Notes Introduction: Changing Law for a Changing Climate

David Takacs

Volume 66, Issue 2, 513-18

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2014 definitive statement portends numerous, widespread, severe (and possibly catastrophic) risks climate change poses to human and nonhuman communities. Temperatures will rise, storms will intensify, droughts will persist, pests will spread, pollinators will go extinct or lose synchronicity with the crops and wild plants they pollinate, and sea levels will rise. Meanwhile, human populations expand and move, exploiting more of the ecosystems upon which all human life depends. Climate change has already disrupted Earth’s functioning ecosystems and the human communities that depend on those ecosystems (that is, all of us), with further growth in greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions increasing the likelihood of “severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts” sooner rather than later.

All of us—including practicing and aspiring lawyers—ignore these threats at our own peril. In this issue of the Hastings Law Journal, three students pose creative yet pragmatic legal solutions, which, if realized, would help mitigate the buildup of greenhouse gases, or help adapt to the inevitable changes that climate change will bring.

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