Altheimer Symposium highlights the legal aspects of climate change

Altheimer Symposium

The UA Little Rock Law Review and the Arkansas Bar Association will present the 2018 Altheimer Symposium, “The Law and Unnatural Disasters: Legal Adaptations to Climate Change” on Feb. 16 in the Friday Courtroom at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law.

Registration is open, and participants are eligible for 5.50 hours of general Continuing Legal Education.

Some of the most prominent scholars in environmental law will be presenting on the challenges of legal adaptation to climate change. Topics include:

  • The Science of Climate Change | Dr. Al Armendariz, The Sierra Club
  • Heat Waves: Legal Adaptations to the Most Lethal Climate Disaster (So Far) | Michael Gerrard, Columbia University
  • Government and the Governance of Wildfire in the Wildland-Urban Interface | Stephen, Miller, University of Idaho
  • Consenting to Disaster: Policy-making and Climate Change Denial in the Southern United States | Blake Hudson, University of Houston
  • The Hurricane Katrina Levee Breach Litigation: Lessons for Making Policy in a Time of Climate Change

Registration for Arkansas Bar Association members and Bowen alumni is $100. Bowen alumni who are not members of the Arkansas Bar Association should contact Emily Terry ( for the discount code. For all other attorneys, registration is $125. More information and registration links can be found at

The symposium presents a timely opportunity for scholars and practitioners to contribute to the discourse on climate change adap­tation lawmaking in the United States.

The number of billion-dollar-plus weather-related disasters has risen from an average of two per year in the 1980s to an annual av­erage of 10.6 for the 2012 to 2016 period. In 2017 alone, the cost of weather and climate disasters is now estimated at $308 billion, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information.

Although these figures cap­ture much of the direct economic costs of disasters, they fail to reflect indirect and non-economic costs such as loss of life, displacement, and community disruption. The market has not spawned robust adaptation; development subsidized by federal insurance continues in vulnerable areas. Furthermore, no coherent body of law exists in the United States at either the federal or state level that is aimed at reducing vul­nerability to climate change.

Permanently endowed by the Ben J. Altheimer Foundation, the Ben J. Altheimer Symposium is an annual event at which the UA Little Rock Law Review and the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law invite prominent scholars and speakers to the law school to explore topics of interest to the legal and scholarly community. Selected symposium presenters also contribute scholarly articles to a special publication of the UALR Law Review that is devoted to the symposium topic.

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