UW News

May 21, 2009

UW School of Law conference addresses climate change and human rights

The UW School of Law will host Three Degrees: The Law of Climate Change and Human Rights Conference on May 28 and 29. The conference is a UW law student-led effort to develop a legal system addressing the impacts of climate change on human rights. In addition to gathering world leaders with expertise in climate change, human rights, public health, humanitarian relief, science, and international and U.S. law, the goal of the students organizing the conference is to draft and present recommendations to international policy makers at the United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen later this year.

Conference speakers include Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland; Henry Shue, senior research fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for International Studies; Bill Neukom, former president of the American Bar Association; Kilaparti Ramakrishna, senior adviser to the Division of Environmental Law and Conventions at the United Nations Environment Program; Marc Limon, an adviser to the Maldives Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and David Battisti, UW professor of atmospheric sciences. Moderator Kim Taylor-Thompson, best known for her work as a moderator of Socratic dialogues, will challenge panelists to debate legal responses to a fictitious disaster scenario based on a three degree Celsius rise in the Earth’s temperature.

“It’s long overdue that the climate crisis and its effect on human lives around the world is addressed from the legal perspective,” said Taylor-Thompson. “The conference will bring a mix of perspectives, thought leaders, and practitioners together to draft an agenda for change.”

Former Vice President Al Gore’s grassroots organization, The Climate Project (TCP), has teamed up with the students to help disseminate dialogue from and results of the conference. “Partnership with TCP gives global visibility to results from the conference using the effective grassroots-approach of Gore’s organization,” said UW law student Jeni Krencicki Barcelos, a conference organizer.

Krencicki Barcelos, a Gates Public Service Scholarship recipient, is a current TCP presenter who was trained by Gore to deliver a slide show based on his Academy Award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.

Three Degrees is the law school’s third annual climate conference and is sponsored by the Linden Rhoads Dean’s Innovation Fund, Gates Public Service Law Program, and the UW School of Law. Registration is requested.