HLS Professor Jody Freeman reflects on the state of US climate change regulation and the impacts of COVID-19
By Jeff Neal
In the weeks leading up to Earth Day 2020, clear blue skies broke out over famously smog-ridden cities like Beijing, Los Angeles, and Delhi. Harvard Law School Professor Jody Freeman LL.M. '91 S.J.D. '95 believes these short-term gains in air quality, likely driven in part by economic slowdowns necessitated by the global pandemic, are no panacea for the environment. Instead, says the Archibald Cox Professor of Law and founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental & Energy Law Program, the nation's lack of preparedness for the coronavirus only highlights the need for a long-term climate change strategy.
In an email conversation with Harvard Law Today, Freeman, who served in the White House as counselor for energy and climate change in the Obama administration, discusses the progress the nation has made in protecting the environment since Earth Day was founded in 1970, the Trump administration's efforts to undo Obama-era federal climate regulations, and COVID-19's urgent lessons for the planet's health.