Columbia Law School Receives $3.5 Million for Climate Change Center

Columbia Law School Receives $3.5 Million for Climate Change Center

Columbia Law School in New York City has announced a five-year, $3.5 million gift from the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation to create an endowed fund for the Center for Climate Change Law.

The center, which will be renamed for Sabin in recognition of the gift, will use the endowment to expand its efforts to develop and teach innovative legal techniques and tools for fighting developers and others in court over environmental issues. The gift also will enable the center to hire a full-time executive director and provide policy makers and legal researchers with information on climate litigation, legislation, and regulations, and will fund the annual Sabin Colloquium on Innovative Environmental Law Scholarship.

"Congress has not enacted a major new environmental law since 1990, and that is not likely to change any time soon," said Michael B. Gerrard, the center's director. "Thus our mission is especially vital — developing new legal tools within the existing statutory framework to tackle this extraordinarily important problem. This generous gift from the Sabin Foundation will allow us to increase the scope and impact of our work and assures the long-term operation of the center."

Sabin, the president of precious metals refiner Sabin Metal Corp., helped launch the center in 2009 with a $1.5 million donation to endow a professorship for Gerrard, who, according to the Wall Street Journal, once worked as Sabin Metal's corporate environmental lawyer. A self-described Rockefeller Republican, Sabin told the Journal he is trying to educate fellow Republicans about the importance of climate change and environmental protection. "Sure, we have a few wackos that may have skewed some evidence over time for their own interests," he told the Journal. "But at the end of the day, there's no question that science proves there's climate change."

"Endowed Gift Supports Expansion of Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law." Columbia Law School Press Release 08/15/2014. Melanie Grayce West. "Training Lawyers to Save the Planet." Wall Street Journal 08/14/2014.