Choosing to Succeed: Land Use Law & Climate Control

Choosing to Succeed Book Cover
John R. Nolon
Release Date

Land use climate bubbles are popping up throughout the nation at an alarming rate, creating an economic crisis that will be more damaging than that of the housing bubble of 2008. The costs to ecosystems and low- and moderate-income households are equally severe. These bubbles, where land and building values are declining, provide extensive, objective evidence that climate change is real and must be dealt with on the ground. And it sidelines the ideological battles over the political response and instead requires us to focus on the practical question: what can we do to respond? Climate action seeks to avoid the harm we can’t manage and to manage the harm we can’t avoid. Local leaders understand the urgency of the crisis and are highly motivated to learn how to prevent and mitigate its consequences. This book describes how the local land use legal system can leverage state and local assistance to reduce per capita carbon emissions as an important and now recognized component of global efforts to manage climate change. The tools and techniques presented in the book are available to the nation’s 40,000 local governments, if led by courageous leaders choosing to succeed in this epic battle.

About the Author

John R. Nolon is Distinguished Professor of Law Emeritus at the Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace Uni­versity where he supervises student research and publications on land use and sustainable development law. He is Counsel to the Law School's Land Use Law Center, which he founded in 1993, and served as Adjunct Professor of land use law and policy at the Yale School of the Environment from 2001-2016.

Book Reviews

Professor Nolon has pioneered many advances in local environmental law and practically invented the field. Since the 1990s, he has identified the ways local governments influence environmental protection, how they have obtained the power to do it, and followed that with theories of how local players can coordinate with one another and collaborate with large scales of power. Integrating those ideas into a book focused on the climate crisis is a crowning achievement.

—Robert Verchick, Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar and Chair in Environmental Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law

I often have conversations with friends who are deeply concerned about climate change and who are concerned that their individual efforts (bicycling to work, flying less) aren't enough, yet uncertain about how to more productively contribute. Professor Nolon's book has an answer, providing a blueprint for how every person can work within their com­munity to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The book is comprehensive yet nuanced, simultaneously accessible to those outside of the climate policy space and enlightening to those within it. Professor Nolon's book gives productive, concrete advice every American willing to choose to succeed in meeting the climate change challenge.

—Katrina Fischer Kuh, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law

Leave it to John Nolon, the prime mover of environmental land use law, to serve as our optimistic guide to the complex challenges that climate change, pandemics, and natu­ral disasters pose to local officials and others on the front lines of government response. This comprehensive volume provides real-world examples of effective, responsive, 21st century zoning and planning regulations that serve as valuable guideposts for communi­ties engaged in the struggle to craft and implement mitigation and resilience strategies.

—Michael Allan Wolf, Richard E. Nelson Eminent Scholar Chair in Local Government, University of Florida Levin College of Law

Despite numerous attempts to increase state and federal involvement, land use regula­tion remains primarily a function of local governments. John Nolon's masterful book embraces local land use authority and highlights numerous opportunities for local governments to use their authority to plan for and mitigate the consequences of cli­mate change. In that sense, this book truly does provide local officials with knowledge needed to Choose to Succeed.

—Ashira Pelman Ostrow, Peter Kalikow Distinguished Professor in Real Estate and Land Use Law and Executive Director of the Breslin Center for Real Estate Studies, Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University

This is the hopeful, comprehensive, solution-oriented book that the climate crisis has long demanded. Professor Nolon—the leading U.S. voice on land use law and sustain­ability—expertly pinpoints local governments as the locus for both climate impacts and solutions, exploring local and collaborative pathways for mitigating and adapting to a rapidly changing climate.

—Hannah Wiseman, Professor of Law, Professor and Wilson Faculty Fellow in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Institutes of Energy and the Environment Co-funded Faculty Member, Penn State Law School