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Research Programs

Environmental and Energy Law Program

  • Group of women standing outside, three cheering.

    ‘It’s good to be back’

    September 28, 2021

    Harvard Law School employees share what they're looking forward to back on campus.

  • Evaluating President Biden’s first 100 days: Climate change policy

    April 29, 2021

    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.

  • Symbols depicting energy, marine, land and water conservation.

    Harvard Law students’ research impacts environmental policy and regulations

    April 22, 2021

    Students in the Harvard Law School Environmental & Energy Law Program switch from tracking environmental rollbacks to analyzing how to the Biden-Harris administration can implement its ambitious climate plan.

  • The White House after a heavy snowfall

    More Harvard Law faculty and alumni tapped to serve in the Biden administration

    February 19, 2021

    Since President Joe Biden took office in January, dozens of Harvard Law community members, including faculty and alumni, have been tapped to serve in high-profile positions in his administration

  • Wendy Jacobs

    Wendy Jacobs: 1956-2021

    February 10, 2021

    Wendy Jacobs, one of the nation’s most highly celebrated environmental law experts, was the founding director of the first-ever environmental law and policy clinic at Harvard Law School.

  • Sign that points to the climate and USA in opposite directions

    No ‘silver lining’ for the climate

    April 21, 2020

    Jody Freeman discusses the progress the nation has made in protecting the environment since Earth Day was founded in 1970, the Trump administration’s efforts to undo Obama-era federal climate regulations, and COVID-19’s urgent lessons for the planet’s health.

  • Professors Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95 and Richard Lazarus ’79.

    Potentially troubling times for environmental law in the Supreme Court, say HLS professors

    October 1, 2019

    Though the news isn’t all bad, Harvard Law Professors Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus warned of brewing issues ahead at the annual Supreme Court Environmental Law Review and Preview.

  • Jody Freeman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    Jody Freeman elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    April 17, 2019

    The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has announced that Jody Freeman LL.M. '91 S.J.D. '95, Archibald Cox Professor of Law, has been elected a member of the honorary society, one of twelve members of the Harvard faculty to receive the honor this year.

  • Puerto Rico benefits from Harvard’s living lab

    Puerto Rico benefits from Harvard’s living lab

    December 14, 2018

    A plan designed by a team of Harvard University students to create a reliable source of renewable, affordable electricity for a Puerto Rican community hammered in 2017 by Hurricane Maria has moved a step closer to reality. The students are enrolled in Professor Wendy Jacobs' Harvard’s “Climate Solutions Living Lab” course.

  • Wendy Jacobs, Harvard officials call on EPA to withdraw proposed ‘transparency’ rule

    Wendy Jacobs, Harvard officials call on EPA to withdraw proposed ‘transparency’ rule

    August 15, 2018

    A letter drafted by HLS's Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic Director Wendy Jacobs, and signed by nearly 100 hospital leaders and Harvard faculty, calls on the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw its proposed rule on scientific “transparency,” saying that the change would drastically limit the scientific and medical knowledge that underlie a host of EPA regulations that protect human health.

  • Jody Freeman

    In Last Lecture, Jody Freeman assures graduating students: ‘You have the tools you need to become successful’

    May 10, 2018

    In her Last Lecture, Professor Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95 encouraged the class of 2018 to think broadly about what success means, in their future career and also in life.

  • On Earth Day, Antonio Oposa LL.M. ’97 reflects on efforts to bring environmental sustainability to the Philippines

    On Earth Day, Antonio Oposa LL.M. ’97 reflects on efforts to bring environmental sustainability to the Philippines

    April 20, 2018

    Antonio Oposa Jr. LL.M. ’97 reflects on his legacy and efforts to bring environmental sustainability to his home country, the Philippines.

  • Public lands ‘a priceless legacy’ for future

    Public lands ‘a priceless legacy’ for future

    March 15, 2018

    John Leshy, former solicitor for the U.S. Interior Department, sought to set the record straight on public lands Wednesday at Harvard, disputing activists’ views opposing U.S. government ownership and reminding listeners that the divisiveness of the debate is what should concern users of those vast areas traditionally managed for public benefit and enjoyment.

  • Branch returns to her Navajo roots 3

    Branch returns to her Navajo roots

    March 5, 2018

    Ethel Branch ’08 grew up on her family’s ranch with no electricity, no running water, and a long list of questions about injustice. As she grew up, Branch knew she had to address these questions. “That confusion as to why the world changed when you crossed the Navajo Nation boundary line was a driving question for my youth and my life,” says Branch. It propelled her to study law and policy. And three years ago, at age 36, it led her to become Attorney General of the Navajo Nation.

  • Students help groups to pursue climate action

    Students help groups to pursue climate action

    November 20, 2017

    Led by Professor Wendy Jacobs, director of the Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School, the Climate Solutions Living Lab course launched last spring to help push forward the transition to a carbon-free future that supports planetary and human health.

  • The evolution of American environmental law from Nixon to Trump

    The evolution of American environmental law from Nixon to Trump

    November 7, 2017

    “The Remarkable Evolution of American Environmental Law from Nixon to Trump and Beyond” panel during Harvard Law School's bicentennial summit focused on the uncertain future of the Environmental Protection Agency in the current administration. Panelists A. James Barnes ’67, Richard J. Lazarus ‘79, William Reilly ’65 and Gina McCarthy looked at the EPA’s distinguished history.

  • Joseph Goffman joins Environmental Law Program as new executive director

    Joseph Goffman joins Environmental Law Program as new executive director

    October 2, 2017

    Joseph Goffman, who, over a 30-year career, has shaped environmental law and policy at the highest levels of the Executive branch and as a senior congressional staffer, will join Harvard Law School's Environmental Law Program in November as Executive Director.

  • Paola Eisner ’19: Environmentalist, internationalist and artist 2

    Paola Eisner ’19: Environmentalist, internationalist and artist

    September 19, 2017

    At HLS in the Arts this past weekend, Paola Eisner ’19 exhibited a large still life that she painted before she went to college, and pages from a children’s book that she began working on before she started law school. Like these, many of the interests and projects that she pursues today have deeper roots.

  • Harvard Law School: 2016 in review

    December 22, 2016

    A look back at 2016, highlights of the people who visited, events that took place and everyday life at Harvard Law School.

  • Jody Freeman

    2016 Election implications for climate change regulation: Not as bad as it seems?

    November 10, 2016

    An op-ed by Jody Freeman: The stunning results of the 2016 election have prompted headlines suggesting that Trump will, with the help of the Republican Congress, dramatically reverse the Obama legacy on climate, energy and the environment. But how realistic is this threat? The short answer is: the picture is significantly more complicated, and markedly less bleak, than the headlines suggest.

  • Wendy Jacobs, Harvard officials call on EPA to withdraw proposed ‘transparency’ rule

    Harvard strengthens ‘living laboratory’ to help mitigate climate impact

    October 7, 2016

    Wendy Jacobs ’81, clinical professor and director of Harvard Law School’s Emmett Environmental Law and Policy Clinic, will lead the Living Lab Course and Research Project, which is designed to bring together students from across the University in interdisciplinary teams to develop innovative approaches for reducing greenhouse gas emissions at Harvard and beyond.

  • Presidential power in an era of polarized conflict 2

    Presidential power in an era of polarized conflict

    April 21, 2016

    On April 1, Harvard Law School hosted a conference on 'Presidential Power in an Era of Polarized Conflict,' a daylong gathering in which experts from both sides of the aisle debated the president’s power in foreign and domestic affairs, and in issues of enforcement or non-enforcement.

  • Hunting polluting gases around Boston

    April 18, 2016

    Harvard students, faculty and fellows are training new high-tech instruments on Boston’s skies, searching for one well-known troublemaker and one escapee among the atmosphere’s invisible gases.

  • Two former Republican EPA Administrators file brief supporting Obama’s plan to cut carbon emissions

    March 31, 2016

    Two former EPA Administrators, who served Republican Presidents, William D. Ruckelshaus and William K. Reilly, filed a friend of the court brief supporting the Obama administration’s plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. EPA’s Clean Power Plan is being challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by a coalition of State and industry opponents. This week, EPA filed its response to the legal challenge, and a number of other briefs are being filed in support of the Administration.

  • Jody Freeman

    HLS faculty awarded Climate Change Solutions Fund grants for multidisciplinary research

    March 3, 2016

    Ten research projects driven by faculty collaborators across six Harvard Schools will share over $1 million in the second round of grants awarded by the Climate Change Solutions Fund, an initiative launched last year by President Drew Faust to encourage multidisciplinary research around climate change.

  • Disclosures on fracking lacking, study finds

    December 16, 2015

    As the growth of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” transforms more rural landscapes across the heartland into industrial zones, companies are less willing to disclose the chemicals they inject into the ground, Harvard researchers have found.

  • Freeman, Lazarus author amicus motion on behalf of former EPA Administrators to back Clean Power Plan

    December 3, 2015

    Former United States EPA Administrators William D. Ruckelshaus and William K. Reilly formally moved today to participate in pending litigation in support of the legality of the President’s Clean Power Plan. The motion seeking leave to file a friend of the court brief was written by Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus of Harvard Law School.

  • WCC evolves from a sustainable space into a high-performing, energy efficient facility

    November 4, 2015

    The recent installation of 312 solar panels atop the WCC building on the Harvard Law School campus is the latest step toward helping HLS meet Harvard’s sustainability goals, including reducing greenhouse gas emissions 30% by 2016.

  • Professor Laurence Tribe

    A rebuttal from Tribe

    March 29, 2015

    Professor Laurence H. Tribe ’66 In previous exchanges with my colleagues Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus, I have explained why EPA’s Clean Power Plan lacks…

  • A followup from Freeman and Lazarus

    March 27, 2015

    Professors Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95 and Richard Lazarus ’79 For the purposes of what we hope to be our final rebuttal, we will…

  • Freeman and Lazarus: A rebuttal to Tribe’s reply

    March 21, 2015

    Professors Jody Freeman LL.M. ’91 S.J.D. ’95 and Richard Lazarus ’79 Our colleague Larry Tribe’s response to our initial posting serves as a reminder of…

  • Professor Laurence Tribe

    Tribe: Why EPA’s Climate Plan Is Unconstitutional

    March 20, 2015

    Professor Laurence H. Tribe ’66 When my friends Jody Freeman and Richard Lazarus defend the legality of the EPA’s power plant rule by saying that…

  • Experts debate the constitutionality of the president’s climate change plan

    March 20, 2015

    Noted constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe ’66, Carl M. Loeb University Professor, has made headlines with his Congressional testimony that the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan is unconstitutional. Professors Jody Freeman LL.M. '91 S.J.D. '95 and Richard Lazarus '79--two leading Harvard Law professors with expertise in environmental law, administrative law, and Supreme Court environmental litigation--take an opposing view.

  • Freeman and Lazarus: Is the President’s Climate Plan Unconstitutional?

    March 19, 2015

    Experts debate the constitutionality of the president’s climate change plan Noted constitutional law professor Laurence Tribe ’66 has made headlines with his Congressional testimony that

  • Lecturer Emily Broad Leib awarded Climate Change Solutions Fund grant

    February 11, 2015

    Lecturer on Law Emily Broad Leib, the director of Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic, was awarded a research grant in the inaugural year of Harvard President Drew Faust’s Climate Change Solutions Fund. Broad Leib's project, "Reducing Food Waste as a Key to Addressing Climate Change," was one of seven chosen to confront the challenge of climate change using the levers of law, policy, and economics, as well as public health and science.

  • Freeman, Lazarus discuss legal fate of EPA proposal to toughen emissions rules (video)

    October 10, 2014

    In a discussion on the EPA's proposed regulations on power-plant emissions, HLS Professors Richard Lazarus and Jody Freeman said that the proposed rules have the potential to both transform the national energy scene and invigorate international climate-change negotiations.

  • New HLS report offers assessment of regional and municipal stormwater management

    July 1, 2014

    In June, Harvard Law School’s Emmett Environmental Law & Policy Clinic and the Environmental Policy Initiative released “Regional and Municipal Stormwater Management: A Comprehensive Approach,” a new report that analyzes options for addressing stormwater pollution at both the regional and municipal level.

  • The Meat We Eat: HLS hosts a forum on industrial animal farming (video)

    May 2, 2014

    The Harvard Food Law Society hosted The Meat We Eat: 2014 Forum on Industrial Animal Farming, on Friday, April 4. The forum, co-hosted with the HLS Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, explored the legal and policy aspects of industrial animal farming and related effects on public health, the environment and animal welfare.

  • Tackling Climate Change through Law and Policy: A Q&A with Jody Freeman

    April 24, 2014

    n the spirit of Harvard University President Drew Faust’s recent focus on addressing the problem of climate change, we interviewed HLS Professor Jody Freeman, who served in the Obama administration as Counselor for Energy and Climate Change and is the co-author of a forthcoming book on global climate change and U.S. law.

  • Looking back and moving forward on Environmental Justice: A national conference (video)

    April 10, 2014

    In 1994, President Clinton issued Executive Order 12898, which made Environmental Justice a national priority. In recognition of the 20th anniversary of President Clinton’s Executive Order, the Harvard Law School Environmental Law Society (HELS) hosted the National Association of Environmental Law Societies (NAELS) 26th Annual Conference, on March 28–29, 2014, titled “Environmental Justice: Where Are We Now?”

  • Margaret Holden ’14

    Meet the Students: Some “Environmental Impact Statements”…

    March 7, 2014

    Students and recent graduates share their experiences with the Environmental Law and Policy Program at Harvard Law and discuss the influence that participation in the range of offerings has had on their academic and professional careers in Environmental Law.

  • Changing the Climate of Environmental Law

    March 7, 2014

    Having completed its first phase of growth, the Harvard Law School Environmental Law and Policy Program is now looking to strengthen and build. “We’ve gone from zero to 100 in a very short period of time,” says HLS Professor Jody Freeman, program founder and director. “And I feel as if we are just getting started.”

  • Ari Peskoe

    Harvard Law School Environmental Policy Initiative appoints new Energy Fellow

    January 13, 2014

    Ari Peskoe, a former associate in the Energy Advisory Group of McDermott Will & Emery LLP, and a graduate of Harvard Law School and the University of Pennsylvania, has been named Energy Fellow in the Harvard Law School Environmental Policy Initiative.

  • EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy

    Targeting Climate Change: EPA chief says issue is economic as well as environmental (video)

    July 31, 2013

    Newly confirmed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Tuesday pledged action on climate change during the Obama administration’s remaining years, saying the concern is as much economic as it is environmental.

  • Gina McCarthy

    New EPA administrator speaks at HLS (video)

    July 10, 2013

    Less than two weeks after being confirmed by the Senate as Environmental Protection Agency Administrator, Gina McCarthy delivered an inaugural address at Harvard Law School on Tuesday, July 30.

  • Richard Lazarus '79

    Richard Lazarus: Environmental law has fallen ‘in arrears’

    May 3, 2013

    Environmental lawlessness was the topic of discussion on April 10, as Richard Lazarus ’79, one of the nation’s foremost experts on environmental law, gave a lecture marking his appointment to the Howard J. and Katherine W. Aibel Professorship of Law.

  • Harvard Law study finds legal fractures in chemical disclosure laws

    May 3, 2013

    A registry intended to provide information to the public about the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing is not an acceptable regulatory measure, according to a recently released report by Harvard Law School’s Environmental Law Program Policy Initiative.