Distinguished Professor of Law
Direct Phone: 717.541.1933
John Dernbach is a nationally and internationally recognized authority on sustainable development, climate change, and environmental law. He is the director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, and brings his expertise into the classroom in courses on property, environmental law, international law, and sustainability.
Professor Dernbach writes and lectures widely on sustainable development, climate change, and environmental law. He leads the only national project that comprehensively assesses U.S. sustainability efforts and makes recommendations for future efforts. He also was a member of the National Research Council Committee that, in Sustainability and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (2011), made recommendations on how to institutionalize sustainability at EPA.
Professor Dernbach contributed to two recent landmark environmental law cases. His scholarship provided much of the basis for the plurality opinion in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which applied the previously dormant Environmental Rights Amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution. Dernbach was also one of four lawyers to co-author an AMICUS BRIEF to the U.S. Supreme Court in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency on behalf of 18 prominent climate scientists, including two Nobel laureates.
Donald Brown joined the faculty as Scholar in Residence for Sustainability Ethics and Law through Widener’s Environmental Law and Sustainability Center. Professor Brown comes to Widener Law from Penn State University where he taught interdisciplinary courses on climate change and sustainable development. He also directed the Pennsylvania Environmental Research Consortium, an organization of 56 Pennsylvania universities and the Pennsylvania Departments of Environmental Protection and Conservation and Natural Resources. He previously worked as program manager for United Nations Organizations at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International Environmental Policy. He represented the agency on U.S. delegations to the United Nations negotiating climate change, biodiversity and sustainable development issues. At Widener Law, he researches and presents public presentations on climate change, ethics and sustainability.