Jonathan Wiener

William R. & Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law

Duke Law School

Jonathan B. Wiener is the William R. and Thomas L. Perkins Professor of Law at Duke Law School, Professor of Environmental Policy at the Nicholas School of the Environment, and Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy, at Duke University. Since 2002, he has also been a University Fellow of Resources for the Future (RFF), the environmental economics think tank.

He has worked on climate change policy and emissions trading markets for more than 25 years, including as a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 5th Assessment Report, chapter on “International Cooperation” (2014). Earlier, while serving in the US Government, he helped draft the first IPCC report from 1989-90, helped negotiate the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) from 1989-92, and helped draft the first US Climate Action Plan in 1993.

In 2008, he served as President of the Society for Risk Analysis (SRA). In 2012, he co-chaired the SRA’s World Congress on Risk, held in Sydney, Australia. In 2003, he received the Chauncey Starr Young Risk Analyst Award from the SRA for the most exceptional contributions to the field of risk analysis by a scholar aged 40 or under.

From 2000-05, he was the founding Faculty Director of the Duke Center for Environmental Solutions, which was then expanded into the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, for which he served as chair of the faculty advisory committee from 2007-10.

Professor Wiener has written widely on U.S., European, and international environmental law and risk regulation, including the books The Reality of Precaution: Comparing Risk Regulation in the United States and Europe (RFF Press/Earthscan/Routledge, 2011, with others); Reconstructing Climate Policy (AEI Press 2003, with Richard B. Stewart); and Risk vs. Risk (Harvard University Press 1995, with John D. Graham). His publications are available at

He has been a visiting professor at Harvard Law School, Université Paris-Dauphine, Sciences Po, the University of Chicago Law School, and l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and le Centre International de Recherche sur L’Environnement et le Développement (CIRED) in Paris. He has taught courses on Environmental Law, Climate Change and the Law, Risk Regulation, Mass Torts, Property Law, Global Property Regimes, International Environmental Law, and Happiness & Decisions.

Before coming to Duke, he worked on U.S. and international environmental policy in the US Government: at the White House Council of Economic Advisers, at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and at the US Department of Justice, serving in both the first Bush and Clinton administrations. He helped negotiate the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) from 1989-92, and he attended the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. In 1993 he helped draft Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Review.

Jonathan Wiener clerked for Judge (now U.S. Supreme Court Justice) Stephen G. Breyer on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Boston in 1988-89, and for Chief Judge Jack B. Weinstein on the U.S. District Court in New York in 1987-88. He received his A.B. (economics) (1984) and J.D. (1987) from Harvard University.