State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School


Sabin Center Wins Award for Outstanding Contributions to Environmental Protection

judge's gavel
The Sabin Center develops legal techniques to fight climate change. Photo: Pexels

The American Bar Association (ABA) this weekend honored Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law with the Distinguished Achievement in Environmental Law and Policy Award. The award recognizes the center’s outstanding contributions to environmental protection and sustainable development efforts in the United States.

The award was presented on August 13 during the ABA’s annual meeting in New York City.

“The Sabin Center has emerged as one of the premier sources, arguably the premier source in the world, for information, analysis, and education on the law of climate change,” said Pamela Esterman, chair of the ABA awards committee.

michael gerrard with award
Michael Gerrard is Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School and director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

Accepting the award was Director and Professor Michael B. Gerrard, recently ranked as the top “thought leader” in environmental law in North America by Who’s Who Legal.”These are perilous times for the effort to fight climate change. Law and lawyers have never been more important, and it is gratifying that the ABA is recognizing our work in this effort,” said Gerrard.

The Sabin Center, founded by Gerrard in 2009 and co-led by Executive Director Michael Burger, works to develop legal techniques to address climate change. The Sabin Center is a member center of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and frequently collaborates with Earth Institute scientists on cutting edge interdisciplinary research.

One of the Sabin Center’s many notable and recent initiatives is the Climate Deregulation Tracker, which was launched after the inauguration of President Trump to track steps by the new administration and Congress to roll back climate protection policies. Other initiatives include:

  • Searchable online compilations of U.S. and non-U.S. Climate Change Litigation
  • Climate Change Laws of the World, a joint project with the London School of Economics and Political Science summarizing national-level climate change policies around the world
  • A library of publications on critical issues of climate law authored by Sabin Center faculty, staff, fellows, visitors, and affiliates
  • A database of environmental actions undertaken by state attorneys general aimed at advancing the ball on environmental law and policy, developed in collaboration with
  • Model legislation and protocols for environmental review, green building, renewable energy, and climate risk and resiliency laws

In his acceptance speech, Gerrard urged environmental lawyers in the United States to play their part in fighting the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda in this “time of unprecedented peril to U.S. environmental law.”

A version of this post was previously published by the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

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