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Professor of Research in Environmental Policy, American University School of International Service

Dr. Wil Burns is a visiting Professor in the Environmental Policy & Culture program at Northwestern University. He was previously a Professor of Research and Founding Co-Director of the Institute for Carbon Removal Law & Policy at American University. He previously served as the Associate Director of the Master of Science, Energy Policy & Climate program at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. He also serves as the Chair of the International Environmental Law Committee of the American Branch of the International Law Association. He is the former President of the Association for Environmental Studies & Sciences, and former Co-Chair of the International Environmental Law interest group of the American Society of International Law and the International Wildlife Law Interest group of the Society. He has published over 75 articles in law, science, and policy journals and has co-edited four books. He holds a Ph.D. in International Environmental Law from the University of Wales-Cardiff School of Law. Prior to becoming an academic, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs for the State of Wisconsin and worked in the non-governmental sector for twenty years, including as Executive Director of the Pacific Center for International Studies, a think-tank that focused on implementation of international wildlife treaty regimes, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. His current areas of research focus are: climate geoengineering; international climate change litigation; adaptation strategies to address climate change, with a focus on the potential role of microinsurance; and the effectiveness of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System.


  • 2014–present
    Scholar in Residence, American University