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Jody Freeman

Archibald Cox Professor of Law

Director, Environmental and Energy Law Program

Jody Freeman
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Jody Freeman is the Archibald Cox Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and a leading scholar of administrative law and environmental law. Freeman served as Counselor for Energy and Climate Change in the Obama White House in 2009-2010. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the American College of Environmental Lawyers and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. While in the White House, she was the architect of President Obama’s historic agreement with the U.S. auto industry to double fuel efficiency standards. Freeman worked with the Biden transition team developing the administration’s climate action plan.

Professor Freeman has written extensively about climate change, environmental regulation, presidential power, and judicial review, and has been recognized as the second most cited public law scholar in the country. She has produced several books including the landmark Global Climate Change and U.S. Law (co-edited with Gerrard and Burger) with the new edition published in 2023.

Professor Freeman founded Harvard Law School’s Environmental and Energy Law Program, a pioneering research center on climate and energy law and policy, and established the Law School’s first environmental law clinic. She co-Chairs the Presidential Committee on Sustainability at Harvard and is partnering on cross-disciplinary research sponsored by the University’s Salata Climate Institute on methane reduction, net zero commitments, and energy transition planning.

Ms. Freeman serves on the climate advisory board of NBIM, which manages Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, advising on implementation of the Fund’s Climate Action Plan. She formerly served on the Advisory Council of the Electric Power Research Institute and as an independent director of ConocoPhillips.

Professor Freeman consults regularly for government and non-governmental parties, advising on litigation and regulatory strategy. She speaks at events around the world and can be heard on NPR, MSNBC and CNN. She has written for the New York TimesWall Street JournalGuardianLos Angeles TimesPoliticoVox and Foreign Affairs

Professor Freeman has written about her tenure on the ConocoPhillips board and her independent board role on her personal website.


  • Click here to see Professor Freeman lead a conversation about global climate policy for the Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Click here to see Professor Freeman discuss climate change and the way forward for the Metcalf Institute.
  • Professor Freeman joins Professor Richard Lazarus in providing an overview of the environmental actions from the Biden administration’s first 100 days. Click here to watch.
  • Click here to see Professor Freeman offer tips “for law and life” to the HLS class of 2018.
  • Read Professor Freeman’s New York Times Opinion article on General Motors’ pledge to phase out gas powered vehicles by 2035 at this link
  • Listen to Fortune’s Reinvent podcast at this link where Professor Freeman discusses General Motors’ electric vehicles future.
  • To listen to Professor Freeman’s radio interview about proposed EPA rules on methane, see here.
  • To hear Professor Freeman speak on U.S. climate change policy for the Environmental Insights podcast from the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, click here.
  • Listen at this link to a radio interview with Professor Freeman about Biden’s environmental executive orders in the first weeks of his presidency.
  • Listen to Professor Freeman’s summary of the environment under Trump in the final days of his administration at this link.
  • For an interview with Professor Freeman on Biden’s Climate Initiatives, click here.
  • Click here to listen to Professor Freeman’s BBC podcast interview about Biden’s climate agenda and the challenges it will face.
  • Professor Freeman was interviewed on WHYY about the climate and environmental legacy of Trump’s presidency and what to expect from the incoming Biden administration. Listen here.
  • To read Professor Freeman’s analysis of the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation and implications for environmental law, and Biden’s climate policy, go here.
  • Listen to Professor Freeman and Jeffrey Holmstead reflect on their experiences in the George W. Bush administration (Holmstead) and Obama administration (Freeman), and discuss upcoming challenges for the next administration, at the link here
  • Click here to watch Professor Freeman give an overview of the state of climate, energy, and environmental policy on the eve of the 2020 election.  
  • To watch Professor Freeman talk about energy and environmental policy in a video for the Harvard University Center for the Environment, click here.
  • Professor Freeman speaks with MSNBC’s Ali Velshi to discuss President Trump’s proposed overhaul of the National Environmental Policy Act. Click here to watch
  • To hear an interview with Professor Freeman that aired on NPR’s Morning Edition about the expectation that the Trump administration will revoke California’s ability to set tighter environmental rules on car emissions, click here
  • In the video at this link, watch Professor Freeman speak with CNN’s Don Lemon about what we need from climate change policy. 
  • Click here to read an op-ed in the New York Times by Professor Freeman about Trump’s rollbacks of auto emissions rules, many of which are supported by the car industry.
  • To hear Professor Freeman compare different presidential legal theories on climate change, discuss how the rollback of power plant standards will fare in the courts, and explain why the “markets will clean up the electricity sector” argument is wrong, listen here.     
  • To watch Professor Freeman speak at the Norwegian Nobel Institute on U.S. Climate and Energy Policy in the Trump Administration and state policy demonstration projects, see here.
  • Watch Professor Freeman on Open to Debate, where she defends EPA’s Clean Power Plan as a reasonable, cost-effective method of controlling greenhouse gas emissions in the US.