The Westchester Climate Summit

By Ryan Sharp, Associate Pace Environmental Law Review. Class of 2016

Last Friday September 12th, marked an amazing day for climate change awareness in Westchester, New York. In the second half of the day, two Pace law professors made two extraordinary speeches. Professor John Nolon gave the first speech. His speech highlighted the fact that for the first time sustainable development is favored by market and economic forces. Land Use plans in New York have become increasingly important post-Super Storm Sandy. Land Use plans, and specifically “no build zones,” can help ward against the climate change impacts that will eventually affect us. Professor Nolon seemed to be very optimistic about the role of local governments in handling the impending climate change impacts through land use law and plans.

Professor Karl Rabago gave the next speech. The highlight of his speech was about the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) proceeding, which is happening throughout New York. The REV proceeding is a great way to get involved with the future climate impacts caused by energy production. Everyone should get involved with the REV proceeding. The utilities are charting the future of the NY energy market and it is a statewide concern. Smart grids are another great way to tackle climate change through the energy grid. The smart grid promotes energy efficiency and take advantage of advancements in technology to limit environmental damage.

Dean Richard Ottinger made the closing remarks at the summit. He stressed the fact that everyone needs to take the time and effort to influence our communities, because it will make a difference. “If what we do is small in the national scheme of things, it is still worth doing, because if we don’t act we will suffer the consequences.”

Overall it was a great and informative day. PELR was so very lucky to have a presence at this event.

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