Center for International Environmental Law

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) is a public interest, not-for-profit environmental law firm founded in 1989 in the United States to strengthen international and comparative environmental law and policy around the world. With offices in Washington, DC and Geneva, Switzerland, CIEL’s staff of international attorneys provide legal counsel and advocacy, policy research and capacity building in the areas of biodiversity, chemicals, climate change, human rights and the environment, international financial institutions, law and communities, plastic, and trade and sustainable development.

Carroll Muffett is the current president.[1]

Mission statementEdit

The mission is to use the power of law to protect the environment, promote human rights, and ensure a just and sustainable society.[2]

About CIELEdit

CIEL is incorporated as a U.S. nonprofit organization designated by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charity.[3]

Since 1989, CIEL has worked not only to support communities and defend the environment in the face of looming threats, but to change the very system that gives rise to those threats. CIEL works creatively to build the legal levers for change that will be effective not only for CIEL and its partners, but for others far beyond CIEL’s reach.


CIEL's vision for the world is one where the law reflects the interconnection between humans and the environment, respects the limits of the planet, protects the dignity and equality of each person, and encourages all of earth’s inhabitants to live in balance with each other. In every aspect of its work, CIEL promotes the rule of law; transparent, just and sustainable processes; balanced economic and political power that protects the rights of communities and the environment; democratic inclusion; intra and inter-generational equity; the interconnectedness of life on the planet; and the intrinsic value of nature and the inherent rights of species and ecosystems.

Areas of FocusEdit

CIEL's work is divided into three programs which span multiple campaigns. Climate & Energy utilizes international law to address the threat of climate change, Environmental Health works on the regulation of toxic chemicals around the world, and People, Land, & Resources seeks to defend the environment and human rights against the negative impacts of development.

Over the last decade, the organization released a number of influential reports. Smoke and Fumes[4] examined the oil and gas industry's efforts to fund the science and propaganda of climate denial, and is regularly cited in climate litigation against carbon majors. And the organization's series Plastic and Climate,[5] and Plastic and Health[6] continues to be featured in publications that seek to explain the impact of the plastic crisis on health, climate, and the environment.

Beginning in 2020, the organization released reports that examined the oil, gas, and petrochemical industry's attempts to use the COVID-19 pandemic for their own gain.[7]

Internships and fellowshipsEdit

CIEL's intern/extern/fellowship program[8] offers lawyers, law students and other exceptionally motivated students and graduates opportunities to gain experience in the field of international environmental law.

Over its 30 years, CIEL has trained more than 350 interns from 53 countries, providing an educational opportunities for lawyers in training. CIEL’s Intern Program trains new lawyers and law students by giving them the opportunity to work on cutting-edge international environmental issues in Washington and Geneva alongside and under the mentorship of CIEL’s experienced staff attorneys.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

  1. ^
  2. ^ "Our Mission". Center for International Environmental Law. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  3. ^ "Guidestar Profile for Center for International Environmental Law".
  4. ^ "Smoke & Fumes". Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  5. ^ "Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet (May 2019)". Center for International Environmental Law. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  6. ^ "Plastic & Health: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet (February 2019)". Center for International Environmental Law. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  7. ^ "Pandemic Crisis, Systemic Decline: Why Exploiting the COVID-19 Crisis Will Not Save the Oil, Gas, and Plastic Industries (April 2020)". Center for International Environmental Law. Retrieved 2020-12-05.
  8. ^ "Jobs/Internships". Center for International Environmental Law. Retrieved 2020-12-05.