Hannah Perls ’20 and Hana Veselka Vizcarra of the Harvard Law School Environmental and Energy Law Program assess the new administration’s efforts to address climate change.
April 28, 2021
As President Joe Biden approached his 100th day in office, Harvard Law Today asked faculty members and researchers from across Harvard Law School to weigh in on the new administration’s agenda, actions, accomplishments, and failures to date.
April 27, 2021
North Carolina is one of the nation’s largest producers of pork. The industry is primarily centered in agricultural portions of Eastern North Carolina, home to a number of Black and Indigenous communities, and a surging Latinx population...The coexistence of air pollutants and communities of color isn’t an anomaly, says Hannah Perls, J.D. ’20, but is representative of the environmental injustices that many communities of color across America live with... “There’s that great saying – the system isn’t broken; it’s working exactly as it was designed,” she says. “Often environmental justice communities live at the intersection of several inequitable and interlocking systems and ideologies: racism, capitalism, and white supremacy, among others.” ... “Environmental justice means that you need involvement and participation of peoples of all colors and all income levels in the development, implementation, and enforcement of our protection laws,” says Richard Lazarus, the Howard J. and Katherine W. Aibel Professor of Law. “This is not supposed to be top-down.” Lazarus, who leads the EELP alongside Jody Freeman, the Archibald Cox Professor of Law, has spent much of the past 30 years of his legal career studying and trying to solve the environmental disparities faced by communities of color, and most recently worked on the Biden administration’s transition team and helped elevate the issue to be a top priority for the president.
Red states that sued the Biden administration for tinkering with the estimated cost of emitting greenhouse gases may have fired a premature opening shot in the legal war over the president's climate agenda, environmental lawyers say. But the lawsuit provides a preview of the courtroom brawls that will ensue once the Biden team finalizes a new social cost of carbon, a key metric that assigns a dollar value to the harm caused by planet-warming emissions. "I think this particular complaint is unlikely to go anywhere," said Hana Vizcarra, a staff attorney at the Environmental and Energy Law Program at Harvard Law School. "But it's a precursor to what we're going to see in response to any rulemaking that comes out of this administration." ... Hannah Perls, a legal fellow with Harvard Law School's Environmental and Energy Law Program, said she still expects the Biden administration to lower the discount rate in its final social cost of carbon.