New Book Helps Local Leaders & Stakeholders Confront Climate Change

April 2021

(Washington, DC):  Local leaders understand the urgency of the climate crisis and are highly motivated to learn how to prevent and mitigate its consequences. John R. Nolon’s Choosing to Succeed: Land Use Law & Climate Control 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.

Choosing to SucceedNolon, a leading expert in land use law, wrote the book due to his growing concern that land use “climate bubbles” are popping up throughout the United States 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. His concern sidelines the ideological battles over the political response and instead requires readers to focus on the practical question: what can we do to respond?

“Professor Nolon has pioneered many advances in local environmental law and practically invented the field,” commented Robert Verchick, Gauthier-St. Martin Eminent Scholar and Chair in Environmental Law, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law. “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.”

Professor Nolon's book provides “a blueprint for how every person can work within their com­munity to mitigate and adapt to climate change,” observed Katrina Fischer Kuh, Distinguished Professor of Environmental Law, Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law. “The book is comprehensive yet nuanced, simultaneously accessible to those outside of the climate policy space and enlightening to those within it.”

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

The book will be available for sale beginning April 21. Learn more at:

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.