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Completed Projects

Shale Gas Law and Policy Project

The Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy has an ongoing project examining the rapidly-evolving law and policy issues arising out of the controversial practice of extracting natural gas from underground shale deposits through horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing.  A recent product of this project was a public comment letter filed by the Center in the shale gas regulatory proceeding underway in the State of New York.  The Center’s letter focused on potentially significant greenhouse gas impacts not addressed in New York’s revised draft supplemental generic environmental impact statement.

Download the January 2012 Public Comment Letter.

Towards a China Environmental Performance Index

A team of researchers jointly led by Yale University and Columbia University released a report in December 2011 that introduces a framework for assessing China’s environmental management and performance. This analysis offers the first independent review of Chinese provincial-level environmental performance by international researchers.

While stopping short of producing a final index that would have ranked the 31 provinces and municipalities according to environmental performance, the report -- “Towards a China Environmental Performance Index” -- is a major first step in providing a blueprint for metrics the government can use to aid tracking progress toward policy goals. The report comes at a particularly salient time for Chinese policymakers, who are in the process of implementing local plans to implement the recently adopted 12th Five-Year Plan. The Plan is considered the greenest to date with high-level goals concerning climate change, energy, and environmental pollutants.

Download the English version of the report here.

Exploring Trade and the Environment: An Empirical Examination of Trade Openness and National Environmental Performance

The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy released in May 2011 a first-of-its-kind empirical study on the relationships between trade and the environment. The report—called “Exploring Trade and the Environment: An Empirical Examination of Trade Openness and National Environmental Performance”—finds evidence that trade openness can have both positive and negative associations with environmental quality.

Download the Executive Summary, the Full Report, and the Data (Beta Version).

2010 Global Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy

Yale University hosted the 2nd Global Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy in New Haven, Connecticut, in the margins of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal Summit held in New York City September 2010. Focusing on the theme of Strengthening Institutions to Address Climate Change and Advance a Green Economy, the event examined the role of institutional structures and decisionmaking procedures in fostering (or impeding) low carbon and climate resilient development. Papers and discussion panels addressed various levels of governance -- global, transnational, national, sub-national, and local -- as well as specialized governance topics, including governance of climate change science, financing and forestry.

Clean Energy Innovation: Overcoming Barriers to a New Energy System

The Yale Climate and Energy Institute, under the direction of IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra K. Pachauri, hosted the first annual conference of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute in April 2010. The conference convened leaders in science, policy, business, and international affairs to discuss the barriers that prevent clean energy from achieving full-scale deployment as well as solutions for overcoming those barriers.

Read the full conference report here.

2008 Conference of Governors on Climate Change

“This Conference on the conservation of natural resources is in effect a meeting of the representatives of all the people of the United States called to consider the weightiest problem now before the Nation.”

... so said President Theodore Roosevelt in May of 1908 in his opening address at the White House Conference of Governors which launched the modern conservation movement and planted the seed for the National Parks System. Roosevelt, an avid hunter and outdoorsman, showed remarkable foresight in engaging the “chief executive officers of the States” to preserve and protect the Nation's natural resources.

The Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies commemorated the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt's legacy with a Conference of Governors on Climate Change on April 17 and 18, 2008. This conference celebrated the past, confronted the present climate challenge, and envisioned a new future. In particular, this conference recognized those governors who have demonstrated global leadership in addressing climate change and also provided these leaders with an opportunity to exchange ideas and chart a forward path on state, national, and international action. The event included both an exclusive forum for private discussion among the governors as well as an open plenary session to give participants the opportunity to address the media, policymakers, students, and the world. Given the scope of this challenge, international governor-equivalents who have demonstrated visionary tactics on addressing climate change were also invited to participate.

2008 Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy

The Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy took place at Yale University May 10-11, 2008, in the margins of the 16th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. The event brought together academic experts and practitioners from governments, inter-governmental organizations, civil society and the private sector. Participants took stock of contemporary research and knowledge gaps at the intersection of institutions, public participation and environmental sustainability. The objective of the Conference was to develop a research program and network to strengthen institutional approaches for effective and context-sensitive public participation in environmental governance. Discussions covered various levels of environmental governance, including international, national, regional, local, and corporate governance. About 160 participants with diverse backgrounds and affiliations participated in the invite-only event.

Global Environmental Governance (GEG) Forum: Reflecting on the Past, Moving into the Future

The Global Environmental Governance Forum: Reflecting on the Past, Moving into the Future took place from June 28-July, 2009 in Glion, Switzerland and brought together several generations of environmental leaders, including all five successive UNEP Executive Directors (Maurice Strong, Mostafa Tolba, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Klaus Töpfer, and Achim Steiner). Participants from 26 countries gathered in order to rediscover the past, analyze the present and imagine the future of global environmental governance. Through intensive dialogue and deliberation the Forum fostered and inspired renewed environmental leadership.

Global Environment and Trade Study (GETS)

A collaboration between YCELP, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy in Minnesota and other partners, this project sought to provide better analytic underpinnings for efforts to integrate trade and environmental policymaking. One element of this work, (the Sustainable Americas Project) focused on the lessons of NAFTA and the Free Trade Area of the Americas; other aspects addressed the World Trade Organization.

Empresa Informa

Empresa Informa encourages a constructive and specialized dialogue in Latin America over corporate sustainability reporting practices.

Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy Working Paper Series 2004-2006

Best Practice in Internal Oversight of Lobbying Practice
Robert Repetto, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

TRUEVA: A New Integrated Financial Measure of Environmental Exposure
Robert Repetto and Daniel Dias, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Globalization and Environmental Protection: A Global Governance Perspective
Daniel C. Esty and Maria Ivanova, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Assessing UNEP as Anchor Institution for the Global Environment: Lessons for the UNEO Debate
Maria Ivanova, Yale University



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