Understanding Climate Change Law
To address the remarkable number of developments on the climate change front, Environmental Law Institute announces a nationwide series of Associate Seminars devoted to understanding the legal, policy, and management issues surrounding climate change. These seminars are designed for lawyers, environmental managers, and environmental policy professionals who need to understand more than just the daily headlines on climate. These seminars will educate you on the “who, what, when, where, why and how” of climate change law and regulation and provide an opportunity to discuss your questions with the foremost experts on these topics.
As always, there is no charge for ELI members to attend or listen to the seminars via conference call, but you must RSVP to Marcia McMurrin. Non-members should consult the individual event's webpage link to determine registration availability and applicable fees. You may also click here to join ELI.
2010 ELI Fall Practice Update: Understanding the New Air Pollution Rules
October 20, 2010, Omni Shoreham Hotel, Washington, DC
The Environmental Law Institute’s Fall Practice Update is an annual, half-day seminar addressing critical issues in environmental law and management. It allows practitioners to both learn about and share their views on cutting edge environmental legal issues.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency embarked on an ambitious schedule of air pollution rulemaking following the vacatur of several Bush administration rulemakings. The "transport rule" seeks to cap interstate emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from power plants to replace the Clean Air Interstate Rule (CAIR). Also scheduled are: a plan to review and update hazardous air pollution rules covering 28 types of industrial facilities, rules limiting mercury and other toxic emissions including arsenic, dioxins, and hydrochloric acid, national health standards for ozone, and BACT standards that will likely address greenhouse gases. Panelists discussed how these various rules interrelate and how they might fit with legislative developments in the next two years.
Climate Change and Energy: The Full North American Perspective
October 20, 2008, Hunton & Williams LLP, Washington, DC
The debate raging in the United States around climate change has chiefly focused on domestic regulatory issues and how the U.S. might engage leading emitters from the developing countries in any international agreement. But the actions the U.S. takes to address climate change will have significant economic, environmental and political impacts on our neighbors to the North and South. At the same time, Canada and Mexico can be critical allies in U.S. efforts to reduce domestic and global GHG emissions. In this program, the top environment/energy officials in the Mexican and Canadian Embassies discussed their countries’ perspectives on climate change and U.S. actions, as well as related energy concerns and other trans-border environmental and trade-related matters of current interest. This was a fantastic opportunity to broaden our knowledge about these critical environmental and natural resource issues that affect our hemisphere and the world.
Voluntary Carbon Markets and the FTC Green Guides
June 20, 2008, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC
Despite the United States' decision not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and engage in international trading in carbon offset credits, a nascent market in voluntary greenhouse gas reduction credits is now thriving in the United States. Based on "verified emission reduction" credits, or VERs, companies are constructing projects around the country to reduce GHG emissions, and are either selling the resulting VERs or holding them in anticipation of a future compliance market. What are the issues surrounding additionality, registration, and verification of these VERs, and how will they be used in future GHG compliance markets?
Implementing AB 32: California's Pathbreaking Climate Change Legislation
May 1, 2008, Bingham McCutchen LLP, San Francisco, CA
In 2006, California enacted AB 32: the California Global Warming Solutions Act, the first law mandating economy-wide greenhouse gas emission reductions in the United States. Principal responsibility for implementing the Act was given to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). To implement the Act, CARB has already adopted mandatory greenhouse gas emission reporting requirements and published a list of "early action" greenhouse gas emission reduction measures. CARB is now developing regulations and other implementation strategies. Currently CARB is engaged in one of its most important responsibilities: to issue by January 1, 2009, a Scoping Plan for achieving the mandated goal of reducing California's greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The panel provided an up-to-the-minute report on CARB's implementation of AB 32 by the Chief of CARB's Climate Change Office and highlight key implementation issues from the perspectives of the state, the environmental community, and the private sector.
Foreign Carbon Credits Are Golden
March 18, 2008, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC
In this ELI Associates Seminar, expert Mexican attorneys, one of whom practices in the European Union, will explain how U.S. companies can generate CDM credits, obtain certification under Kyoto, and then trade the CERs directly into the ETS. They described successful projects of this type, explained the Kyoto certification process, and identified advantages afforded by such investments in Mexico.
Global Climate Change and Carbon Finance: A Primer for Lawyers
March 12, 2008, Hunton & Williams LLP, Washington, DC
This seminar, cosponsored by the DC Bar, Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Section/ International Committee, and the International Law Section/Public International and Criminal Law Section, introduced practitioners to some of the most exciting developments in carbon finance, including (1) the status of international rules and programs under the Kyoto Protocol, (2) the linking of forest protection efforts to credit-based trading, (3) how the European Trading System has worked and influenced the development of domestic programs, (4) efforts to ensure the integrity of credits, and (5) how national trading programs might work and interact with regional and international systems. Panelists included some of the leading experts in these areas and explained how the trading systems work, how deals are structured and risks evaluated, what developments can be expected in the future, and what role practitioners can play.
January 30, 2008, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC
On December 15, the Bali conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached agreement on a roadmap for negotiations towards a new climate change agreement. The agreement will supersede the Kyoto Protocol, which ends in 2012, and will hopefully include the meaningful participation of the United States and major developing nations. Thus, the future of international agreements on climate change likely hinge on the success of these negotiations through 2009. This panel discussed what happened at Bali, the roadmap for future negotiations within the UNFCCC and other international venues, and the likely effects of international regulations on domestic climate law and policy.
January 23, 2008, Wilmer Hale, Boston, MA
The Northeastern United States has shown great leadership in developing programs to address climate change in the United States. While the framework for the principal program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), initially targets carbon dioxide emission reductions from power plants, the program may expand to include other sources. Implementation of RGGI is well underway, with the first phase of the regional cap-and-trade program set to begin on January 1, 2009. In addition, there are developments at the federal level that will impact many sectors of the economy in the Northeast, including regulatory developments at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and potential federal legislation. A key issue for the RGGI states will be the extent to which federal legislation will address the issue of federal preemption of state action. In this seminar, speakers from the regulated community, EPA and the environmental community will present updates on the federal and regional programs, as well as discuss the key issues in the implementation of RGGI such as the intersection between RGGI and developments at the federal level.
November 28, 2007, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC
The prospect of national legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the electric power sector and the reality of regional regulatory programs present new challenges to power generating companies in building capacity to meet increasing demand. In this seminar, an event in the ELI Climate Change Seminar Series, speakers will present a sample of company perspectives on how the design of a greenhouse gas regulatory system could affect the ability to finance new capacity. Issues include the allocation of carbon emission allowances under a cap and trade system, the timing of emission reduction requirements, and the availability of government subsidies such as loan guarantees.
November 13, 2007, New York City Bar Assocation, New York, NY
Experts debate the benefits and drawbacks of the cap and trade system versus a carbon tax. Significant time for audience questions to the debaters is allotted.
November 6, 2007, Dorsey and Whitney, Minneapolis, MN
In February Minnesota joined a growing number of states requiring renewable portfolio standards for utilities. Minnesota’s new law requires that by 2025, 25% of the state’s energy must come from renewable power sources. In this panel discussion, an event in ELI’s Understanding Climate Change Law seminar series, representatives from industry, government, and the public interest will present a case study of one utility’s response to the new renewable energy mandates in Minnesota. Our expert panel will provide background on the development of Minnesota’s renewable energy standard, conservation requirements, and carbon goals. Xcel Energy, Inc., the utility providing over half of the state’s electricity, will explain its reaction to the new requirements and the challenges it and other utilities will face, such as transmission constraints and the availably of wind turbines and other renewables.
November 1, 2007, George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s blockbuster decision this year in Massachusetts v. EPA, new judicial rulings grappling with climate change have emerged from federal district courts around the country. Although the parties and the nature of the claims have varied from case to case, constitutional issues have consistently remained front and center. Some courts have now dismissed nuisance lawsuits under the political question doctrine (NY, CA, MS) and on standing grounds (MS), while another court has rejected claims by industry that Vermont’s new greenhouse gas regulation is preempted by the foreign policy prerogatives of the federal government and by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act. More climate change rulings are expected, with all of this litigation only just beginning to work its way through the federal judiciary. What does it all mean? Where is climate change case law headed?
September 27, 2007, Sidley Austin LLP, New York, NY
Climate change is rapidly transforming the regulatory, political, and business environments. Several states and regions have launched greenhouse gases regulatory programs, many companies are undertaking voluntary climate initiatives, and significant federal and international political negotiations about global warming are underway. How should companies address climate issues in their securities disclosures and in voluntary statements to their stakeholders? Our expert panel will present case studies of various companies’ approaches to climate matters and discuss the potential benefits and pitfalls of diverse strategies for disclosing climate issues.
June 20, 2007, Beveridge & Diamond, Washington, DC
More and more organizations advertise their companies, facilities, events or even products as “carbon neutral.” Yet despite the outburst of interest in the concept, there is still no uniform agreement about what that means or how it can be verified. This panel will address the prospects of this fast-emerging idea and the voluntary market in carbon offsets that makes it possible. What are the issues that should be considered before setting a goal of carbon neutrality? What are the options available to offset carbon emissions? What goes into making a reasonable claim of carbon neutrality? What are the risks behind such claims (legal, reputational and otherwise)? Please join our panel of experts representing companies that buy carbon offsets, companies that sell carbon offsets, and the NGO community that is actively working on standards for this emerging market.