year. thanks, wil burns

New Book: Carbon Law & Trading


n Carbon Trading Law and Practice , author Scott D. Deatherage provides practitioners with a comprehensive practical guide to the US and international practice of carbon emissions trading. The book includes a comprehensive examination of climate change, emissions trading, international and EU law, other reduction programs, carbon credit financing, and the US regulatory regime for emissions trading.

The use of market-based systems as a means of regulating emissions and other environmental pollution or degradation is a growing phenomenon. As nations and states appear to be responding to scientific pronouncements regarding the existence and causes of climate change, environmental markets appear to be one of the main tools that will be used to address greenhouse gas emissions. Carbon Trading Law and Practice provides the fundamental explanation and the underlying legal systems and issues that serve to create and sustain carbon credit creation and the trading of these credits, and a series of related legal and business issues.


  • Excellent guide for practitioners involved in the voluntary credit market or the developing market for those that will be required to meet greenhouse gas emission restrictions in the future
  • Comprehensive treatment of the areas of law surrounding carbon trading, including accessible explanations of key issues and terms
  • Written by an experienced environmental law practitioner

Product Details

346 pages; 7 x 10; ISBN13: 978-0-19-973221-0ISBN10:

About the Author(s)

Scott Deatherage has practiced environmental law for the last 20 years, and currently is the head of Thompson & Knight’s Climate Change and Renewable Energy Practice Group. He has negotiated carbon credit purchase agreements and advised clients on investing in carbon credit transaction. He also counsels clients on climate change regulation on their facilities. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School where he served as the Articles Editor of The Harvard Environmental Law Review.

New series on additionality issues

For those readers who teach advanced climate change courses, the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute’s new three-part paper series on the nettlesome issue of additionality could be an excellent set of readings for students.

Below is a summary by GGMI of the series:

What is Additionality? Part 1: A long standing problem

Part 1 looks at the history of the concept and addresses —and attempts to resolve—some of the problems with definitions used to date. The paper makes the bold claim that the way we have thought about additionality in the climate change policy and carbon markets community has been based on a circular definition. It then offers improved definitions of both additionality and baseline for use by scholars and offset program policy makers. (Download Part 1 here.)

What is Additionality? Part 2: A framework for a more precise definition and standardized approaches

Part 2 goes further by looking at the application of the additionality and baseline concepts to standardized approaches. This paper examines the issue at a theoretical level incorporating guidance from social science and program evaluation. It provides an intellectual framework for thinking about additionality and baselines when the key concept of a policy intervention is included. (Download part 2 here.)

What is Additionality? Part 3: Implications for stacking and unbundling

Part 3, lastly, applies the concepts developed above to the issue of offset credit stacking. It concludes with specific options of how to implement a credible additionality assessment process where a single project has the potential to earn more than one type of offset credit. (Download part 3 here.)


Paper on Legitimacy/Effectiveness of the UNFCCC

A new paper by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs would be an excellent reading for a law school course or graduate course in international affairs, as it does an excellent job of addressing the interface of procedural questions and institutional legitimacy within the UNFCCC, as well as the nexus of effectiveness and legitimacy.

Among the paper’s take-aways:

  1. Given the fact that the current political climate militates against the establishment of a binding successor protocol to Kyoto, there’s been increasing focus on the possibility of developing at least an interstitial response through resolutions of the COP. However, there is a serious question about whether such decisions are legally binding on the parties to the UNFCCC;
  2. The consensus of international law scholars is that COP resolutions are not binding in a formal sense, but it’s difficult to generalize between regimes given different salience accorded such decisions in different regimes;
  3. Due to Saudi Arabia’s position, the COP of the UNFCCC has never adopted its proposed Rules of Procedure; thus, it has operated under draft rules  without procedures for voting, agreeing that decisions are to be take by “consensus;” but even this term is vague, as the UNFCC has adopted decisions before even with limited opposition, e.g. in 1997 when Saudi Arabia lodged objections;
  4. If the legitimacy of a regime is not to be derived from consensus, an alternative basis for legitimacy must exist; the other loci of legitimacy in regimes such as the UNFCCC are: 1. science; 2. procedural sources, i.e. “how many governments are allowed at the table, how equal the terms will be;’ and 3. the actual impact of the regimes’ norms, i.e. social judgments about “acceptable performance.” Thus, while the legitimacy of a regime contributes (or detracts) from its effectiveness, so also may the effectiveness of a regime. The perceived ineffectiveness of the climate regime, including the failure at Copenhagen to develop a binding regime, has undermined the legitimacy of the regime;
  5. The decision at the 16th COP to adopt a decision on longer term responses to climate change despite the objection of Bolivia, thus re-interpreting the meaning of the term “consensus” may stimulate the parties to address decision making procedures with renewed urgency. This may be particularly important because the UNFCCC in the future may have to make decisions that respond to the work in other fora, e.g. the G-20;
  6. It’s important to maintain the role of the UNFCCC in the climate policy process, as it provides a voice and some leverage to the most vulnerable States of the world that other fora, e.g. the G-20 do not.

Online Climate Change Field Courses

CSDi is announcing the March launch of a diploma module of four online
Community Based Adaptation to Climate Change field courses. These
courses begin by introducing basic climate change concepts, and develop
as participants identify local community vulnerabilities, identify
climate change risks and hazards, investigate appropriate solutions,
design M&E plans, develop full projects, launch and manage them.

Complete information and course syllabi:

Online course participants are using our courses to develop real,
on-the-ground projects with real communities—both individually and
through North/South student partnerships. People from 92 different
countries and 200 organizations used CSDi online courses to develop
projects in 2010 impacting 70.000 people.

OL 341. Adapting to Climate Change: Designing & Funding Community-Based
Adaptation Projects.
March 15 – May 16, 2011.
Gain an insight into contemporary methods of developing community based,
sustainable, impact-oriented projects. Gain practical field tools and
develop a range of skills: facilitating participatory needs assessments,
designing projects, and evidence-based activities. Develop a real
project in real time.

OL 342. Adapting to Climate Change: Planning for Impact.
May 17 – June 27, 2011.
Imbed impact into your adaptation project design with a powerful set of
management tools. Log frames, detailed budgets, timelines, compelling
fact sheets, M&E plans, outcomes and impact. These tools will
communicate to donors and stakeholders exactly what you are trying to
accomplish and can be used for effective management of the project once

OL 343. Adapting to Climate Change: The Community Focus.
July 5 – August 29, 2011.
What does climate change adaptation mean at the community level? What
practical tools are available today for communities to use in
adaptation? Conduct a baseline survey of climate vulnerability, an
adaptation capacity analysis, and gain an understanding of local
knowledge of a changing climate and of coping strategies. For
practitioners who wish to begin working now at the community level to
successfully adapt to the challenges that face us.

OL 344. Adapting to Climate Change: Sustainable Implementation.
September 6 – October 17, 2011.
How do you launch and implement a community based adaptation project?
The importance of community engagement and project co-management.
Developing skill sets for your community to use in the adaptation
process. Learning tools: monitoring & evaluation. Community empowerment
during project hand-over. Sustainability, follow-up & mentoring.

Association for Law, Property and Society

I have just participated in the wonderful 2nd Annual Conference of the Association for Law, Property and Society.  An excellent array of papers from the conference is available here, including several of direct relevance to climate change law and policy.  The 3rd Annual Meeting will be held March 2-3, 2012 — highly recommended for attorneys, law professors, and social scientists with an interest in property law and its relationship to society!

Post-Cancun Analyses

An excellent compilation of analyses of the outcomes at COP16 can be found here on the Triple Crisis blog. There are over 100 sources cataloged in the blog entry.