Recent Work

Supporting Ocean champions in the fight against the Climate Crisis

Translating ambitions into actions. Vermont Law’s client, SeyCCAT, hosted an event at COP26 focused on turning ambition into action. This great illustration captures the conversation. Student delegates continue to support SeyCCAT CEO Angelique Pouponneau as she prepares for several more COP26 side events focused specifically on her experience in implementing innovative financing mechanisms and fostering a sustainable blue economy in the Seychelles.

How can COP26 succeed? In an interview with The Energy Mix, Vermont Law School Professor Sarah Reiter states that “COP26 will be a success if we see a commitment to a recurring Ocean and Climate Dialogue, and an uptick of ocean-inclusive NDCs.”

Watch Safeguarding Our Coastlines and Our Climate. COP26 features the power of nature to safeguard our communities and our climate. With this video, we unlock a hidden treasure trove of information about blue carbon with this message created by scientists, lawyers, and artists led by the Oxford Seascape Ecology Lab in collaboration with Stanford Center for Ocean Solutions, the Oxford Art, Biodiversity and Climate Network and Vermont Law School. This video, which aired on Ocean Action Day at COP26’S Virtual Ocean Pavilion, highlights findings from the latest research published in Global Environmental Change on the opportunity for blue carbon habitats to help us to achieve net-zero carbon emission targets. The team highlights how we can look to the ocean to find solutions that safeguard our coastal communities, biodiversity, and our climate.

Safeguarding Our Coastlines and Our Climate,

All We Can Learn. In the lead-up to COP26, Vermont Law Professor Sarah Reiter talked with the Burlington Free Press about all that we can learn from Small Island, Big Ocean leaders as we fight the climate crisis! Join us Monday November 1, 2021 from 1300-1430 GMT in the Virtual Ocean Pavilion to hear from climate negotiator and ocean champion, Angelique Pouponneau. Student Delegate Heidi Johnson will be moderatoring the session.

Just in time for COP26!

We’ll be tracking climate justice and ocean pledges at the COP26 negotiations. Featured in Frontiers in Climate and together with colleagues from the Seychelles and the Oxford Seascape Ecology Lab we researched blue carbon strategies and identified that there is a need for a framework to implement climate-just ocean commitments under the Paris Agreement. This research will be featured during the COP26 negotiations. Stay tuned!

This Research Brief provides a glimpse into the work of Vermont Law’s Observer Delegation and Professor Reiter’s applied research. Building off of the considerable momentum provided by the 2019 BlueCOP, the 2020 Ocean and Climate Dialogue meetings, and the 2021 Virtual Oceans Action Day, the ocean-climate nexus will be center stage at COP26. Several nations have committed to making their second-round Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) “ocean-inclusive,” prioritizing ocean-related mitigation and adaptation measures aimed at achieving a balance between GHG source emissions and sink removals.

COP25 student delegates, and Professors Reiter and Brandt, meet with the CEO of SeyCCAT, Ms. Angelique Pouponneau

COP25 student delegates, and Professors Reiter and Brandt, meet with the CEO of SeyCCAT, Ms. Angelique Pouponneau

Often overlooked, “blue carbon” ecosystems can sequester carbon at rates greater than terrestrial forests, and are included in many small island NDCs. Supporting the Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT), the home to the world’s first sovereign blue bond, and in collaboration with the Oxford Seascape Ecology Lab, student delegates will explore the latest innovations in blue carbon research, consider the enabling conditions necessary for uptake of this science into national-level policies and decisionmaking, and outline the financial structures needed to implement ocean commitments under Paris.

Sitting at the intersection of science, law, and economics, the course provides an opportunity to support a small island client, contribute to the development of international climate policy, and inform the ongoing process of building out a framework for operationalizing ocean commitments under the Paris Agreement.


2020 Projects

by COP2020 Student Delegates

COP2020 student delegates worked on three primary areas of interest to SeyCCAT: (1) Assessing ambition and conditionality in NDCs in advance of the global stocktake; (2) Identifying ocean commitments under the Paris Agreement, and ocean inclusivity in advance of SBSTA 52; and (3) Reviewing climate finance structures as part of the conditionality laid out in the Paris Agreement.

Read more here.