Jason J. Czarnezki, Olof Palme visiting Professor, Gilbert and Sarah Kerlin Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Associate Dean of Environmental Law Programs and Strategic Initiatives, Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University (New York).
Society must recognize that climate change, as well as the current pandemic and ongoing racial injustices, are sustainability and security crises. The three dimensions of environmental, social and economic welfare are not only key pillars of sustainable development, but also essential factors for security. We see significant law and policy challenges in accounting for large scale disruptions due to climate change and environmental degradation including mass migration, food insecurity, natural disasters, inequality, access to clean water, and the breakdown of the civil society. More specifically, how does law – legal structures, frameworks, institutions and safeguards – matter for climate justice and security? How can significant global security risks be accounted for and peace promoted or ensured? What is the role of environmental law, broadly defined (food, energy, land use, natural resources law)? Given the similar potentially destabilizing effects of the climate crisis (e.g., protests and social unrest, disparate racial and economic impacts), what can we learn about the effectiveness of various legal tools from the responses to COVID-19 and protests against police brutality?