​​​​​​​We know that improving the environment requires changing the way we run our businesses, use our resources, and act as citizens. But how do we actually make that change occur? One lever for change has been taxation and at Vermont Law School, students learn how to utilize that tool to produce change in society.

Taxes can send strong messages. Whether we want to discourage a harmful behavior or encourage green choices, taxes on pollution can help businesses, organizations, and individuals think about the cost of social harms—and encourage them to act in ways that help society. For example, the U.S. federal government imposed a significant excise tax on ozone-depleting chemicals when it wanted to phase out those chemicals, and Canada’s British Columbia has placed a substantial tax on carbon emissions. The government can also offer tax benefits, such as the federal tax credit to individuals who reduce carbon emissions by purchasing an electric vehicle.

Environmental taxation is an intriguingly complex subject, and requires an understanding of both the desired outcome and the way that a tax can be proposed, administered, and evaluated. Since nearly all types of tax systems and levels of government can implement environmental tax policies, and because environmental tax policy can complement environmental regulation, the subject of environmental tax policy requires a sophisticated understanding of both taxation and the environment.

At Vermont Law School, students learn to navigate these fascinating waters. Here you learn to understand the reach and limits of tax systems and the environmental goals in need of support. Students contribute directly to the ongoing public policy debate through the Environmental Tax Policy Institute​​. Directed by Professor Janet Milne, the institute’s real world research considers constitutional questions raised by environmental taxation, the design of sound tax programs, the application of environmental taxation to specific issues—such as climate change, water pollution and land conservation, the merits of carbon taxes versus carbon trading programs, the impact of WTO trade rules on tax measures, and much more.

 

 

Agriculture & Food Systemshttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/agriculture-food-systemsAgriculture & Food SystemsFood is a basic necessity of human life and a unique vehicle for change, as it is intimately tied to human health, the environment, poverty, immigration, animal welfare, law, politics, and culture, on every step of its journey from farm to plate.
Business Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/business-lawBusiness LawA targeted suite of classes for students who want to specialize in business. Courses include corporations, bankruptcy, nonprofit management, white collar crime and more.
China & Southeast Asiahttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/china-and-southeast-asiaChina & Southeast AsiaAs the challenges posed by climate change grow in urgency, the power that massive developing countries like China, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Myanmar can leverage to effect change cannot be overstated.
Climate Change Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/climate-change-lawClimate Change LawIn a time of broken global temperature records, increasing natural disasters, emerging U.S. and international law and policy will be key to governing mitigation of and adaptation to climate change.
Criminal Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/criminal-lawCriminal LawThe certificate in criminal law provides broad-based, comprehensive training and skills needed by students to become prosecutors, defenders, or to practice criminal law in a private firm setting.
Dispute Resolutionhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/dispute-resolutionDispute ResolutionIn an increasingly complex world, dispute resolution offers a way to find solutions that allow all parties to move forward without entering a courtroom.
Energy Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/energy-lawEnergy LawVermont Law School courses and clinics consider the relationship between energy and the environment in the context of its legal, scientific, commercial and human implications.
Environmental Justicehttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/environmental-justiceEnvironmental JusticeStudents who specialize in Environmental Justice will develop their personal and professional environmental ethics.
Environmental Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/environmental-lawEnvironmental LawVermont Law School offers a multidisciplinary array of environmental courses in law, policy, science, economics, and ethics to students studying for any one of our degrees or certificates.
International Environmental Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/international-environmental-lawInternational Environmental LawEnvironmental issues are global issues. The unique opportunities at Vermont Law School prepare our graduates to be leaders in international environmental law and policy.
International & Comparative Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/international-comparative-lawInternational & Comparative LawPrepares students for careers with international organizations, NGOs, law firms, multinational enterprises, and government agencies. We offer study experiences that broaden knowledge and skills, add new perspective, and open opportunities.
Land Use Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/land-use-lawLand Use LawIncluding smart growth principles, ecological planning, affordable housing, flood hazard mitigation, energy and land use regulatory decision-making, permitting processes, and land conservation strategies.
Legal Writinghttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/legal-writingLegal Writing
Sports Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/sports-lawSports Law
Tax Law and Policyhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/tax-law-and-policyTax Law and PolicyWe know that improving the environment requires changing the way we run our businesses, use our resources, and act as citizens. But how do we actually make that change occur?
Technology & Legal Innovationhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/technology-legal-innovationTechnology & Legal InnovationDigital technologies create a wealth of new possibilities around how we define, deliver, and teach law. What does government become as legislation and regulation open to digital means of access and participation?
Water Resources Law | Vermont Lawhttp://environmentallaw.vermontlaw.edu/academics/specializations/water-resources-lawWater Resources Law | Vermont LawLearn about local, national, and global efforts to secure water supplies through research, education, and policy development. Focus on water law, environmental justice, and policy initiatives to further wise, judicious use of water as a public resource.

​"The higher the tax, the more aggressive a signal the government is going to send about the need to lower carbon emissions." ​

Janet E. Milne, professor of law and director of the Institute for Environmental Tax Policy at Vermont Law School, speaking to the International Herald Tribune about Norway's 2012 decision to double the carbon tax rate for offshore gas and oil production.