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Member Scholars Light the Way to a Brighter Future for All

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Greetings from sunny San Diego, where the Center for Progressive Reform is gathering alongside the annual Association of American Law Schools conference to celebrate 20 years of impact and explore legal and policy changes that would secure a more sustainable climate and a more just transition to clean energy.

Also at the top of our agenda: celebrating our invaluable Member Scholars.

Our first toast goes to Dan Farber, a lawyer, professor, author and historian whose pioneering environmental law career turns the big 5-0 this year. Born in Chicago, Farber showed early promise, to say the least, graduating at the top of his law class at the University of Illinois and going on to clerk for Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

In the half century since, he has taught at a veritable “who’s who” of law schools, including the Universities of Illinois, Minnesota, and of California at Berkeley, where he now co-directs the Center for Law, Energy, and Environment, and as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago, Harvard, and Stanford Law Schools.

His gold-plated resume doesn’t end there. The California transplant is one of the nation’s leading public intellectuals on most pressing issues of our time. A longtime Member Scholar of the Center for Progressive Reform, Farber has published 20+ books and 200+ articles and volunteers his time with such notable organizations as the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Association of University Professors.

Farber writes a regular column for Legal Planet, a niche publication that dives deep into environmental law and policy and is frequently cited in the media. In recent years, his name has appeared in outlets ranging from Vice News to The Washington Post to U.S. News and World Report on topics including climate change, the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Biden administration, and more.

Another round of toasts

The Center is deeply grateful to Farber for leading the national conversation around climate action and good governance and toasts other scholars for driving the conversation around progressive policy change.

In December, Member Scholar Karen Sokol, law professor at Loyola University New Orleans and a visiting scholar at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, published a piece in Lawfare on the recent international agreement to establish a “loss and damage” fund to help lower-wealth countries recover from climate damage. The piece follows a discussion Sokol had on the subject on the outlet’s podcast in the aftermath of this fall’s Conference of Parties (COP27) meeting in Egypt. She explains what the fund means for U.S. policy in the wake of the recent election.

Member Scholar Rebecca Bratspies, a law professor at the City University of New York, was also active last fall. In November, she participated in a symposium on “environmental constitutionalism” held by the Pace Environmental Law Review. Specifically, she explored how New York might use its new “green” amendment to its state constitution, which enshrines the right to clean air and water and a healthy environment, to advance climate justice across the state.

She also spoke against environmental racism in the wake of the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, on a university television program and about climate and environmental justice initiatives in New York on Harvard Law School’s Clean Law podcast. Earlier this year, she earned the 2022 International Human Rights Award from the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law.

Also in November, Member Scholar David Driesen spoke on a panel that explored the prospects for meeting U.S. commitments to international climate goals in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. The event was covered by the Daily Orange, a local independent publication.

And that’s just to name a few.

As we celebrate our 20th anniversary in San Diego, we want to congratulate our Member Scholars not only for their recent accolades, but also for their many accomplishments over the decades on behalf of the Center and our collective movement for equity, justice, health, safety, and environmental sustainability.

As our timeline of accomplishments shows, our scholars have led the way to a better future: defining and setting a progressive regulatory agenda, amplifying conversations about climate justice, spotlighting industry malfeasance, fighting efforts to weaken climate and environmental protections, and much more.

Hats off to Farber for a half century of leadership and to all of our other scholars who continue to light the way to a brighter future for all.

To learn more about our scholars and their work, visit our Member Scholar page.

Climate Justice Public Protections Responsive Government Air Climate Defending Safeguards Energy Environmental Justice

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