Weitzman News

Posted October 21, 2021

Energy and Climate Law Professor Joins Penn Carey Law and the Kleinman Center 

From decarbonization in a democracy to clean energy justice, Shelley Welton’s legal research focuses on how climate change is transforming energy and environmental law. This week, Welton accepted an appointment at the University of Pennsylvania, as a Presidential Distinguished Professor of Law and Energy Policy.  

Welton’s faculty appointment is at Penn Carey Law where she will hold an affiliation with the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy in the Weitzman School as part of President Amy Gutmann’s 2019 commitment to build a multidisciplinary energy policy faculty affiliated with the Kleinman Center.   

“I’m thrilled and honored to be joining Penn Carey Law and the Kleinman Center. I look forward to collaborating across the University to enhance Penn’s leadership in climate and energy scholarship, policymaking, and education,” says Welton.

Welton will start her tenure at Penn in the fall of 2022. This year, she is already connecting with Penn faculty and students by participating in law school seminars and by serving in the spring as a Kleinman Center visiting scholar. Starting next fall, she will teach Environmental Law and host an advanced climate and energy seminar at Penn Carey Law in addition to her Energy and Climate course at the Kleinman Center. 

“In her work, Shelley explores the relationship of law to real-world environmental challenges and imagines meaningful solutions,” says Fritz Steiner, Dean and Paley Professor at Weitzman.  

Welton will be the second faculty research appointment at the Kleinman Center, following the 2020 hiring of carbon capture expert Jennifer Wilcox, who is now on leave at the Department of Energy. Both appointments are possible due to an anonymous $30 million dollar gift to the Kleinman Center in 2019, as well as generous University support.

“Energy policy is decidedly interdisciplinary, and the understanding of formal governance through powerful legal scholarship is essential to rolling out effective policies and educating the next generation of energy policy leaders. We are so fortunate to have Shelley’s expertise here at Penn to move this important work forward,” says Mark Alan Hughes, practice professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning and faculty director of the Kleinman Center. 

Welton comes to Penn from the University of South Carolina School of Law, where she taught administrative law, energy law, environmental law and policy, and climate change law. Her scholarship has appeared in publications like the California Law ReviewColumbia Law Review, and Harvard Environmental Law Review. Prior to academia, Welton worked as the deputy director of Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. She also clerked for Judge David Trager of the Eastern District of New York and Judge Allyson Duncan of the Fourth Circuit.