Friday, October 21, 2011

Three Degrees Project at UW School of Law

A think tank housed at The University of Washington School of Law is dedicated to promoting climate justice worldwide. Employing human rights discourse as a framework for addressing the problems of environmental degradation, Three Degrees Project “harnesses the power of the academy and the law to promote fair and equitable adaptation strategies in regions most vulnerable to climate impacts.”

Three Degrees was founded by Co-Executive Directors and former UW law students Jeni Barcelos and Jennifer Marlow. This leading climate justice center stemmed from a 2009 Conference at the UW School of Law that included a lecture by Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland and the former United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights. The mission of Three Degrees is to “design future institutions capable of addressing the human impacts of climate change and to assist climate-impacted communities in seeking compensation for climate harms.”

In borrowing from environmental and human rights law, Three Degrees has not only gone on speaking tours around the world, but has also implemented the following projects:
  • Cambodia Project: Working with photojournalists Michael Harris and Kevin Ely, and the staff of Wildlife Alliance, Three Degrees produced a short video about the Southern Cardamom forest and the long-term threats posed by a titanium mine. 
  • Climate Justice Seminar: Open to twenty-five students from across the UW, the course examines predicted climate futures in locations around the world where climate change is likely to harm marginalized populations, and to understand the limitations and strengths of international and domestic legal and policy systems to alleviate these impacts.
  • Simulation Summits: Bringing local people together with scientists, legal experts, artists, and public health practitioners, Simulation Summits empower impacted communities to analyze climate threats specific to them. Simulation Summits identify responses to legal and policy barriers, which may include litigation, developing new fiscal mechanisms for supporting adaptation, creating international and domestic institutions for hearing climate claims, and increasing access to local legal and technical resources. 
In the near future, Three Degrees will be speaking at the Global Washington Conference: Opportunities and Obstacles in Turbulent Times located at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond, WA on October 31 and at the World Affairs Council Forum in Juneau, Alaska in mid-November.

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