A central mission of the Emmett Center is to attract, train, and support tomorrow's climate policy leaders. We provide students with opportunities, including via financial support, to work at the forefront of climate advocacy and to learn from leaders in the field.
Scholarships and financial support for climate work
The Emmett Center offers an incoming tuition scholarship, called the Will Scholarship in Environmental Law, to promising applicants looking to devote their careers to climate and environmental law issues. We also regularly support public interest summer placements in environmental and climate law. Recently we have provided financial support for students working at the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Center for Biological Diversity, the U.S. Department of Justice Environment and Natural Resources Division, the California Air Resources Board, and the California Attorney General's office, among others.
Climate advocacy through the Environmental Law Clinic
Through the UCLA Environmental Law Clinic, students have tackled climate change cases and projects while representing environmental non-profit groups and other public interest clients. Students have successfully challenged the grant of a permit for coal mining on Native American lands in Arizona, on behalf of Hopi tribal members; drafted petitions and comment letters urging changes in federal law to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Center for Biological Diversity, a leading NGO working to reduce global warming; and worked through the United Nations on behalf of small island developing states fighting for aggressive international climate change action.
International climate work
Through the Emmett Center, UCLA Law students attended the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Copenhagen, Denmark in 2009 as part of a class on international climate obligations. Students participated in the meeting as credentialed delegate observers and met with country delegates, key NGO groups, and others to see climate negotiations in action. Read more about our trip here. We are planning another student delegation to the upcoming UNFCCC climate talks in Durban, South Africa, in late 2011.
UCLA Law students in Copenhagen with Dr. Raj Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Learning from thought leaders
In the past few years, the Emmett Center has hosted a string of leaders in climate law and policy and given students opportunities to meet them, take classes from them and hear ideas at the forefront of the movement. Visitors and partners have included:
-Rep. Henry Waxman, author of the American Clean Energy Security Act
-Sen. Fran Pavley, author of California's Global Warming Solutions Act
-Dr. James Hansen, leading climate scientist at NASA
-Jody Freeman, President Obama's former White House Counselor for Energy and Climate
-Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board (the agency charged with developing California's greenhouse gas emissions reduction program)
-Dr. Naomi Oreskes, author of the bestselling book "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming"
-Kristin Eberhard, the Natural Resources Defense Council's Legal Director of Western Energy and Climate Projects
Our faculty places a high priority on helping students reach their career goals, guiding them through class selection, summer internship choices, and permanent job searches. Faculty mentors also assist students in statewide and national environmental moot competitions, with applications for coveted internships and scholarships, and in myriad other ways.
Former UCLA Law student Alexa Engelman during her semester internship at the White House Council on Environmental Quality
Learning from each other
The strong and growing community of UCLA Law environmental law students and alumni has itself become an important source of support and mentorship. Our student-led journal, the Journal of Environmental Law and Policy, and the Environmental Law Society serve as hubs for sharing information and help to foster a community with shared values and goals. Students enjoy the mountains and beaches around Los Angeles through ELS hikes and outings. Alumni have organized email and Facebook groups for posting job opportunities and organizing alumni get-togethers in cities from LA to San Francisco to Washington, D.C.
Professors Sean Hecht and Ann Carlson with UCLA Law students in the Santa Monica Mountains