NAACP Launches Climate Initiative at Maryland Carey Law

March 21, 2019

NAACP Climate Symposium

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law’s Small Business & Community Equity Development Clinic partnered with the Environmental Law Clinic to host the NAACP Environmental & Climate Justice Program (ECJP),  a day-long event to launch its Transformational Climate Adaptation Finance Initiative on March 4.

Maryland Carey Law’s two clinics are working with the NAACP ECJP to develop a climate adaptation finance toolkit for communities that will provide an array of public and private funding resources and highlight the importance of entity structure and legal tools to support community control of climate adaptation strategies.

The launch event brought over 60 local, regional, and national NAACP leaders; policy experts; and advocates from across the country who are dedicated to addressing the disparate impacts of climate change on communities of color and low income communities.

The day began in the Ceremonial Moot Courtroom with a powerful framing of the racial and income disparities in Baltimore by spoken word artist Lady Brion. Maryland Carey Law Professor Dorcas R. Gilmore moderated the opening panel on the meaning and importance of financing adaptations to climate change and the ways financing can promote greater social and economic equity.

Following the opening panel, Professor Seema Kakade provided an overview of the climate adaptation finance toolkit and introduced student attorneys Scott Pichon and Cymone Gosnell.  Pichon and Gosnell presented the current draft version of the toolkit to a panel of NAACP leaders from Anchorage, AK; Biloxi, MS; Chicago, IL; and Portland, OR. The day continued with policy and finance experts discussing models and practical finance tools communities are using in their climate adaptation advocacy efforts.

“With such a crucial issue providing the backdrop, one positive effect that truly stood out through the event was the unifying power it can have among people from altogether different circumstances, said Maryland Carey Law student attorney Thornton McKinney. “Though the attendees were from different parts of the country, and experienced the effects of climate change in substantially different ways, the issue is of such breadth that it brought the entire group together. Academics and professionals from every sector have something to contribute.”

The NAACP, Small Business & Community Equity Development Clinic, and Environmental Law Clinic will release the climate adaptation finance toolkit at the National Adaptation Forum in Madison, WI on April 24.