Time is running out for climate interventions, UO law prof says

UO law professor Mary Wood

Although warnings about the potential dangers of climate change have been coming in for almost 30 years, many say the government has taken few steps to combat  it. So why has it been so reluctant to enact change, even for something this important?

The answer, according to Mary Wood, a law professor at the UO, is that fossil fuel companies spent millions funding political campaigns, creating a conflict of interest whenever emission-reducing legislation is on the table. She spoke in a recent interview with Business Insider.

“A government decision maker that has taken money from the fossil fuel industry cannot simply turn around and take action on the climate the next day,” she said. “They’ve been compromised, they’ve breached the duty of loyalty.”

And time looks like it’s running out. If emissions aren’t dramatically cut soon, it may be too late.

“It’s a historic moment,” Wood said, “because we’re at the last possible moment of opportunity to avert irrevocable catastrophe.”

For more, see “Baby Boomers could irreversibly ruin the planet for Millennials — and the clock is ticking” on Business Insider.

Wood serves as the Director of the UO’s Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center. She teaches property law, natural resources law, public trust law and federal Indian law. Prior to joining the UO faculty in 1992, she practiced law in the environmental/natural resources department of Perkins Coie, a Pacific Northwest law firm.