GW Law School Sees Two Professors Named among Most Downloaded Authors



Ways to Make a Difference in Protecting the Environment


About the ABA’s Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources

American Bar Association pic

American Bar Association

A graduate of George Washington University Law School, Zach Pilchen earned a master of laws degree in energy and environmental law. A member of the American Bar Association, Zach Pilchen belongs to the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER), and writes for their annual publication “Year In Review.”

A section of the American Bar Association, the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, was created to help attorneys who specialize in those areas serve the public interest by providing them with the most current analysis and information. Open to law students, young lawyers, and established American Bar Association attorneys, SEER membership offers several benefits, including continuing legal education courses and access to an online directory.

To help members connect with each other and further the legal needs of different environmental, energy, and resource law topics, SEER also has 34 different committees, from agricultural management to smart growth and green buildings. The agricultural management committee has been in operation for more than 20 years and deals with issues that directly effect several different agricultural areas, including livestock and biotechnology. The smart growth and green buildings committee is dedicated to the point at which environmental issues and urban planning intersect, especially the legal challenges that may arise during land development.

First Half of 2016 Warmest Six-Month Period Ever

Zach Pilchen pic

Zach Pilchen

Attorney Zach Pilchen has practiced in several different areas of environmental law since earning his Juris Doctor from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon. In his effort to stay at the forefront of environmental issues, Zach Pilchen keeps up with current trends in climate change.

NASA researchers say that, according to ground and satellite data, two major benchmarks which are used to measure climate change — surface temperature and arctic ice levels — saw record-breaking spikes in the first half of the 2016 calendar year.

Over that six-month period, the surface temperature of the planet was the warmest ever recorded, jumping 1.3 Celsius above levels first recorded in the late 1800s. Each month also set a record for being the warmest month ever on record.

These temperature trends have continued despite rigorous education and social movements toward environmental stewardship. To date, these efforts have not been sufficient to effectively combat rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which scientists explain are the main drivers of global climate change.

ABA Water Law Conference Set for March 2017

Water Law Conference pic

Water Law Conference

Attorney Zach Pilchen has worked in the environmental sector for the majority of his career, graduating with a Juris Doctor magna cum laude from Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon, and later earning a master of laws (highest honors) from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, DC. In accordance with his experience in environmental law, Zach Pilchen maintains membership in the American Bar Association (ABA) Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) and contributes to their annual “Year In Review” survey of environmental law developments.

Sponsored by the Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, the American Bar Association’s annual Water Law Conference will be held at the Loews Hotel Hollywood on March 28 and 29, 2017. SEER’s mission is to be the go-to meeting space for environmental, energy, and resources lawyers by providing them with the highest level of analysis and up-to-date information on important trends and topics in environmental law.

Some of the sessions that have already been announced include:

-Navigating Current Water Litigation: A Review of Key Water-Related Cases Pending in the Supreme Court and Lower Courts

-Groundwater Conflict in the 21st Century: What’s Mine is Mine, and What’s Yours is Negotiable?

-Water Infrastructure and Climate Change: What Happens When the Past is No Longer Prologue?

-The Future of Indian Water Rights Settlements in an Age of Uncertainty.

California to Reduce Greenhouse Emissions Even Further in Coming Years

Greenhouse Emissions pic

Greenhouse Emissions

Environmental lawyer Zach Pilchen recently attained his master of laws in energy and environmental law with highest honors from George Washington University Law School. As part of his personal and professional interest in environmental matters, Zach Pilchen closely follows new developments in environmental law around the nation.

A longtime leader in environmental protection, the State of California recently extended its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2006, the state passed Assembly Bill 32. This statute declared the state’s intention of dropping emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and established regulatory guidelines to bring about those changes.

Ten years later, in September 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation ratcheting up the state’s landmark greenhouse gas plan. Already on track to meet the 2020 goal, California will now attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below the 1990 level benchmark by 2030.

To meet this ambitious goal, the state intends to continue to encourage zero-emission vehicle use and improve energy efficiency in existing buildings. Additional programs and regulations will help the state work toward the new climate goals, though many of these initiatives have yet to be announced.

The Kigali Amendment Approved – Nations to Reduce Harmful HFC Use

Kigali Amendment

Kigali Amendment


Zach Pilchen is an attorney with experience serving the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Nature Conservancy, and other internationally recognized environmental organizations. Because his law practice centers on matters related to clean air, climate change, and other environmental issues, Zach Pilchen remains apprised of new developments in environmental law around the world.

In October 2016, delegates from more than 150 nations converged in Rwanda to approve the Kigali Amendment to the preexisting Montreal Protocol. This amendment limits the use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) internationally, a significant victory for environmentalists across the globe.

HFCs are commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners. These potent greenhouse gasses are far more damaging than CO2 on a molecule-by-molecule basis, and their reduction has been lauded as one of the most important steps the world can take to mitigate global warming.

The Kigali Amendment affords certain protections to many developing nations that still rely heavily on HFCs. Some countries will not begin to limit their HFC production for another decade, though more than 100 have promised to take action by 2024. If all goes as planned, the new protocol will eliminate the equivalent of 70 billion metric tons of CO2 from the atmosphere.