Pace Representatives in Copenhagen Share Observations on Climate Summit

One of the best blogs from the environmental summit in Copenhagen is likely to be that of Richard Ottinger, the former US Congressman who is Dean Emeritus of Pace University’s Law School, a leader in environmental law.

COPENHAGEN ADVISORY

Savvy, warm Copenhagen blog begins from former US Congressman at Pace Law School

Richard Ottinger’s early dispatches find “race for the top,” “unsatisfactory” role of US Congress, new ideas and technologies

WHITE PLAINS, NY, December 9, 2009 — One of the best blogs from the environmental summit in Copenhagen is likely to be that of Richard Ottinger, the former US Congressman who is Dean Emeritus of Pace University’s Law School, a leader in environmental law.

Ottinger’s concise writing is savvy about law, environmental science, and politics. He’s also endearingly human, admitting on the second day that “I didn’t sleep well last night, so I slept through some of it.”

His dispatches are posted at www.law.pace.edu/copenhagen and at the site of the Pace Energy and Climate Center, and are linked via Twitter http://twitter.com/Paceenergy.

Excerpts so far: Race to the top. “The conference is a mob scene… attributable to the excitement at the prospect of success and [the chance to] demonstrate the enormous importance that most governments and NGOs attribute to addressing climate change. There literally is a race to the top, with one government after another seeking to up the ante of their commitments … and the NGOs and academics … out in force to demonstrate the popular support for a meaningful agreement.” (Day 1)

“Unsatisfactory” role of US Congress.” “[The United States wants an agreement in which] the countries would each just pledge what they will undertake…. This … is totally unsatisfactory because those who don’t agree to much, as represented by the House and Senate legislation, gain an economic advantage by making a smaller or much delayed effort.” (Day 2)

New ideas. “Many of the best energy and climate experts are conducting outstanding ‘side event’ presentations, where I will be spending most of my time. There are a lot of new ideas being aired and a lot of new technologies explored, by no means all environmentally benign….” (Day 2)

Ottinger is a delegate for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), one of the world’s largest and most influential environmental NGOs. Pace Law School’s Center for Environmental Legal Studies is a voting member of the IUCN.

Two Pace Law School students are delegates to the conference: SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science) candidate Shakeel Kazmi, a member of Pakistan’s delegation, and Joanne Kalas, a third year student and participant in the school’s prestigious U.N. Diplomacy program, a delegate for the Marshall Islands. Matthew Jokajtys, a third year law student and master’s degree candidate in the school’s joint degree program with the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, is participating as an observer. All are reachable through contact below.

First US climate change curriculum concentration. Climate action is nothing new for Pace. Earlier this month The New York Times cited, as the first at a U.S. University, a new Pace Law School curriculum concentration in climate change that Ottinger helped plan within the school’s prestigious Masters of Environmental Law (LLM) program. Pace’s new interdisciplinary Academy for Applied Environmental Studies this fall announced three top environmental priorities – among them, climate change.

Founded in 1976, Pace University School of Law has over 7,500 alumni throughout the country and the world and is consistently ranked among the nation’s top three programs in environmental law. It offers full- and part-time day and evening JD programs on its White Plains, NY, campus and offers the Master of Laws degree in Environmental Law, Real Estate Law and Comparative Legal Studies, and a Doctor of Laws in environmental law. The School of Law is part of Pace University, a comprehensive, independent, and diversified university with campuses in New York City and Westchester County. www.law.pace.edu

Media contacts: Crista Scaturro, 914-422-4389, cscaturro@law.pace.edu; Regina Pappalardo, Pace Law School, 914-422-4268, rpappalardo@law.pace.edu.

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