Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 29, 2007

The “Bible” on Global Warming and the Law Published by the American Bar Association

New York lawyer Michael B. Gerrard has done it again.  The former chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Environment, Energy and Resources, has assembled an outstanding group of authors and compiled a comprehensive state of the law as it relates to global climate change. Although the book, Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (American Bar Association) was published in 2007 and the Introduction says it is up-to-date through mid-2006, an accompanying website contains a series of updates posted as recently as last month. Organized into four parts and nineteen chapters, with more than 700 pages of information, the book takes readers first through the international and national legal framework starting with the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the resulting Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (the U.S. and Australia refused to be parties to the Kyoto Protocol).  Accounting for land use, land use change and forestry is also addressed in the beginning chapter by Washington, D.C. attorney Kyle Danish.  This is followed by an excellent chapter on U.S. policy contributed by Professor John Dernbach, a leading scholar in the field of sustainable development.  Part I is rounded out with chapters addressing the impact of the Kyoto Protocol on U.S. business, clean air regulation, the availability of civil remedies for violations, consideration of climate change in facility permitting, and international trade and development.           

Part II focuses on regional, state and local actions that have been taken in the U.S. to address climate change.  Judge Eleanor Stein, who presided over New York Renewable Portfolio Standard proceeding before the Public Service Commission, provides a chapter on regionalism through multi-state cooperation as a mechanism to slow climate change. Professor David Hodas contributed the next chapter examining various state initiatives, which is complemented by a 50-state survey of state legislation, rules and executive orders specifically addressing climate change.  The survey, compiled by students at the Center for Environmental Legal Studies at Pace Law School, provides a wealth of information for lawmakers and policymakers. Kevin Healy, Esq. rounds out the section with a chapter on local initiatives, demonstrating what local governments can do on their own to address global warming.    The information in Parts I and II in particular, are of significant importance and value to land use lawyers and planners. Parts III and IV focus on corporate actions and reduction programs, respectively.             

The accompanying website contains, among other things, a chart of all climate change litigation in the United States.  In short, this book is “The Bible” on everything you always wanted to know about climate change from the science, to the policy and the law. I highly recommend this not just as a resource for the book shelf, but as required reading for anyone who is interested in finding out what lawyers and planners can do to address this crisis.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the book is priced at an affordable $59.95, which is a bargain for ABA publications at any length, not to mention one with over 700 pages!  Put his book on the agenda for planner book discussions (which can now be used to satisfy mandatory continuing education requirements), and consider purchasing it as a gift for others who care about the environment.   

For more information about the book, the website and how to order a copy, visit: 


  1. Thanks for the heads up about this book. It looks very good. I ordered it today and received a 20% holiday discount — so your blog readers might want to order it before the end of the year too!! Happy New Year!

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