New York City Bar Issues Report on Raising Awareness of Climate Change

NYC Bar Issues September 14, 2016 Report

Last month, the New York City Bar Association issued its Report on the New York City Bar Association’s Program on Opportunities to Raise Public Awareness about Climate Change and the Need for Action. The report follows a March 31, 2016 conference on the same topic that brought together a variety of professionals from New York’s businesses, religious institutions, nonprofits and other entities to discuss an aligned, coordinated message on the fight against climate change.  Speakers included Professor Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and many legal, communications, advocacy, public sector and other professionals.

The Bar Association’s work around raising awareness of climate change, spearheaded by the Association’s Environmental Law Committee (of which I am a member) arose out of the realization that while law is an important tool in the fight against climate change, it is insufficient without the political will to create meaningful changes. Given that many sectors – from businesses and NGOs to government and religious institutions – are already making great strides with respect to climate, the conference brought them together to discuss how they might collaborate on the common goal.

A variety of recommendations came out of the conference and are outlined in the report. Future Bar Association work will include working with the New York City Mayor's Office of Sustainability to support their climate change efforts and further coordination of the various sectors and government in their climate change efforts and discussions. The attorneys working on the report and its recommendations are also seeking to be a catalyst for a marketing campaign to promote collective enthusiasm around New York City's carbon reduction efforts.

The Bar Association’s efforts around raising awareness of climate change and the need to take coordinated action against it are intended to tap into New York’s energy, excellence and leadership to make a meaningful difference in the public perception of the fight against climate change.

The report, with a summary of the March 2016 conference and resulting recommendations, as well as full transcripts from the day’s speakers, can be found on the New York City Bar Association website.