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Jenner & Block: Federal Appeals Court - Greenhouse Gas Emitters Can Be Subject to Federal Common Law Nuisance Liability

“In a ground-breaking decision for global warming litigation, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held that eight states, New York City, and three land trusts could bring public nuisance claims against owners of some of the largest U.S. electric power plants, alleging that the plants'...

SEC and NAIC Take Affirmative Steps To Address Corporate Disclosures Regarding Climate Change

On October 2, 2009, as part of the 48th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute held at Northwestern University School of Law, SEC Commissioner Elisse B. Walter gave a speech entitled “SEC Rulemaking — ‘Advancing The Law’ To Protect Investors.” In her speech, Commissioner Walter...

  • 12-02-2009 | 12:17 PM
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Marten Law PLLC: Carbon Offsets Protocol Unlikely to Satisfy Competing Interests

California-based Climate Action Reserve (CAR) has released version 3.0 of its Forest Project Protocol, which allows forest lands located anywhere in the country to generate carbon offset credits by following CAR's accounting and verification procedures. On September 24, 2009, California's Air...

Caps on greenhouse gas emissions should not be left to judges

Todd D. Stern, head of the delegation, gave a media briefing shortly after arriving in Copenhagen today, 9 December. He reiterated recent commitments on greenhouse gas reductions, and asserted that legislation and regulation, rather than judicial intervention, is the way to address climate change....

COP15 will not change mandatory Greenhouse Gas reporting for UK and US companies

Notwithstanding the global discussions taking place in Copenhagen this week, companies that emit greenhouse gases in the UK and the US already have to come to terms with managing their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) under more stringent requirements to report their emissions. The US trailed behind the...

Global Warming: Policy Suggestions, Antarctic Trends, Energy Efficiency, & Alternative Generation

With 100+ world leaders in Copenhagen discussing a "renewal" of the Kyoto Protocol, what should be the policies that would address GHG's and global warming? A very thoughtful and lengthy discussion of the multitude of issues can be found at http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displaystory...

USDA report says climate change is inevitable even if more stringent emissions controls are adopted

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in cooperation with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), today released The Effects of Climate Change on U.S. Ecosystems today at the climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark. The report concludes...

Jenner & Block: 2009 Climate Change Year in Review: Building Foundations for Change or Just Castles in the Sand?

In this Emerging Issues commentary, Gabrielle Sigel and Jennifer L. Cassel of Jenner & Block discuss climate change developments in the year 2009. This recap includes regulatory, legislative, litigation and international developments. Some highlights include the EPA's proposed regulation of GHG...

SEC's New Guidance for Public Companies to Discuss Material Effects of Climate Change on Financial Performance

The SEC yesterday announced new disclosure guidance requiring public companies to discuss material effects of climate change on their financial performance. This new requirement exposes a risk for public companies and their directors and officers who should be insured against securities litigation arising...

Has climate change litigation become even more difficult?

Shortly before the Copenhagen climate change summit in December 2009 emails leaked or hacked from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit prompted responses ranging from robust defence of the integrity and validity of climate change science to angry denunciation of the ‘Anthropogenic...

Marten Law: SEC Issues Interpretive Guidance on Climate Change Disclosure Requirements for Public Companies

In this Emerging Issues Analysis, Dustin Till of Marten Law Group discusses the new interpretive document (the Guidance) from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Guidance informs public companies of their disclosure obligations to investors as to how climate change laws and regulations will impact...

COP15 will not change climate change reporting requirements for companies

By Colleen Theron, Environmental solicitor and consultant. Despite the inconclusive outcome of COP15 and the significant issues facing countries in the coming year to implement a legally binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), a critical area of focus for business and the legislature...

Electric cars may entail more than putting an electric motor where the internal combustion engine goes

The replacement of the internal combustion engine and drive-train with electric motor(s), batteries, and control systems is leading to a rethink of the way in which cars are designed and manufactured. One of the proposals, which dates from the turn of the last century, is the hub motor, an idea originally...

Cattle feed can contribute to increased rural ozone levels

As noted in prior posts, livestock operations are often associated with polluting streams and groundwater. Manure lagoons not only are associated with odor, but because of the nitrogen and phosphorus produced are associated with dead zones in streams and estuarial habitats. Additionally, prior posts...

Wolves eat larger prey in warm times

As noted in prior posts, an effective method for assessing the occurrence of global warming is to examine the multitude of micro-effect studies. While these do not usually indicate rates of change, they help to provide substantial credence to the actuality of climate change. A study of the changes...

Could humans have been influencing climate as long as 15 thousand years ago?

When someone mentions "climate change" and people, most of us think about the start of the industrial revolution. Those with a more anthropological viewpoint will think about the advent of slash-and-burn agriculture some 8 thousand years ago. Now, some serious researchers have had some fun...

An entirely new carbon sink in the oceans may have been discovered

One of the themes that has run through prior posts is to note that our understanding of the carbon cycle may leave more than a little to be desired. Such lack of understanding may explain why the impacts of global warming are, in some cases, more severe than anticipated, and in some cases less severe...

Lakes across the globe are warming up

Throughout the past quarter-century, inland lakes have been experiencing a small, steadily rising nighttime fever. Globally, the average increase has hovered around 0.045 degrees Celsius per year, but in some regions the increase has been more than twice that - or about 1 °C per decade. In some regions...

The trend toward use of heavier crudes increases the carbon footprint of petroleum products

Heavier crudes are, by definition, more viscous. The also contain greater amounts of sulfur, which must be removed because of the adverse impact of sulfur on various catalysts used in the refining process. The sulfur content of fuel is also controlled because of its impact on particulate generation....

Solar cells are becoming less expensive

"The future, according to MiaSolé, a Californian start-up, is unrolling at one centimetre a second in a bland-looking building in Silicon Valley. Despite the location, and the fact that most other solar cells are made from silicon, MiaSolé's cells are not. Ribbons of steel a metre...

California sets forth indicators of disproportionate impacts of climate change on environmental justice communities

To assist Cal-EPA with the examination of potential environmental justice concerns associated with climate change, Cal-EPA requested the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) [best known for its role in setting drinking water related Public Health Goals and in overseeing much of the...

Movement of corals around Japan provides evidence of global warming

Prior posts have noted that in terms of ascertaining evidence of global warming, it may be worthwhile to assess the numerous studies of various potential indicators (e.g., migration patterns, drought, relocation of biota). Add another indicator. A new study of reefs around Japan reveals that a handful...

Natural gas development poses a risk of enhancing GHG emissions due to "leakage", note new studies

Several prior posts have noted the greenhouse impact of methane (aka natural gas); it has many times the warming effect as carbon dioxide (CO2), which seems to be the focus of so much discussion about global warming. The posts have focused on the numerous "natural" sources of methane emissions...

Trees damaged by bark beetles slow their uptake of CO2 for up to a century

As noted in prior posts, bark beetles damage large forest areas, often killing or causing the death of 50% to 80% of mature trees. As these trees decompose, they release CO2, adding to the atmospheric burden of GHG's. New research has identified additional climate repercussions from beetle outbreaks...

The solar cycle is decreasing the impact of GHG emissions, but probably only for the near-term

The sun's activity waxes and wanes on a cycle that averages roughly 11 years, though cycles as short as nine years and as long as 14 years have been observed. Chinese astronomers were already tracking the sun's activity using sunspots more than 2,000 years ago; the modern record of solar output...