“You are the lawyers of tomorrow,” said Professor Kenneth T. Kristl in his introduction to the Widener Law Review’s Student Symposium that took place on Wednesday April 16th. The event gave students the opportunity to present their papers on climate change issues in advance of the Living with Climate Change: Legal Challenges in a Warmer World symposium to take place on April 18th.
The student symposium saw five Widener Law students from the Delaware campus present papers they had submitted for a writing competition sponsored by the Law Review. After Widener Law Review Editor-in-Chief Janine L. Hochberg opened the proceedings with a general welcome, Professor Kristl spoke. He noted that global warming “is changing our physical world. The law is going to have to respond to that.”
After Professor Kristl spoke, the first student presenter, Deanne Camara Ferreira, presented her paper entitled “Climate Change & Agriculture: Could Methane Gas from Dairy Cows Spark the Next Gold Rush?” Ferreira discussed the role of methane in climate change and how the use of methane digesters to generate electricity has generated a good deal of income for some cattle ranchers. The next speaker, Liam O’Shaughnessy, discussed his paper, “International Tax Approaches to Climate Change Mitigation”, which focused on how different countries had approached the implementation of solar power.
Jeremy Hague’s paper, “The Fate of State Regulations of Green House Gas Emissions Under the America’s Climate Security Act of 2007”, examined how a federal bill before Congress might effect state regulations on the emissions. Mariaeleni Sotirchou’s “Civil Conspiracy and Concert of Action Allegations in Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil” examined the efforts of the Alaskan village of Kivalina to seek damages from a number of companies for contributing to global warming. They claim that climate change has put their village in danger because the ice that used to protect the village from storms is melting. Finally, David Anthony presented “Why NEPA Must be Amended In Order to Combat Global Climate Change”, arguing that the National Environmental Policy Act is inadequate because it allows for no private cause of action and gives too much discretion to the Executive branch of the federal government.
Each presenter offered meaningful insight into climate change and the legal concerns surrounding it. An audience comprised of fellow students, faculty, and staff witnessed the presentations and presented the speakers with a number of questions. The student presenters will be able to use the feedback as they prepare their papers for submission to the new student writing competition that is part of the Law Review's annual Symposium. The winning student paper will be published in the Law Review issue containing the articles from the presenters at the April 18 Symposium, as well as a cash prize of $250. The second and third place articles will receive recognition in the Symposium issue, as well as cash prizes of $150 and $100 respectively.