Dr. Chad McGuire: Understanding Climate Change

Dr. Chad J. McGuire, whose research focuses on environmental law, addressed Pres. Obama's Executive Order to address climate change.

Chad McGuire at the New Bedford waterfront

‌Dr. Chad J. McGuire specializes in environmental law with an emphasis on marine and coastal issues. An associate professor, he also serves as department chair and graduate program director of UMass Dartmouth's Department of Public Policy.

The department offers traditional and online graduate programs in public policy and online graduate certificates in environmental policy and educational policy. Students work with and learn from an interdisciplinary community of scholars who are dedicated to educating the next generation of civic leaders.

Research on environmental issues and collaborations with students

"I utilize my research to help inform my teaching in the areas of environmental policy, administrative law, and decision-making," McGuire said.

"Students learn how to think about environmental problems from various perspectives, and this informs their research. This often culminates in research collaborations with students. I've published with students on at least five occasions in the past six years and currently am working with a graduate student on how current policies influence individual and community perceptions of risk."

A sought-after speaker and consultant on issues of climate change and environmental policy, McGuire has shared his expertise with SouthCoast residents in a series of articles for The New Bedford Standard Times/Southcoast Today and in a March 2015 talk on campus.

In a recent UMassD Q&A, McGuire addressed Pres. Obama's Executive Order to address climate change.

Sea-level rise and climate change

Leading with an area of immediate concern for coastal communities, McGuire addressed sea level rise and flood insurance. Subsequently, his articles explored the public and private aspects of protecting the environment, environmental policy in relation to the voting public, and the role of economics in environmental protection.

"As the earth warms, we should expect seas to continue to rise," McGuire said. What is critical, he added, is facing this crisis with the right information.

"It's important to use the lens of scientists, how they understand climate change and rising seas, to inform our decisions. If we focus only on what we see today, we are likely to miss the larger trends that help us see what will come tomorrow. Our ability to make informed decisions today will make all the difference."

The future of climate change policy

The voting public bears the responsibility of prioritizing preparations for impending climate disasters, McGuire noted, drawing a parallel to how we as a society support Social Security as an investment in our future retirement.

"Maybe it's time for us to see investing for natural disasters in the same way," he said. "All evidence suggests our politicians are listening: we just need to be clear in our message."

McGuire is a UMass Dartmouth alumnus, with a bachelor's degree in environmental studies. He also holds a master's degree in environmental science from UMass Boston and J.D. and LL.M., Environmental Law degrees from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Read: Climate change series at SouthCoast Today

Climate Change—Rising sea levels challenge flood insurance management

Market failures and protecting the environment

Preparing for disaster—How our voting sends the wrong message

What economics teaches us about environmental protection

Watch: "A Changing Climate" on YouTube

"A Changing Climate, Rising Seas and Human Institutions: The Strangest of Bedfellows"

More information

Department of Public Policy

Faculty page: Dr. Chad McGuire

UMassD Q&A: Pres. Obama's Executive Order on Climate Change


College of Arts and Sciences, Features - Faculty