Climate Change (International)
Our climate change practice builds on the Firm’s extensive experience in domestic and international environmental regulatory compliance as well as in commercial, financial and land-use transactions. On climate change-related issues specifically, we advise and represent major industry associations and corporations in the transportation, energy and consumer-product sectors on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories, control measures, and credit and trading issues arising under domestic and international regulatory regimes.
Our experience includes providing advice on the ongoing rulemaking under the California Global Warming Solutions Act (better known as AB 32), on the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in the Northeastern states, on the Department of Energy’s Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program (known as “Section 1605(b)”), on emissions trading and other market mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol and the European Union’s Emissions Trading System, and in matters relating to the various “carbon offsets” markets. We also provide advice to clients on developing and implementing programs to inventory their GHG emissions and adopt measures that reduce their “carbon footprints” consistent with established protocols and standards.
Our relevant experience includes the following types of work:
- The Firm currently represents the North American airline industry on a broad range of climate change-related issues, including on matters relating to the development and implementation of a cap-and-trade GHG emissions reduction scheme consistent with the Kyoto Protocol and on proposals to include aviation in the already-existing European Trading System (ETS).
- The Firm currently represents clients in the ongoing rulemaking proceedings in Sacramento under AB 32, building on our strong presence in California and our long experience with regulatory initiatives under the California Air Resources Board.
- The Firm represents the Carbon Offset Providers Coalition, a cooperative alliance of leading entities operating in the carbon offset market. The Coalition’s members include those involved in financing, producing, generating, providing, aggregating and/or marketing these greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions for sale as offsets in existing and emerging voluntary and compliance GHG emission trading markets. Its purpose is to ensure that evolving GHG regulatory regimes in the United States develop in a manner that promotes both environmental integrity and economic efficiency, which the Coalition believes is best achieved through the establishment of a robust marketplace for offset providers and their customers. http://www.carbonoffsetproviders.org
- The Firm has advised a major electricity generating company regarding the implications of the emerging RGGI program in the Northeast for future and existing generation facilities, including the pending rulemaking in New York State to implement the RGGI model rule.
- The Firm has handled contractual issues related to the purchase, sale, banking, trading, creation and validation of GHG and other emissions credits in domestic and international forums, under voluntary and mandatory regulatory systems. For example, we have provided advice to the largest corporate purchaser of voluntary carbon offset credits in the United States to help the company manage the risks (reputational, brand, and transactional) associated with the voluntary carbon market. Our advice has encompassed both the details of purchase and sale agreements as well as novel issues associated with the taxation, accounting and securities law compliance issues associated with GHG trading and credits.
- The Firm has represented and advised clients with respect to their participation in USG partnership programs such as the EPA Climate Leaders program and the Department of Energy’s Climate Vision program.
- The Firm provides legal advice on GHG emissions trading, the Kyoto Protocol and other energy-related developments in the United States to one of the largest energy corporations in the European Union.
- The Firm successfully represented industry clients in litigation regarding the legality and viability of U.S. and state emissions trading rules.
- The Firm represents clients with respect to the regulatory risks raised by the various forms of emissions trading. For example, we advised a major utility on the legal risks of seeking to obtain its competitor’s emission credits in conjunction with its decision to build new power plants.
- The Firm has provided strategic counseling to a Fortune 20 company to assist it in evaluating its carbon risk profile and developing an environmental management system to reduce its GHG emissions in response to both domestic and worldwide carbon regulatory initiatives.
- The Firm has represented various business entities in the development of carbon reduction and carbon sequestration measures associated with production processes, and the crafting of agreements for both the sale and retention of any actual or future credits associated with such measures in conformance with emerging and accepted standards for GHG emissions reduction recognition, trading and crediting.
- The Firm represents clients in the emerging biofuels market, including providing advice on the registration of new biodiesels and rules relating to their importation into U.S. markets.
- The Firm currently advises a Fortune 500 company on the relationship between the global climate change regime and the global stratospheric ozone regime, and the ways in which its business operations may be affected by these multilateral environmental agreements.
Attorneys with the Firm have long-established relationships with senior staff and policy-makers responsible for U.S. climate change policies at the Department of State, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, and the White House, as well as in key state regulatory bodies, notably the California Air Resources Board. Through these contacts, the Firm tracks and advises clients in numerous industry sectors on developments related to domestic and international climate initiatives. The Firm also maintains working relationships with key legal and professional staff involved in the World Bank's Prototype Carbon Fund. Attorneys at the Firm have significant prior experience in developing GHG-related market mechanisms, including in representing the United States at international negotiations to craft rules under the Kyoto Protocol and the Framework Convention on Climate Change.