Climate Change and the Practice of Law
Arizona Attorney, Vol. 47, p. 30, October 2010
4 Pages Posted: 13 Oct 2010
Date Written: October 1, 2010
This piece, jointly authored by a legal scholar and a climate scientist, explores the relevance of climate change to general legal practice, including business law, securities regulation, real estate, insurance, land use, state and local law, transportation, and regulated industries including energy and water. Our hypothesis is that through change in the “facts on the ground” – current and emerging climate impacts – and through active discussions of legal and regulatory reforms, climate change is fast becoming an issue of significant importance to general legal practice. Business or real estate investments, including insurance agreements, are made based on assumptions about the nature and scale of risks – risks of extreme events, and risk of changed circumstances with regard to water, other natural resources, power and health. The full suite of legal tools that are available to manage risk – including the building blocks of contract, tort law, property, and insurance – should all shift to take account of the changed and often greater risks. The focus of this article on impacts on current general legal practice is in sharp contrast to the vast majority of the voluminous recent legal scholarship on law and climate change.
Keywords: climate change, global change, adaptation, mitigation, environmental law, environmental practice, energy, regulated industries, real estate, insurance, legal practice, securities regulation, state and local government
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