Environmental Law Program

Read ELP Alumnus Doug Codiga’s Journal About His Travels Around Asia

ELP Alumnus Doug Codiga ’94 traveled to Japan to teach a course entitled “Climate Change and Clean Energy Law and Policy in Hawaii and the Asia Pacific Region” at Shinshu University. In his travels he also he also gave presentations in Singapore and Shanghai and reports on the growing interest climate change and clean energy law.

Read his journal below:

It turns out climate change and clean energy are popular topics here as well as in Hawaii and elsewhere. A total of seventeen students enrolled in the course. A few dropped out after the first day, but there has certainly been critical mass for discussions and group exercises. In addition to the Japanese students, there are three Chinese nationals, two Vietnamese, and one Malaysian. Of course, for the most part English language ability is poor to average. I carefully reviewed your sage e-mail guidance before I left and simplified the syllabus and readings. Despite this, the materials remain very challenging for most if not all of the students – a real stretch. And yet, my sense is that rather than becoming frustrated they have applied themselves and risen to the challenge. To make it easier and more valuable for them, each day I have spent ample time building their vocabulary (I suspect they are among very few Japan undergraduates with a solid understanding of feed-in tariffs), correcting grammar, etc. – essentially teaching English as well as basic U.S. environmental law, international law, and climate and clean energy. I also used breakout sessions in which they were allowed to speak Japanese to synthesize concepts and reinforce the course substance.

For our final class today (review and exam tomorrow), we had a mock United Nations treaty negotiation with three teams representing Hawaii/U.S., Japan and China hammering out greenhouse gas emissions limits, technology transfers for windmills, and penalty provisions. They were seriously into it, first identifying their priority laws and policies, then making demands, and finally reaching agreement on key terms. A great way to round out the week. I was very proud of them.

They had a major boost from Saturday’s public symposium. I am not sure how many of you I mentioned this to, but it turns out the university holds an international symposium I believe about once a year. Based on my recent presentations at the Inter-Pacific Bar Association conference in Singapore, and the guest lectures at Shanghai Jiao Tong University law school (arranged by Larry) and at Renmin law school in Shanghai, the Shinshu folks decided to organize a symposium with me as the featured speaker on climate change and clean energy law (the attached poster, which does say my name and UH law school, was up all over campus and there was an article in the local paper that drew members of the public). The other three speakers were a fairly high ranking official from the Japanese government’s Ministry of the Environment who is heavily involved in energy policy, a finance expert from the Development Bank of Japan, and a local commercial renewable energy entrepreneur. We had a lively exchange – aided by simultaneous translation. Shinshu was able to obtain funding from the American Center of the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya, so there were two translators in a glass booth in the back of the large auditorium and everyone in the audience had a radio device and earpiece. I was the only person in the room (about 90 in attendance, I’m told) tuned to Channel 2, Japanese to English. Two officials from the U.S. Consulate took the train up from Nagoya for the symposium so I got to share a little with them about our great law school. And we had a wonderful reception with the university president and many law and economics faculty in the faculty lounge after the four-hour long event concluded – the sake was flowing. Shingo said it was perhaps the most successful of their international symposia ever.

Matsumoto is a fine little city, even with some mushiatsui weather. My hotel, charmingly named “Hotel Dormy Inn,” has a river rock hot spring – on the roof! The water is true hot spring water from deep beneath the property, but because the hotel is centrally located in the city they put the hot spring literally on the roof. That is where I can be found after a day of teaching, soaking away and watching the sunset. Also went for a great day hike deep in the forested mountains outside of the city. And of course, the Matsumoto Bon Bon, which totally blew me away (Shingo took pictures to send to John as proof that were there), and Takigi Noh. I plan to climb Fuji right after the course ends and spend the weekend in Kyoto before my return Aug. 16.