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Elizabeth Trujillo Contributes Chapter to Book on “Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States”

By: Uniqua Williams - May 2, 2019
Elizabeth Trujillo

Elizabeth Trujillo, a professor of law at Texas A&M University and a Texas A&M Energy Institute faculty affiliate, is a co-author of a new book titled, “Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States,” published by the Environmental Law Institute (ELI).

The Framework

This new book is a legal “playbook” based on two reports by the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) that seeks to present and discuss the legal issues raised by DDPP in greater detail. According to its vision, DDPP was established as “a global collaboration of energy research teams charting practical pathways to deeply reducing greenhouse gas emissions in their own countries. It is predicated on taking seriously what is needed to limit global warming to 2°C or less.”

Trujillo’s chapter, written for policy makers, highlights the legal challenges associated with the more than 1,000 pathways for reducing greenhouse gas emissions for all sectors of government – local, federal, state, and private governance.

“The main audience for the book is policy makers around the U.S.,” said Trujillo, indicating that the book can provide a basis “so they can actually start thinking about laws, regulations, policies, and strategies to decarbonization.”

Aiming to be a practical guide, the text details how to implement the DDPP’s decarbonization strategies in the U.S. and identifies how trade can contribute to sustainable development. Expected to have a 10 year life span, the content covered in the book will prove beneficial both now and in the future, and will be a resource for different researchers and scholars to find synergy.

Further, an emphasis is placed on the importance of utilizing or creating laws to achieve deep decarbonization, while simultaneously benefitting society environmentally, socially, and economically.

“Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States” has received many outstanding reviews by many leaders in the field of decarbonization and sustainable development. In early May, there will be a podcast discussing more about the book.

Opportunities for the Future

“The whole society can contribute to decarbonization in different ways,” said Trujillo, “But there is not a lot of awareness. This book can help with that.”

Creating laws that make deep decarbonization achievable can improve the economy by establishing more markets and jobs. It may also allow for an increase in innovations and technological advancements.

Not only does the book’s message possess potential for future economic benefits, it also promises various environmental advantages. Deep decarbonization can influence production change by creating a more sustainable system that utilizes renewable materials to decrease waste.

The topics addressed in this book has potential to further advance agriculture, forestry, and balance supply and demand for essential natural resources.

To learn more about “Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States” or purchase a physical copy, visit

About the Co-Author

Elizabeth Trujillo, who is currently writing a book with the Cambridge University press that covers the relationships between international trade and sustainable development, contributed a chapter on trade considerations for decarbonization strategies in the “Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States.”

Contributing to this book provided Trujillo the opportunity to weigh in from a trade perspective.

“This was a great opportunity because I have been writing a lot about sustainable development and trade,” said Trujillo.

Trujillo has researched the relationship between trade and the environment quite extensively. She has studied its relationship with sustainable development and the ways in which clean energy intersects with them.”What’s exciting about the project is that it’s getting a lot of traction and it has confirmed my belief that people have been starting to move in this direction and trade and environmental communities need to talk to each other about these things,” said Trujillo.