Lexington, VA • Friday, March 05, 2010
On Friday, March 19, Washington and Lee University School of Law will host a symposium examining the complexities of attempts to use technological innovation and transfer to address climate change.
The event, titled "The Intersection of Renewable Energy Development and Geoengineering," is sponsored by the W&L Journal of Energy, Climate, and the Environment (JECE) and the Environmental Law Society (ELS). It will begin at 9:00 am in the Classroom D, Sydney Lewis Hall.
The event will model the green energy principles it explores by having approximately two-thirds of the speakers participate remotely, bringing down the carbon footprint of the conference substantially. The symposium is open to the public at no charge.
Renewable energy sources have the potential to reduce the nation's dependence on oil and other nonrenewable energy supplies. But in order to meet the country's energy needs, renewable energy technologies must be practical and readily available. Consequently, innovations in climate technology are increasingly part of the climate change policy discussion occurring across every level of government and industry.
Hari Osofsky is a Washington and Lee law professor and climate law and policy expert. She says that the emerging field of geoengineering, which refers to deliberate efforts to manipulate the Earth's climate, must contend with the potential for unexpected environmental impacts, as well as important legal and moral questions.
"High level scientific conversation is currently taking place about addressing climate change through geoengineering," says Osofsky. "However, the conversation about how law should address these possibilities remains nascent. Given the potential for massive harm to ecosystems at multiple scales from geoengineering, we need to think seriously about legal regulatory approaches in this context."
The program features leading climate change policy and technology experts from across the country. The symposium keynote address will be delivered by Jonathan Cannon, Blaine T. Phillips Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Class of 1941 Research Professor of Law, and Director of Environmental and Land Use Law Program at the University of Virginia School of Law.
Cannon joined UVA from the Environmental Protection Agency where he served as general counsel and assistant administrator for administration and resource management. A complete list of speakers and schedule of events is available online at law.wlu.edu/geoengineering.
The first JECE/ELS symposium in 2009 addressed climate change and greenhouse gas regulations facing the incoming Obama administration and also served as the first meeting of a regional group of scholars working on climate change. The staff of the Journal will soon publish the proceedings of the inaugural symposium. The publication will be available online and in a limited print edition.