Paul Sabin

Paul Sabin is a professor in the Department of History at Yale University, where he teaches and writes about environmental and energy history and U.S. political and legal history.  Sabin is the faculty director for the Yale Environmental Humanities Program and coordinates the Yale Environmental History working group.

Sabin’s forthcoming book, Public Citizens: The Attack on Big Government and the Remaking of American Liberalism (W.W. Norton, 2021), examines the evolution and impact of the public interest environmental law movement in the United States since the 1960s. Sabin’s previous book, The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future (Yale University Press, 2013), explores contentious debates over population growth and resource scarcity.  His first book, Crude Politics: The California Oil Market, 1900-1940 (University of California Press, 2005), shows how politics and law shaped a growing dependence on petroleum in California and the nation.

Sabin received his Ph.D. in 2000 from the University of California, Berkeley, and then spent a year as the Newcomen Post-Doctoral Fellow in business history at the Harvard Business School.  He also served for nine years as the founding executive director of the non-profit Environmental Leadership Program, which has trained and supported a collaborative network of more than 1,300 talented public leaders from higher education, government, businesses, and non-profit organizations.

Latest Updates

“Thinking Historically about the Future of Energy and Climate”

Spoke at UT Austin’s Institute for Historical Studies on lessons learned from the history of energy and climate, including how our historical understanding has changed in the past decade.

“Thinking Historically about the Future of Energy and Climate”

Terrific discussion about the past and future of energy with Matt Jacobson in the “Democracy in America” Series.


New public humanities grant program

The Yale Environmental Humanities Program created a new small grants program to encourage public humanities projects by Yale faculty, students and staff that engage diverse publics with urgent cultural, ethical, and social questions related to the environment and society. For more information visit: