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  • Locations: Katowice, Poland
  • Program Terms: Fall (Short Term)
  • Restrictions: UB applicants only
  • Budget Sheets: Fall (Short Term)
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Open to: UB students only Language of Instruction: English
Minimum GPA: 3.0 Eligibility: Graduate Students only
Program Advisor: Olga Crombie
Program Description:

Climate Change Law and Policy

Katowice, Poland
Poland is an eastern European country that has a long Baltic Sea coastline and is bordered by Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine. By the turn of the 21st century, Poland was a market-based democracy, abundant in products of all kinds and a member of both NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the European Union (EU), allied more strongly with western Europe than with eastern Europe but, as always, squarely between them. A land of striking beauty, Poland is punctuated by great forests and rivers, broad plains, and tall mountains. 
Katowice is a city west of Krakow, in the Silesian province of southern Poland with a population of 297,197 as of 2017 and the center of the Silesian Metropolis, with a population of 2.2 million. It exhibits Polish art and chronicles the history of Upper Silesia. Throughout the mid-18th century, Katowice had developed into a village upon the discovery of rich coal reserves in the area. The outbreak of World War I was favorable for Katowice due to the prospering steel industry. Katowice is a center of science, culture, industry, business, trade, and transportation in Upper Silesia and southern Poland, and the main city in the Upper Silesian Industrial Region.  A large dome crowns the Cathedral of Christ the King, built between 1927 and 1955. The adjacent Archdiocesan Museum exhibits Silesian sacred art and the ultramodern Silesian Museum features several glass structures on the site of a former coal mine. Today, the city is considered as an emerging metropolis.

Even the Supreme Court has recognized that climate change is the most pressing and complex environmental problem facing our planet. LAW 819 concerns the issues of law and policy that are involved in the regulation of climate change. The course examines both U.S. (federal, state, and local) and international law. It begins with an overview of the causes and effects of global climate change and the methods available to control and adopt to it. We then study past and proposed actions of the U.S. Congress, the executive branch and the courts, as well as regional, state and municipal efforts. The Clean Air Act and other federal environmental laws will be examined as well as efforts by state and local governments. The course will introduce you to various legal tools, including cap-and-trade schemes; carbon taxation; command-and-control regulation; litigation; information disclosure; and voluntary action.

The course ends by examining the negotiation and implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, the Paris Accord and efforts to effectuate the agreements. Students will also meet on campus Thursday afternoons (2:45-5:45pm) in November 2018(excepting Thanksgiving). We will then travel to Katowice, Poland to attend and participate in the annual treaty negotiations. The 2018 negotiations will take place over two weeks (from December 3-15). Most students will attend only one week of the negotiations (either Dec. 3-8 or Dec.10-15), representing either SUNY or an environmental NGO as accredited observers. There is also an opportunity for a few students to represent a country and attend for two weeks. While on the trip, students will attend morning meetings and will contribute to a blog about their experiences. The course culminates in a seminar paper due in January 2019. Open to upper level law students and graduate students from all departments.

In order for students to participate in this program, they MUST be registered for LAW 819 in the Fall 2018 semester. The Program Director, Professor Owley, will assist program participants with this process, if and as necessary.


Climate Change - Marrakech, Morocco
"While on my trip to the COP22 I learned so much about new emerging green technology and about the specific environmental concerns unique to many different countries. As someone who wants to work in government and policy it was really amazing to actually sit in the room with the delegates from different countries and listen to the negotiations going on.  Going on this trip was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I'm so glad I was able to attend it." 

- Melanie Jamileh Prasad, esq., Marrakech, Morocco 2016

Climate Change - Paris
"I found the trip to to COP21 very worthwhile. It was one of the best experiences I had in law school. Although I only had a pass into the "Green Zone," which was the space open to the public at COP21, I was still able to attend presentations on a variety of topics relating to my area of interest in energy and environmental law. I also found the interaction and input from people from other countries enlightening. Their input revealed that the global consensus is to act on climate change, even if there is political hurdles in certain countries. Having the opportunity to participate in the climate conferences, even if only on a small level, was very rewarding for someone who was interested in pursuing a career in energy and environmental law. The trip also made for great conversation in job interviews! I would recommend the trip to any student interested in environmental, energy, or international law."
- Collin Doane, Paris 2015

Hotel accommodations will be provided and are included in the program fee.
Estimated costs for this program can be found at the top of this page next to Budget Sheets by clicking on the term.
Please contact the Faculty Program Director:

Jessica Owley


This program is currently not accepting applications.