Michael Gerrard of the Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School explores the challenging realities facing small island nations threatened by global sea level rise. Questions of political sovereignty and economic subsistence are considered, as are corresponding understandings of human security. Of particular importance, what pressing legal issues do these drowning island nations face? Gerrard points to the problematic identification of climate-induced refugees, as well as the questionable territorial status of submerged states. Emphasis is placed upon the growing need to situate climate-induced migration within the broader agenda of climate negotiations. For Gerrard, legal linkages between the fragility of small island nations and the rising emissions of their larger international counterparts must be considered. The views expressed here are those of Mr. Gerrard in his personal capacity, and do not reflect those of any other organization.
- Jane McAdam, Climate Change, Forced Migration, and International Law (Oxford University Press 2012)
- Michael B. Gerrard and Gregory Wannier, Threatened Island Nations: Legal Implications of Rising Seas and a Changing Climate (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming)
- Web site: http://www.law.columbia.edu/centers/climatechange/resources/threatened-island-nations
Michael B. Gerrard, Background
Columbia Law SchoolMichael B. Gerrard teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy law, and is director of the Center for Climate Change Law. He holds a joint appointment to the faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute. From 1979 through 2008 he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter LLP. Upon joining the Columbia law faculty in 2009, he became Senior Counsel to the firm. His practice involved trying numerous cases and arguing many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals, handling the environmental aspects of numerous transactions and development projects, and providing regulatory compliance advice to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors.
A prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, Gerrard twice received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Law Book award for works on environmental law and brownfields. He has written or edited ten books, including Global Climate Change and U.S. Law, the leading work in its field and the twelve-volume Environmental Law Practice Guide. His ninth book, The Law of Clean Energy: Efficiency and Renewables, was published in 2011. His tenth book, The Law of Adaptation to Climate Change: U.S. and International Aspects, will be published in the summer of 2012. Since 1986 he has been an environmental law columnist for the New York Law Journal.
Gerrard was the 2004-2005 chair of the American Bar Association’s 10, 000-member Section of Environment, Energy and Resources. He also chaired the Executive Committee of the New York City Bar Association, and the Environmental Law Section of the New York State Bar Association. He is a member of the board of the Environmental Law Institute. Several independent rating services ranked Gerrard as the leading environmental lawyer in New York and one of the leading environmental lawyers in the world.
Gerrard has taught courses at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and New York University Law School. He has also lectured on environmental law in Great Britain, France, Netherlands, Denmark, China, India, Japan, Chile, Canada and throughout the United States.
Recorded May 2012