Call for Papers: CCLR Special Issue on Climate Change Geoengineering & the Law

Call for Papers: The Law and Climate Geoengineering

Carbon & Climate Law Review
A Journal on Climate Regulation and the Carbon Market [CCLR]

Carbon & Climate Law Review is welcoming abstracts for a special issue on The Law and Climate Geoengineering, scheduled for publication in March 2013, and for which I will serve as Editor.


The feckless response of the world community to addressing burgeoning levels of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions has led to increasingly alarming predictions of temperatures rises of as much as 4-6C above pre-industrial levels by the end of this century, with potentially catastrophic implications for natural ecosystems and human institutions.  This has led to growing support in many sectors for climate geoengineering options, defined broadly by the UK’s Royal Society as “the deliberate large-scale manipulation of the planetary environment to counteract anthropogenic climate change.” While proponents hail climate geoengineering as either a “magic bullet,” or at the very least, a “bridge” to a decarbonized economy, a number of recent studies have indicated that many of these schemes could pose serious environmental, economic and health risks in many regions of the world, invoking issues of equity, potential liability for damages and the role of risk assessment under conditions of high uncertainty. Moreover, it is far from clear whether existing domestic or international institutions are adequate to govern either research and development of geoengineering options or potential deployment.  This issue seeks to address the role of national and international law in addressing these critical issues.

The journal is particularly interested in pieces in the following areas:

  1. Case studies of the effectiveness of current efforts to regulate climate geoengineering at the international level, including within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the London Convention;
  2. The potential role of non-environmental regimes in climate geoengineering governance, e.g. human rights and trade;
  3. Pertinent domestic laws and regulations to govern geoengineering research and development and/or deployment;
  4. Operationalization of the precautionary principle in the context of climate geoengineering

Abstracts of 150-250 words should be sent to [email protected] by 15 December 2012. Authors will be informed by 22 December 2012 on the outcome of the initial review process. Final manuscripts will be due by 7 March 2013.

In order to ensure quick turnaround and policy relevance, articles should be concise, ranging from 2.500-4.500 words in length. Commentaries on recent judicial decisions, new legislation, and other developments can range from 1.500 to 2.500 words.

Carbon & Climate Law Review is the first international journal on climate regulation and the carbon market. Published on a quarterly basis under the guidance of a distinguished editorial board, it brings together representatives from the legal discipline and other stakeholders in one specialized journal, allowing them to engage in a dynamic debate on the law of climate change. Past issues have addressed the role of forests in the carbon market, emerging carbon markets in North America, the relation of climate policies and international trade law, and legal aspects of the post-2012 debate. For further details on the journal and an archive of past issues, please visit the website at:

For further information on the editorial process, submissions on other topics or general questions relating to the journal, kindly contact the editor at . Please feel free to forward this call for papers to interested colleagues.

With sincere regards,


Wil Burns

Board of Editors, CCLR


Carbon & Climate Law Review
A Journal on Climate Regulation and the Carbon Market

Emerging responses to climate change necessitate recourse to legal mechanisms for adequate implementation, with implications ranging from legislative decision-making to judicial litigation. As the first journal devoted to the legal dimensions of climate change, the Carbon & Climate Law Review [CCLR] provides academics and practitioners with a forum for this important debate. For further information on this journal and online access to sample content, please visit







Toting up the Skeptics in Peer-Reviewed Climate Literature

Many instructors are probably like me and include a module, or at least some coverage, of the arguments of climate skeptics. I think this is a salutary approach in any climate course, because: 1. there are often students with serious reservations about the climate change science who may be hesitant to express such concerns because of fear of criticism. A class session that respectfully addresses these issues helps to engage such students rather than alienate them; 2. If we want to help our students address these issues in other fora, it’s important to help them engage with the arguments and develop effective responses.

One of the arguments advanced by skeptics is that there is a substantial division of opinion in the climate community about whether warming is occurring, or is linked to anthropogenic activities. However, a new study by James Powell, Executive Director of the National Physical Science Consortium, powerfully demonstrates that this argument is largely a canard, at least in the realm of peer-reviewed studies on climate change. Powell conducted a search of the Web of Science, an online science publication tool, for peer-reviewed climate science studies, producing 13,950 articles. Powell’s study revealed the following:

  1. Only 24 of the 13,950 articles focused on climate change science (0.17%) “clearly reject global warming or endorse a cause other than CO2 emissions for observed warming;”
  2. The 24 studies that rejected climate change science theories have been cited only a total of 113 times over the nearly 21 years surveyed in the study. These publications also put the lie to the assertion that climate change skeptics are prevented from publishing in peer-reviewed literature, though it does demonstrate that these publications have engendered very little support;
  3. Very few of the climate change skeptics who regularly testify before Congress, are interviewed in the press, or write books or post on websites, have published peer-reviewed studies on climate change.


Greenhouse Gas Emissions of Annex I States: 1990-2010

The Subsidiary Body for Implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change released a new report a few days ago on the national greenhouse gas inventory data of the 42 Annex I Parties to the UNFCCC from 1990-2010, providing some excellent data for lectures on assessing the effectiveness of the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol.

Among the take-aways of the report:

  1. Total aggregate GHG emissions from 1990-2010, excluding those from Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) decreased by 8.9%; total emissions decreased by 14.6% if one factors in LULUCF also;
    1. GHG emissions of Parties with Economies in Transition (EITs), declined by 39.2% from 1990-2010, excluding LULUCF, and 52.6% with LULUCF included;
    2. In 2000-2010, GHG emissions excluding LULUCF EIT Parties increased by 4.4%, or declined 2.2% if one includes LULUCF
    3. In terms of Annex I non-EIT Parties; GHG emissions from 1990-2010 increased by 4.9% excluding LULUCF and by 4.1% including LULUCF;
      1. From 12000-2020, GHG emissions of non-EIT Parties decreased by 3.9% excluding LULUCF and by 6.4% including LULUCF
  2. Carbon dioxide accounted for 79.6% of Annex I Party GHG emissions from 1990-2010
    1. Methane emissions declined by 12.2% in 1990
  3. Emissions from all sub-sectors of the energy sector declined from 1990-2010 in Annex I Parties with the exclusion of transport, where emissions increased by 11.4%
    1. The emissions from the aviation sector increased by a whopping 63.6% during this period, and by 7.8% in the marine transportation sector

Webinar on Energy Education and BITES

Webinar on Energy Education and BITES: A potential online learning tool for energy education in colleges and universities

November 19, 2012

Washington, District of Columbia


How do we incorporate big energy data into energy education? This webinar will focus on the utilization of the Buildings, Industry, Transportation, and Electricity Scenarios tool, or BITES, as a learning tool for general energy education in colleges and universities. Information on Department of Energy’s Energy Literacy and Energy 101 initiatives will also be provided.

Date: Monday, November 19, 2012

Time: 3 – 4:30 pm EST


Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.


What Needs to Be Done (though probably not) to Avoid Crossing the 2C Threshold?

A new study by the PWC consultancy group would be an excellent reading in a climate change course with a module on long-term policy making. PWC publishes a an annual report that assesses the prospects for limiting warming to 2C, based on a carbon budget that stabilizes carbon dioxide concentrations at 450ppm and provide a 50% probability of limiting warming to 2c. Among the take-aways from the study, Too late for two degrees? Low carbon economy index 2012:

  1. Global carbon intensity decreased by approximately 0.8% globally on an annual basis since 2000, a wholly inadequate trend from the perspective of avoiding the 2C threshold. As a consequence, global carbon intensity now needs to be cut by an average of 5.1% a year from now to 2050 to effectuate this goal. This is a rate of reduction that have NEVER been achieved in the past 50 years; As a consequence, the goal of remaining below the 2C threshold now seems “unrealistic;”
    1. Carbon intensity rates would have to quadruple from current rates to even avoid temperature increases of 4C above pre-industrial levels;
  2. The International Energy Agency is now considering both 4C and 6C scenarios as a result of the feckless responses of the world community to rising greenhouse gas emissions;
  3. Many developed countries are increasingly “outsourcing” their manufacturing needs abroad. While the GHG emissions of developing countries now exceed those of developed ones, the emission of the former would be adjusted downward if we accounted for the outsourcing of emissions;
  4. While lower prices for natural gas have facilitated a shift from more carbon-intensive energy sources, it may also be delaying the transition to renewable energy and nuclear sources, posing the threat of fossil fuel “lock-in;”
  5. Given the important of deforestation in contributing to the growth of greenhouse gas emissions (17% of total annual emissions), the world will need to de-couple deforestation and economic growth. Indonesia has been particularly successful in meeting this objective.

Among the discussion questions that might be pertinent to this reading:

  1. Should developing countries be permitted to trim back their emission reduction commitments since a portion of the increases in emissions reflect externalizing of manufacturing production by developed countries?;
  2. Given the fact that the world may have to live with temperature increases of 4-6C, should we shift the mix of funding for mitigation and adaptation initiatives further toward adaptation efforts?;
  3. What are the optimal approaches to de-couple economic growth in developing countries and deforestation?

The Benefits of Carbon Banks for Cap-and-Trade Systems

Instructors who include modules on the European Union-Emissions Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) in their courses might consider assigning a recent policy brief by the think-tank Sustainable Prosperity, A Carbon Bank: Managing Volatility in a Cap-and-Trade System. The brief focuses on the the desirability of establishing a Carbon Bank to address some of the problems that afflict the EU-ETS, as well as cap and trade systems more generally. Among the take-aways from the brief:

  1. Industries in the EU were able to successfully influence the final design of the EU-ETS, including limiting its scope to carbon dioxide instead of the six greenhouse gases originally proposed, limiting the regulated sectors, and ensuring that a large number of allowances were allocated at no charge;
  2. Among the issues that have plagued the EU-ETS beyond rent-seeking behavior of industries are fraud and theft, and most importantly price volatility, with the price of allowances dropping approximately 80% in one brief period in 2005-2006;
    1. On the other hand, there are some possible benefits of price volatility; some reason studies indicate that price suppression through offsets and other mechanisms may delay clear energy investments
  3. A carbon bank could manage price through an array of price control mechanisms, including price ceilings or collars, yearly target prices, allowance splits or safety valves;
  4. Carbon banks could also perform other functions for cap and trade systems, including professional forecasting about the implications of different emission and carbon price scenarios, allowance management and coordination with other government bodies;
  5. There are potential downsides to implementing a carbon bank, including potentially undermining carbon prices if intervention occurs too frequently;
  6. Carbon banks might find it difficult to manage carbon prices because of difficulty of linking carbon dioxide production with economic growth and energy prices, and the difficulty of managing prices given long-term goals of decreasing allowances.

Among the questions for class discussion might include the following:

  • Do you think that parties to the EU-ETS would be willing to accord a carbon bank the power to control market prices. Does the failure of the EU to implement a carbon tax because of some member State resistance provide any evidence in this context?
  • Is the concept of institutional prices control mechanisms antithetical to the operation of a free-market based system e.g. cap and trade?;
  • Should a proposed Carbon Bank have the ability to permanently withdraw allowances from the market without requiring EU States to vote to authorize this action?



New Free Online Climate Course

Free Online College Course on Climate Change

Available on CAMEL (Climate, Adaptation, Mitigation, E-Learning)

Climate Change, a topic that includes Global Warming, refers to the relatively abrupt shift in weather patterns during the last hundred years.

This free online course examines the factors responsible for climate change; the biological and sociological consequences of such changes; and possible engineering, economic, and legal solutions to avoid more extreme perturbations. It includes daily video mini-lectures, weekly assignments, a textbook, readings, a midterm, and a comprehensive final.