Climate and Energy Law Symposium

Law students at the 2014 Climate and Energy Law SymposiumEach year the University of San Diego School of Law hosts the Climate and Energy Law Symposium. Legal and policy experts from across the country attend the event, including practicing attorneys, policy makers, and academic experts.

The symposium is co-hosted by the Energy Policy Initiatives Center and the San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law.

Energy and Climate Policy in the Trump Era

November 3, 2017

On Friday, November 3, 2017, the University of San Diego School of Law will host its Ninth Annual Climate & Energy Law Symposium.  With this Call for Proposals, you are invited to submit a title and abstract of an article that you can present at the Symposium and publish in the Ninth Volume of the San Diego Journal of Climate & Energy Law.  If we select your proposal, the University will pay for all travel expenses to and from the Symposium. Also, you must submit your completed article to the Journal’s editors by the date of the Symposium (November 3, 2016) for consideration in the Ninth Volume. 

The theme of our 2017 Climate & Energy Law Symposium is “Energy and Climate Policy in the Trump Era.” The transition from the Obama presidency to the Trump presidency marked a significant change in approaches to climate and energy policy. The current Administration has stated its intent to reverse much of current climate and energy policy and regulation. At the University of San Diego’s Ninth Annual Climate & Energy Law Symposium, academic and policy experts will analyze and assess several aspects of this complex issue.

  • Executive Actions - Recent executive actions regarding vehicle emissions standards and the Clean Power Plan affect two of the main strategies for the U.S. to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to meet its commitments under the Paris Agreement. The change is more significant when combined with executive actions on energy production, environmental review, and regulatory reform. It is likely that additional executive actions will follow budget reductions for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and potentially the U.S. Department of Energy (e.g., funding for research and the national energy laboratories). A likely Republican majority through the appointment of three commissioners on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will likely change the direction of interstate pipeline and electricity regulation.
  • Effects of a One-Party Majority Congress - With a majority in both houses of Congress, Republicans could reverse previous legislative efforts and codify the new Administrations executive actions. The current Congress exhibits a willingness to rescind Obama era regulation using the Congressional Review Act and has proposed many other significant changes that effect energy through environmental regulation and funding. Uncertainty remains constant under the fractured factions of the Republican Party and its evolving relationship with the Trump Administration. Whether the Senate will confirm Trump appointees across the government and the Congress will enact the Trump Administration’s major policy goals will determine the effect of this administration on U.S. policy
  • Role of the Courts - The vacancy on the U.S Supreme Court and over 100 vacancies at the district and circuit level will allow the Trump Administration to play a significant role in shaping the composition of the federal courts for decades to come. This will affect litigation in a way that is significant for climate and energy law and policy in the U.S. How this takes shape and what types of judges are ultimately appointed and confirmed by the Senate in the Trump administration will be paramount to understanding the effect. Additionally, litigation remains one of the major responses to current and proposed Congressional and Executive action. There are strong indications that a broad range of groups and government at many levels plan to litigate proposed Congressional and Executive action.
  • Role of States and Cities - States like California, New York, and Washington have vowed to continue their current energy and climate policy strategies regardless of federal policy direction. How far the Trump Administration steps back from regulation combined with its allegiance to state’s rights will shape the actions of these states. Potentially, if the federal government takes a limited role then the states and local governments may act of their own accord to fill the gaps. However, other parties may litigate to constrain some state action under preemption or dormant Commerce Clause theories. States and local governments have also announced a willingness to litigate against the new Administration and Congress.


Energy Policy Initiatives Center
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110
Phone: (619) 260-4589
Fax: (619) 260-4753