Guest post by Casey J. Snyder

Climate change is a reality. What happens climatically over the upcoming centuries is undoubtedly dependent on the comprehensiveness of a global response. However, within a century, forecasts predict a 1-meter sea level rise that could have grave implications to our society: the loss of an incalculable extent of cultural heritage. This article examines the threat climate change poses to physical cultural heritage, like archaeological sites and historic structures, and the current framework of law, regulation, and policy in the United States meant to protect these resources. For the most part, the legal community has been somewhat silent on this issue. This article blends research and data from climate scientists and archaeologists already analyzing the problem and posing solutions, with a legal analysis of the role United States law could play in an answer. Recognizing how the effects of climate change could vary and how there is no single solution, this article’s overall goal is to stimulate the legal field’s participation in managing our cultural heritage, as we are just one of the many stakeholders in a successful solution.

The full article will be published in Pace Environmental Law Review in Spring 2019. The author is a 2018 graduate from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and was the Senior Topics Editor for the Pitt Law Review. He is currently working as an associate in an Environmental Law practice in Pittsburgh, PA.


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