Cymie R. Payne studies global governance of the environment and natural resources and the consequent evolution of international law, with a focus on climate change, protection of the environment in relation to armed conflict, and conservation of ocean resources.
She has represented the interests of the international community in the marine environment as legal counsel before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea in Hamburg, on behalf of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). She previously practiced natural resource and environmental law with the United Nations, the U.S. Department of the Interior and the law firm of Goodwin, Procter. For six years she participated in landmark decisions on the legal responsibility of aggressor states for the restoration and remediation of damage to the environment from armed conflict as counsel to the United Nations Compensation Commission in Geneva, Switzerland. As Director of the Global Commons Project at University of California Berkeley’s Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, she focused on the linkage of state and international climate policy, particularly with respect to emissions trading systems; conflicts of state law with international trade; and regulating risks of new technologies such as carbon sequestration, where she was also a lecturer in residence on international courts and climate change law.
She currently serves on the Program Committee of the American Society for International Law; the International Law Association Committee on Sustainable Natural Resource Management for Development; and on the Commission on Environmental Law of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. She holds a Master’s degree from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and a Juris Doctor from the University of California, Berkeley.