2020 Conference

Public Interest Environmental Law (PIEL) UK invites you to our 14th Annual Conference to explore the theme “Environmental law in a decade of action: people, corporations and governments”.

2020 marks the start of a decade of environmental action, with international and domestic law and policy honing in on 2030 as the deadline for sweeping legal, social, and economic change to avert environmental catastrophe and improve environmental justice:

  • the IPCC gives us just 10 more years to achieve a rapid and far reaching reduction in emissions to keep global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels;
  • the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development targets 2030 for the implementation of the 17 SDGs and 169 related targets; and
  • Green New Deal movements in the US and Europe call for radical changes to our current economic, social and political models to make a just transition to zero net carbon by 2030.

Mounting evidence suggests that if we fail to achieve the kind of transformative reform demanded by these agendas within the next 10 years, we risk increasingly severe weather events, major sea level rise, loss of biodiversity and changes in terrestrial climate, with huge environmental, human and justice implications.

PIEL 2020 will explore law’s place in this decade of action, the role of different actors in creating the necessary change, and the outlook for environmental justice in the decade of change.

The conference will be held on Friday 17th April 2020 at Cass Business School. Full speaker details will be announced soon!

Panels, Speakers and Timings:

Arrival and registration (9.00am-9.30am)

Committee Opening Remarks (9.30am-9.45am)

Keynote address (9.45am-10.45am)

Participation in a time of crisis” (Professor Maria Lee, UCL)

This keynote address will explore the need to critique and assert the values and understandings that underpin public involvement in environmental decisions in the decade of action, as the climate emergency continues to put pressure on our traditional assumptions about “good” decision making.

Coffee break (refreshments provided)

Governments Panel (11.15am-1.00pm)

Making environmental law and policy for 2030


Focusing on developments in UK environmental law, this panel will consider whether our governments are doing enough to protect the environment, and the legal and policy interventions we should demand to achieve transformations in environmental protection by 2030.

Lunch Break (lunch provided)

Lunch and learn session available: “Adopting a Zero Waste Mindset”, provided by Alexander Furey of ZeroWasteMindset

Corporations Panel and People Panel (2.00pm-3.30pm) running simultaneously

Making corporations accountable for 2030

This panel will consider the outlook for, and pressures on, corporations in the decade of action including the legal strategies that can and must be employed to hold them to account.

Protecting health and justice for 2030

Using air pollution as a case study, this panel will reflect on important links between environmental and social justice, public health, state (in)action and legal and campaigning interventions, with a focus on the outlook for people in the decade of action.

Closing Panel (4.00pm-5.30pm)

What does public interest environmental law mean to you?

We will conclude the conference by asking our panellists what “public interest” environmental law means to them, and how they integrate public interest work into their practices. The final panel will bring topics from throughout the day back to the public interest and challenge the audience to participate in public interest work.

Networking and drinks reception (5.30pm-6.30pm)