Columbia University

Climate Change on the Rise
"My generation had Vietnam; in this generation, it’s climate change. Students know it’s their future at stake."
— Michael Gerrard
A professor helps train the next generation of leaders in climate change law while drawing international attention to island nations disappearing underwater.

If a country sinks beneath the ocean, is it still a country?

At the request of leaders from the Marshall Islands, internationally recognized environmental lawyer Michael Gerrard convened a global conference in May 2011 to explore legal issues that will arise as island nations disappear under water. As the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School and director of the Center for Climate Change Law, Gerrard is knee-deep in scores of environmental issues affecting water, land, and skies around the world.

Gerrard’s chair, the first endowed professorship at any law school devoted exclusively to the study of climate change, was established in 2009 with support from the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation. “Climate change law emerged as a field only a few years ago,” says Gerrard, who holds a joint appointment to the faculty of the Earth Institute. “Now, it’s by far the fastest growing area of environmental law.”

Meet The Donor: Andrew Sabin

Andrew Sabin, who runs a company that refines precious metals, has a longstanding devotion to environmental and conservation causes. In 2007, he established the Andrew Sabin Family Foundation, which made this gift and is also a lead funder of the Center for Climate Change Law.


Active in Conservation International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, and other conservation groups, Sabin has been a frequent participant in meetings of Columbia Law School’s Environmental Law Advisory Committee since its inception in 2000. He previously served as the treasurer of the Evan Frankel Foundation, which made a groundbreaking gift to establish the Evan M. Frankel Clinical Professorship in Environmental Law more than a decade ago.



Published: June 2011