Job Title:

Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability


John C. Dernbach is Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability at Widener University Commonwealth Law School in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Director of that school’s Environmental Law and Sustainability Center. Professor Dernbach has written on sustainable development, climate change, and other topics in more than 40 articles for law reviews and peer-reviewed journals, and has authored, coauthored, or contributed chapters to more than 20 books. He is the editor (with James R. May) of Shale Gas and the Future of Energy: Law and Policy for Sustainability (Edward Elgar 2016), the principal author of author of Acting as if Tomorrow Matters: Accelerating the Transition to Sustainability (Environmental Law Institute Press 2012), and the editor of Agenda for a Sustainable America (ELI Press 2009) and Stumbling Toward Sustainability (ELI Press 2002). He and Professor Michael Gerrard are the co-editors of a forthcoming book, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (ELI Press 2017).
Professor Dernbach coauthored an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 18 prominent climate scientists in Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency. He 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. His writings were extensively cited by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in its landmark 2013 decision in Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which has reinvigorated the Environmental Rights Amendment to the state constitution. Before taking his teaching position at Widener, Professor Dernbach worked in a variety of positions at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and served most recently as that agency’s policy director.