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Environmental Law Scholar Michael Wara Joins Stanford Law School Faculty

Publication Date: 
September 02, 2008
Stanford Law School

STANFORD, Calif., September 2, 2008—Stanford Law School today announced the appointment of environmental scholar Michael Wara as Assistant Professor of Law. Trained as a lawyer and a scientist, Wara’s current research focuses on the emerging global carbon trading market and mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions after the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012. His broader scholarship encompasses the legal, financial, and technological constraints on the production of energy.

”Michael is a pioneer in the next generation of legal academics working on the environment—scholars who can think about and approach issues of environmental law and policy with a deep understanding of the underlying science and technology,” said Larry Kramer, Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean. “There is no more important work to be done, and Michael is on the cutting edge.”

Wara’s most recent research sheds light on the Kyoto Protocol Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), a carbon trading market that works by paying developing countries to adopt lower-polluting technologies. Wara’s findings, published in Nature in February 2007 and the subject of a follow-up working paper with co-researcher Professor of Law David Victor, suggest that CDM is not an effective incentive for reducing emissions.

Wara, who is also a fellow at the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), draws on an extensive background in oceanography, geochemistry, and climate science. He holds a doctorate in ocean sciences from UC Santa Cruz (2003) and has published work in Science on the history of the El Niño/La Niña system and its response to changing climates.

“This is a defining moment in environmental law, and I cannot think of a better place to be teaching and conducting research than at Stanford Law,” said Wara, who is teaching Environmental Law and Policy this winter. “In addition to being a world-class arena for interdisciplinary research, the law school is at the forefront of using rigorous empirical approaches to understanding the real-world impact of environmental law and policy.”

Wara joined Stanford in 2007 as a research fellow and lecturer in law at Stanford Law and as a FSI research fellow. Previously, Wara was an associate in Holland & Knight's Government Practice Group, where his practice focused on climate change, land use, and environmental law. In addition to a PhD in ocean sciences, he holds a BA from Columbia University (1996) and a JD from Stanford Law School (2006).

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation's leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, and write books and articles for academic audiences, as well as the popular press. Along with offering traditional law school classes, the school has embraced new subjects and new ways of teaching.



Amy Poftak
Assistant Director of Communications
Stanford Law School