William Boyd

Professor of Law
Michael J. Klein Chair in Law
Faculty Co-Director, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment

  • B.A. University of North Carolina, 1989
  • M.A. University of California, Berkeley, 1994
  • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 2002
  • J.D. Stanford Law School, 2002
  • UCLA Faculty since 2018

William Boyd is Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law and Professor at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Boyd is also a Faculty Co-Director of the Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

Boyd was previously Professor of Law and John H. Schultz Energy Law Fellow at University of Colorado Boulder School of Law. His primary research and teaching interests are in energy law and regulation, climate change law and policy, and environmental law. Much of his recent scholarship has been motivated by two related concerns: (1) how particular ways of thinking have structured the manner in which problems are framed in energy and environmental law and, in turn, how they have shaped specific regulatory responses; and (2) how particular forms of energy and environmental governance are emerging in the context of a plural, fragmented and increasingly global set of institutions and actors.

Professor Boyd continues to be actively involved in climate, energy, and environmental policy matters at multiple levels of governance. Since 2009, he has served as the Project Lead for the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force (GCF), a unique subnational collaboration of 38 states and provinces from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mexico, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, and the United States that is working to develop regulatory frameworks to reduce emissions from deforestation and land use. Boyd is also the founding Director of the Laboratory for Energy & Environmental Policy innovation (LEEP), a policy innovation lab based in Boulder, Colorado that works with partners around the world to develop and support real-time policy experiments, establish robust networks for learning and exchange, and contribute to effective and durable policy outcomes.

Professor Boyd received his B.A. from University of North Carolina, where he was a Morehead Scholar, his M.A. and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, and his J.D. from Stanford Law School, where he served as Articles Editor of the Stanford Law Review. After law school, Boyd clerked for the Honorable Diana Gribbon Motz of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit. He then served as American Association for the Advancement of Science Congressional Science Fellow and Counsel on the Democratic minority staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works, and practiced energy, environmental, and climate change law with the firm of Covington & Burling, LLP in Washington D.C.

Professor Boyd’s recent scholarship has appeared in UCLA Law Review, Ecology Law Quarterly, and the Yale Journal on Regulation among others. His 2015 book The Slain Wood: Papermaking and its Environmental Consequences in the American South was awarded the 2016 Edelstein Prize by the Society for the History of Technology.

View Professor Boyd's CV.


  • Books
    • Cases and Materials on Environmental Law (with Daniel A. Farber and Ann Carlson). 10th ed. West Academic (2019).
    • The Slain Wood: Paper Making and its Environmental Consequences in the American South. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press (2015). Amazon
  • Articles And Chapters
    • Decommodifying Electricity. 97 Southern California Law Review __  (forthcoming 2024). 
    • De-Risking Environmental Law, 48 Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 153 (2024). Full Text
    • With Regard for Persons, 86 Law & Contemp. Probs. 101 (2023). Full Text
    • Food Law’s Agrarian Question: Capital, Global Farmland, and Food Security in an Age of Climate Disruption, in Research Handbook on International Food Law, (edited by Michael Roberts, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2023). Full Text
    • Climate Liability for Wildfire Emissions from Federal Forests, 48 Ecology Law Quarterly 101 (2022). Full Text
    • The Poverty of Theory: Public Problems, Instrument Choice, and the Climate Emergency, 46 Columbia Journal of Environmental Law 399 (2021). Full Text
    • Ways of Price Making and the Challenge of Market Governance in U.S. Energy Law, 105 Minnesota Law Review 739 (2020). Full Text
    • The Clean Air Act’s National Ambient Air Quality Standards: A Case Study of Durability and Flexibility in Program Design and Implementation, in Lessons from the Clean Air Act: Building Adaptability into U.S. Climate and Energy Policy, (edited by Ann Carlson and Dallas Burtraw, Cambridge Univ. Press, 2019). Full Text
    • Water is for Fighting Over: Papermaking and the Struggle Over Groundwater in Coastal Georgia, 1930s-2000s, in Coastal Nature, Coastal Culture, (edited by Pressly and Sutter, Univ. of Georgia Press, 2018).
    • Just Price, Public Utility, and the Long History of Economic Regulation in America, 35 Yale Journal on Regulation 721 (2018). Full Text
    • Accidents of Federalism: Ratemaking and Policy Innovation in Public Utility Law (with Ann Carlson), 63 UCLA Law Review 810 (2016). Full Text
    • Environmental Law, Big Data, and the Torrent of Singularities, 64 UCLA Law Review Discourse 544 (2016). (Symposium Essay) Full Text
    • Public Utility and the Low Carbon Future, 61 UCLA Law Review 1614 (2014). Full Text
    • Responding to Climate Change and the Global Land Crisis: REDD+, Market Transformation, and Low-Emissions Rural Development (with D. Nepstad, C. Stickler, T. Bezerra, and A. Azevedo), 368 Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 20120167 (2013). Full Text
    • More Food, More Forests, Fewer Emissions, Better Livelihoods: Linking REDD+, Sustainable Supply Chains, and Domestic Policies in Brazil, Indonesia, and Colombia (with D. Nepstad, et al.), 4 Carbon Management 639 (2013). Full Text
    • Genealogies of Risk: Searching for Safety, 1930s-1970s, 39 Ecology Law Quarterly 895 (2012). Full Text
    • Law, Environment, and the Non-Dismal Social Sciences (with Douglas A. Kysar & Jeffrey J. Rachlinski), 8 Annual Review of Law & Social Science 183 (2012). Full Text
    • The Curious Case of Greening in Carbon Markets (with James Salzman), 41 Environmental Law 73 (2011). Full Text
    • Deforestation and Emerging Greenhouse Gas Compliance Regimes: Toward a Global Environmental Law of Forests, Carbon, and Climate Governance, in Deforestation and Climate Change: Reducing Carbon Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation, (edited by V. Bosetti and R. Lubowski, Edward Elgar, 2010). Full Text
    • Climate Change, Fragmentation, and the Challenges of Global Environmental Law: Elements of a Post-Copenhagen Assemblage, 32 University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Law 457 (2010). Full Text
    • Ways of Seeing in Environmental Law: How Deforestation Became an Object of Climate Governance, 37 Ecology Law Quarterly 843 (2010). Reprinted in 43 Land Use & Environmental Law Review (2012). Full Text
    • Manufacturing Green Gold: Industrial Tree Improvement and the Power of Heredity in the Post-War United States (with Scott Prudham), in Industrializing Organisms: Introducing Evolutionary History, (edited by Philip Scranton and Susan Schrepfer, Routledge, 2004).
    • Wonderful Potencies: Deep Structure and the Problem of Monopoly in Agricultural Biotechnology, in Engineering Trouble: Genetic Engineering and its Discontents, (edited by Dennis Kelso and Rachel Schurman, Univ. of California Press, 2003). Full Text
    • Controlling Toxic Harms: The Struggle over Dioxin Contamination in the Pulp and Paper Industry, 21 Stanford Environmental Law Journal 345 (2002). Full Text
    • Making Meat, 42 Technology & Culture 631 (2001). Reprinted in Environmental History and the American South (edited by P. Sutter and C. Manganiello, University of Georgia Press, 2009).
    • The Forest is the Future? Industrial Forestry and the Southern Pulp and Paper Complex, in The Second Wave: Southern Industrialization, 1940-1970s, (edited by Philip Scranton, Univ. of Georgia Press, 2001).
    • Industrial Dynamics and the Problem of Nature (with Scott Prudham and Rachel Schurman), 14 Society & Natural Resources 555 (2001).
    • Agro-Industrial Just-In-Time (with Michael Watts), in Globalising Food: Agrarian Questions and Global Restructuring, (edited by David Goodman and Michael Watts, Routledge, 1997).
    • International Institutional Arrangements for Environment and Development: A Post-Rio Assessment (with Lee Kimball), 1 Review of European Community and International Environmental Law 295 (1992).
  • Other Publications
    • Jurisdictional Approaches to REDD+ and Low Emissions Development: Progress and Prospects (with C. Stickler, A. Duchelle, F. Seymour, N.H.A. Bahar, D. Rodriguez-Ward, and D. Nepstad), World Resources Institute Policy Brief (2018).
    • Commentary on the Themed Collection, “The Formal and Real Subsumption of Nature” (with Scott Prudham), 30 Society & Natural Resources (2017).
    • Highly Reliable Organizations in the Onshore Natural Gas Sector: An Assessment of Current Practices, Regulatory Frameworks, and Select Case Studies (with E. Paranhos and T. Kozak), Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, NREL/SR-6A50-67941 1-81 (NREL 2017). Full Text
    • A Review of Water and Greenhouse Gas Impacts of Unconventional Natural Gas Development in The United States (with D. Arent et al.), 2 MRS Energy & Sustainability: A Review Journal 1-21 (2015). Full Text
    • Controlling Methane Emissions in the Natural Gas Sector: A Review of Federal & State Regulatory Frameworks Governing Production, Gathering, Processing, Transmission, and Distribution (with E. Paranhos, T. Kozak, J. Bradbury, D. Steinberg, and D. Arent), Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, NREL/TP-6A50-63416 1-79 (NREL 2015). Full Text
    • A Review of Sector and Regional Trends in U.S. Electricity Markets: Focus on Natural Gas (with J. Logan and K. Medlock), Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, NREL/TP-6A50-64652 1-56 (NREL 2015). Full Text
    • Natural Gas and the Transformation of the U.S. Energy Sector: Electricity (with J. Logan, G. Heath, E. Paranhos, H. Carlson, K., and J. Macknick), Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis, NREL/TP-6A50-55538 1-240 (NREL 2012). Full Text
    • Overview of Subnational Programs to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) as Part of the Governors' Climate and Forests Task Force, EPRI (2012).
    • Reframing REDD+ (with D. Nepstad, P. Moutinho, A. Azevedo, T. Bezerra, B. Smid, M. Stabile, C. Stickler, O. Stella), Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia (IPAM) (2012).
    • International Forest Carbon and the Climate Change Challenge: Issues and Options (with L. Olander, K. Lawlor, E. Madeira, and J. Niles), Nicholas Institute Report, Duke University (2009).
    • Considering Technology within the UN Climate Change Negotiations (with M. Bazilian, H. de Coninck, M. Radka, S. Nakhooda, I. McGill, A. Amin, F. von Malmborg, J. Uosukainene, and R. Bradley), Energy Research Center of the Netherlands, ECN-E-08-077 (2008). Full Text