New York University School of Law was a principal host of a unique global conference held May 3 through May 5 in the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi. "Climate Change: Financing Green Development” was organized by the Frank J. Guarini Center on Environmental and Land Use Law, directed by Richard Stewart, John Edward Sexton Professor of Law, and the Institute for International Law and Justice, directed by Benedict Kingsbury, Murry and Ida Becker Professor of Law. Supporting were NYU Abu Dhabi, the government of Abu Dhabi, and the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research. Law School participants included Kingsbury, Stewart, Kevin Davis, the Beller Family Professor of Business Law, Rob Lloyd Howse, Lloyd C. Nelson Professor of International Law, and Professor Mitchell Kane.
In addition to government policy makers from wealthy industrial countries, academics, bankers and international NGOs, the event drew newcomers to the environmental symposia circuit—stakeholders from developing countries who offered points of view on how they might participate in the solution to a climate problem they had little or no part in creating. “We had a more disparate audience, a more inclusive one than we've seen at climate change conferences over the past 15 years or so,” said Kane. “By hearing drastically differing views, we developed new perspectives. There is a gap that must be closed.”
According to the conference program, the “huge economic challenge [and] potential economic opportunity,” of climate change requires broad agreement from rich and poor countries alike. Countries with dissimilar economic and taxation systems must reach consensus on financing new technologies with dual purpose: creating capital and advancing modern industry in poor countries, while simultaneously reducing climate-threatening carbon emissions worldwide.
Reports of conference debates will be published in electronic format this summer, well in advance of the next major climate change conference in December in Copenhagen, Denmark, sponsored by the United Nations.