Climate Change Research Network

Climate change is widely regarded as one of the most difficult problems facing modern society. Developing legal, economic, and social responses requires interdisciplinary research that is theoretically sophisticated and policy-relevant.

The Vanderbilt Climate Change Research NetworkThe Climate Change Research Network at Vanderbilt includes a team of faculty and graduate students who are conducting theoretical and applied research on one of the most important and most widely overlooked sources of greenhouse gases: individual and household behavior. The research also explores how insights from law and the social and behavioral sciences can reduce corporate carbon emissions. The Climate Change Research Network is affiliated with the Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment.

Research Initiatives | Publications

Affiliated Faculty, Research Associates, and Graduate & Professional Students

  • Brooke Ackerly, Department of Political Science, Vanderbilt University
  • Joe Bandy, Center for Teaching, Sociology, Peabody College, Vanderbilt University
  • Jack Barkenbus, Associate Director CCRN, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment
  • Lisa Bressman, Environmental Law Program, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Nick Brill, law student, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Amanda Carrico (MA'05, PhD'09), Environmental Studies, University of Colorado - Boulder (former VIEE/CCRN Postodoctoral Research Fellow)
  • James Clarke, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University
  • Mark A. Cohen, Owen Graduate School of Management, Vanderbilt University
  • Kelsey Craig, law student, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Douglas Fisher, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Vanderbilt University
  • James Fraser, Department of Human and Organizational Development, Vanderbilt University
  • Jonathan Gilligan, Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Vanderbilt University
  • Travis Gray, law student, Vanderbilt Law School
  • George Hornberger, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Vanderbilt University
  • Leslie D. Kirby, Director of Undergraduate Studies & Senior Lecturer in Psychology, Vanderbilt University
  • Kaitlin Toner Raimi, CCRN/VIEE Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Vanderbilt University
  • Jim Rossi, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School
  • J.B. Ruhl, David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law, Professor of Law, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Lanka Thabrew, systems engineer, Western Power, Perth Australia (former VIEE Postodoctoral Research Fellow)
  • Heather Truelove, Psychology, University of North Florida (former VIEE/CCRN Postodoctoral Research Fellow)
  • Michael Vandenbergh, Environmental Law Program, Vanderbilt Law School
  • W. Kip Viscusi, Law & Economics Program, Vanderbilt Law School
  • Kenneth Wallston, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing

Program Directors / Contact Information


Ruhl JB“I'm very impressed with way schools at Vanderbilt work together to address complex environmental problems. The Climate Change Research Network is a good example; it's an interdisciplinary collaboration that involves Vanderbilt Law School, Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and the Environment, Owen Graduate School of Management, the School of Engineering, science departments, and the Human and Organizational Development program. I wanted to be a part of that.”

- J.B. Ruhl, the David Daniels Allen Distinguished Chair in Law


video platform video management video solutions video player Who is responsible for climate change?

The question of responsibility for climate change lies at the heart of debate over actions to address it. This symposium, featuring Professor Michael Vandenbergh, explores the conceptual territory of climate responsibility, and scientific, legal, ethical, and policy bases for assigning responsibility to countries and to other entities—from individuals to emitting industries to the fossil fuel companies at the base of the carbon supply chain whose responsibilities are now being actively debated in shareholder resolutions and calls for institutional divestment.

Other speakers include: Peter C. Frumhoff, Union of Concerned Scientists; Michael B. Gerrard, Columbia Law School; Karenna Gore, Union Theological Seminary; Sivan Kartha, Stockholm Environment Institute; and Naomi Oreskes, Harvard University.



A tool for better member volunteer matching - December 16, 2015 - Getting the right members into the right volunteer roles is a constant challenge for associations, and poor fit is a major drag on efficiency. A “volunteer interest typology” developed by a pair of social science researchers may offer some help. Alexander Maki, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt's Institute for Energy and the Environment is coauthor of the study and is quoted.


Roll Call: Opinion: Obama’s Clean Power Plan: Let’s listen to experts, learn from experience - June 1, 2015 - It’s always helpful to look at what independent scholars have to say before analyzing the president’s Clean Power Plan, writes Rep. Steve Cohen, mentioning a recent conference at Vanderbilt Law School hosted by the Energy, Environment and Land Use Program.

On May 18-19, policymakers, scholars and practitioners from several disciplines explored different perspectives on the health, energy demand and economic effects of the EPA's developing Clean Power Plan.


The Washington Post: The next energy revolution won’t be in wind or solar. It will be in our brains - The Department of Defense is the single biggest user of energy in the United States. Through behavioral changes alone, the military would stand at the forefront of an energy revolution that may someday rival wind or solar in importance. A study about U.S. carbon emissions being affected by household behavioral change conducted by Michael Vandenbergh, director of the Vanderbilt Law School’s Climate Change Research Network, Kenneth Wallston, associate professor of nursing, and alumni Amanda Carrico and Paul Padgett is cited.


Vanderbilt is Coal-free

Vanderbilt power plant is now coal-FREE!

Buying Time: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change, a TEDx talk by Michael Vandenbergh