The IUCN Colloquium officially kicked off Wednesday morning with a keynote speeches from Michael Gerrard and Zen Baruch. Professor Gerrard, Director of the Columbia Center for Climate Change Law, discussed climate change adaptation in the urban energy utility sector, using the 2013 Consolidated Edison Rate Case as a case study. Having participated in the proceeding through his work at the Pace Energy and Climate Center, John was very excited to see climate change law discussed with the international academic environmental law community. Energy and environmental law have truly reached a nexus.
We later attended break out sessions throughout the day. First, we attended a unique presentation describing a alternative ideologies and world-views that have the potential to inform the discussion and regulation of energy law. The workshop included discussion of ancient cosmologies, religious theory, and indigenous ethical regimes.
Our afternoon breakout group discussed energy law and environmental justice, specifically constitutional principles creating stronger environmental rights. Professor Cassuto argued with presenter and Widener Law Professor, Jimmy Mays, about whether Batman or Superman would win in direct conflict. More importantly, Professor Cassuto’s argument also questioned the enforcement mechanisms and practical and effective application of constitutional rights to the preservation of the natural environment.
The day concluded with an IUCNAEL tradition: wine tasting! Universitat Roviera i Virgila has a school of oenology and vineyard, and they were quite generous in sharing their craft. We ended the first full day of the Colloquium watching the International Fireworks Competition over the Mediterranean. More to come!