Climate Change Law Teaching Materials

This is an informal working where I post interesting climate change teaching resources.


Hardin, Garrett. “The tragedy of the commons.” science 162.3859 (1968): 1243-1248.


Geoengineering Earth’s Atmosphere: How It Could Affect Astronomy

Geoengineering Policy Resources

Geoengineering tag cloud

Climate Change Teaching Cases

Columbia Riverkeeper v. Pruitt – Complaint 2017-02-23

Solar Energy

China builds world’s biggest solar farm

Are the Syrians the first official climate change refugees?

The Economics of Climate Change Mitigation

Nicholas Herbert Stern, Her Majesty’s Treasury & others, 30 Stern Review: The economics of climate change (2006).

Nicholas Herbert Stern, Her Majesty’s Treasury & others, 30 Stern Review: The economics of climate change (2006) – executive summary

Willam D. Nordhaus, A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, 45 Journal of Economic Literature 686–702 (2007).

Martin L Weitzman, A review of the Stern Review on the economics of climate change, 45 Journal of Economic literature 703–724 (2007).

Where Electric Vehicles Actually Cause More Pollution Than Gas Cars

Lawrence H Goulder & Ian WH Parry, Instrument choice in environmental policy, 2 Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 152–174 (2008)

Peter Howard & Derek Sylvan, The Economic Climate: Establishing Consensus on the Economics of Climate Change, (2015)

State of the Climate 2014 – NOAA

When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job

Stranded Assets

Carbon Tracker, 2013. Unburnable carbon 2013: Wasted capital and stranded assets. Tech. rep., The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment of LSE.

Griffin, P. A., Jaffe, A. M., Lont, D. H., & Dominguez-Faus, R. (2015). Science and the stock market: Investors’ recognition of unburnable carbon. Energy Economics, 52, 1-12.

Leaton, James. “Unburnable carbon—Are the world’s financial markets carrying a carbon bubble.” Carbon Tracker Initiative (2012).


Online courses and teaching materials

Making Sense of Climate Science Denial

This is a MOOK on climate science communication. I have not reviewed the lessons, but their video on Antarctic ice and the myth that it is increasing is great:

I suspect there are many parts of this that would be useful in climate change classes.

Teaching Climate/Energy Law & Policy

A great collection of climate change and energy teaching resources.

Watch 25 Years of Arctic Sea Ice Disappear in 1 Minute

Climate Change Teaching Cases

US Cases

Columbia Riverkeeper v. Pruitt – Complaint 2017-02-23

Sinnok v. Alaska – state children’s case dismissed by trial court.

Foreign Law Cases

Dutch Climate Case

Urgenda WWW Site – URGENTA Wins The Case For Better Dutch Climate Policies

Dutch government ordered to cut carbon emissions in landmark ruling (Guardian)

The Opinion

Indian Drought Case

India’s Federal and Regional Governments May Not Ignore Disastrous Drought Conditions: Indian Supreme Court

Abhiyan v. Union of India, Writ Petition (Civil) No. 857 of 2015 (2016) __ S.C.C. __ (India)

Fowlie, Meredith, Michael Greenstone, and Catherine Wolfram. “Do Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver? Evidence from the Weatherization Assistance Program.” Unpublished Working Paper, 2014.

Conventional wisdom suggests that energy efficiency (EE) policies are beneficial because they induce investments that pay for themselves and lead to emissions reductions. However, this belief is primarily based on projections from engineering models. This paper reports on the results of an experimental evaluation of the nation’s largest residential EE program conducted on a sample of more than 30,000 households. The findings suggest that the upfront investment costs are about twice the actual energy savings. Further, the model-projected savings are roughly 2.5 times the actual savings. While this might be attributed to the “rebound” effect – when demand for energy end uses increases as a result of greater efficiency – the paper fails to find evidence of significantly higher indoor temperatures at weatherized homes. Even when accounting for the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency investments, the costs still substantially outweigh the benefits; the average rate of return is approximately -9.5% annually.

Climate Science Materials

World Meteorological Organization. Guide to climatological practices. Secretariat of the World Meteorological Organization, 2018.

IPCC Reports

Climate Change and Existing Law: A Survey of Legal Issues Past, Present, and Future

Atmospheric chemistry teaching materials

The Greenhouse Effect

General materials on atmospheric chemistry

No particles, no clouds video

Ocean current teaching materials

NOAA site explaining the physics of ocean currents

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Climate Change Communication and Denial

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States – 2009

The National Global Change Research Plan 2012-2021, NRC 2012

Field, Christopher B, Vicente Barros, Thomas F Stocker, and Qin Dahe, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation: Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge University Press 2012).

A Darker View of the Age of Us – the Anthropocene

Energy Law

Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014)

The Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014), prepared by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), presents longterm annual projections of energy supply, demand, and prices focused on the U.S. through 2040, based on results from EIA’s National Energy Modeling System (NEMS). NEMS enables EIA to make projections under alternative, internally-consistent sets of assumptions, the results of which are presented as cases. The analysis in AEO2014 focuses on five primary cases: a Reference case, Low and High Economic Growth cases, and Low and High Oil Price cases. Results from a number of other alternative cases also are presented, illustrating uncertainties associated with the Reference case projections. EIA published an Early Release version of the AEO2014 Reference case in December 2013.

The Night They Drove the Price of Electricity Down: Wind power was so plentiful in Texas that producers sold it at a negative price. What?

NAS Climate Change Project – original link

America’s Climate Choices

Advancing the Science of Climate Change

Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change

Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change

Informing an Effective Response to Climate Change

Climate and Social Stress: Implications for Security Analysis (2012)

Attacks on Renewable Energy Policy by Fossil Fuel Interests 2013-2014


Burger M, Carlson AE, Gerrard M, Hein JF, Schwartz JA, Benes KJ. Legal Pathways to Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Under Section 115 of the Clean Air Act. Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School. 2016. (International air pollution provision)

Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action

A new EPA report, Climate Change in the United States: Benefits of Global Action, estimates the physical and monetary benefits to the U.S. of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. This report summarizes results from the Climate Change Impacts and Risks Analysis (CIRA) project, a peer-reviewed study comparing impacts in a future with significant global action on climate change to a future in which current greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

The report shows that global action on climate change will significantly benefit Americans by saving lives and avoiding costly damages across the U.S. economy.

EPA Cap and Trade Information

Clean Power Plan

Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Utility Generating Units

Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act

Clean Power Plan Final Rule – August 2015

Clean Power Plan Index

Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Clean Power Plan Final Rule

Legal Memorandum Accompanying Clean Power Plan for Certain Issues

Fact Sheets


Climate Change


AEP v. Connecticut’s Implications for the Future of Climate Change Litigation

Carbon Tax/Cap and Trade


EPA Power Plant Rule

Clean Power Plan Final Rule – August 2015

Clean Power Plan Blog Post: Power Plant Compliance and State Goals

EPA Fact Sheet: Clean Power Plan – Built on a Solid Legal & Scientific Foundation

EPA Fact Sheet: Clean Power Plan By The Numbers

EPA Fact Sheet: Overview of the Clean Power Plan Final Rule

EPA Fact Sheet: Clean Power Plan By The Numbers

EPA Fact Sheet: Clean Power Plan and the Role of States

EPA Fact Sheet: Energy Efficiency in the Clean Power Plan

Regulatory Impact Analysis for the Clean Power Plan Final Rule

David Hawkins on the NRDC Blog discussing how the state goals were set.

E&E’s Power Plan Hub

The EPA’s Clean Power Plan: Understanding and Evaluating the Proposed Federal Plan and Model Rules – Duke

CBA for social cost of carbon, also good adlaw case on CBA

ZERO ZONE, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, et al., Respondents., No. 14-2147, 2016 WL 4177217, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2016)

Brief of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondents, ZERO ZONE, INC., et al., Petitioners, v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY, et al., Respondents., No. 14-2147, 2016 WL 4177217, at *1 (7th Cir. Aug. 8, 2016)

Enviromental Litigation Chart

Keystone Pipeline – Nature

State of the Climate – NOAA

State Climate Change Programs


California Climate Change Planning Law – 2016

CA Air Resources Board

California’s Proposed Compliance Plan For The Federal Clean Power Plan – August 2016

Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, 730 F.3d 1070, 1077 (9th Cir. 2013), cert. denied, 30 June 2014. The USSC let’s stand the opinion upholding California’s plan to regulate transportation source emissions. This was attached for allocating too much carbon to the life-cycle analysis of ethanol.

Los Angeles Water Department incentives to reduce water use, including xeriscaping.

Books on climate science and politics

Articles on climate science and politics

The Economist Special Report on Climate Change – 2015

The consensus on climate change

Earth, the operator’s manual

Sea Level Rise

Explaining ocean warming

Ocean warming may well turn out to be the greatest hidden challenge of our generation. This report represents the most comprehensive review to date on ocean warming. To build up the report, leading scientists from around the world were invited to join with colleagues to contribute individual chapters.  It contains many recommendations from the scientists on capability gaps and research issues that need to be resolved if we are to tackle the impacts of ocean warming with greater confidence in the future. The focus of the report is on gathering facts and knowledge and communicating this to show what is now happening in and to the ocean. There is purposefully much less focus on political ramifications. We hope that this report will help stimulate further debate and action on such issues.

Our Rising Oceans (Antarctica) VICE, Season 3, Episode 1

Resources on the impact of coastal sea level rise

California Coastal Commission – Sea level rise

Includes draft plan on coast

Good Ted talk on sea level rise

Storm Surge Inundation (SLOSH Maximum of Maximums)

Great teaching tool for extreme weather and sea level rise, along with the maps from Climate Central:

Surging Seas – Climate Central

The NOAA maps pick up where Climate Central leaves off because Climate Central only goes to +10 and that is not even a big storm for those of us on the Gulf Coast.:-)

Glacial cycles

Earth in 1000 Years – what drives ice melting in climate cycles?

International Water Issues

HLPE, 2015. Water for food security and nutrition. A report by the High Level Panel of Experts on Food Security and Nutrition of the Committee on World Food Security, Rome 2015.

National Security Issues

Carl-Friedrich Schleussner et al., Armed-conflict risks enhanced by climate-related disasters in ethnically fractionalized countries, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 201601611 (2016).

Forest Fires

Dry Days Bring Ferocious Start to Fire Season


50 Steps Toward Carbon-Free Transportation: Rethinking U.S. Transportation Policy to Fight Global Warming