Issue 2/2010

- The SEC’s Interpretive Release on Climate Change Disclosure
- Warming Up to Climate Action
- The “Glorious Mess” Comes to Court
- ...

US Federal Energy and Climate Change legislation: Some Lessons to be Learned from the Waxman-Markey Bill
Dr. David Robinson
This article analyzes the Waxman-Markey Bill to identify lessons to be learned from past efforts to pass US federal energy and climate change legislation. Overall, the message is that Presidential leadership will be necessary to pass such legislation, which is currently facing both stiff resistance from special interests and complacency from the public. The case for action has to be put more convincingly. One argument that deserves greater attention is that the economic costs of doing nothing are potentially high for important sectors of the U.S. economy. Delaying legislation could leave companies from the United States lagging behind their competitors in the growing global market for new low-carbon services and technologies.
Market-based Regulation under the Clean Air Act
Roger Martella
As prospects dim for Congress enacting an economy-wide greenhouse gas cap-and-trade regime for the modern era, advocates for such a system increasingly are setting their sites on a 40 year old trusty and reliable stalwart to do the job: the existing Clean Air Act (CAA). This article assesses questions of whether, when, and how EPA could enact its own cap-and-trade system under the Clean Air Act.
The SEC’s Interpretive Release on Climate Change Disclosure
Jeffrey A. Smith, Matthew Morreale, Kimberley S. Drexler
The SEC’s new guidance on climate change disclosure covers legislative and regulatory developments, the rapidly growing field of climate litigation, MD&A disclosure of known trends and uncertainties, and physical risks to the registrant and other commercially related entities. The Release also emphasizes the indirect effects of climate change, both on the supply chain and in reputational matters. Its most immediate and lasting consequences, however, may be to bring climate change disclosure directly under the umbrella of the SEC’s integrated disclosure requirements found in Regulation S-K. This has implications for a registrant’s disclosure control procedures as well as requiring some companies to take a new look at their voluntary climate change disclosure.
California’s Climate Change Policies: Lessons for the Nation
Mary D. Nichols
Climate change is a real and urgent threat to our communities, our states, and our nation. California is already experiencing its impacts. Over the past 100 years, the Golden State has seen a seven-inch rise in sea level, eroding our coastal communities and threatening critical infrastructure. In the winter, more of our precipitation now falls as rain rather than snow, leading to less water availability in the critical spring and summer months. California has already experienced a more severe and prolonged wildfire season. These effects are merely a small window into the issues that California faces with a changing climate.
Warming Up to Climate Action
Dana Archer Dolan, Genevieve Borg Soule, Jill Greaney, Jason Morris
A Survey of GHG Mitigation through Building Energy Efficiency in City Climate Action Plans
The “Glorious Mess” Comes to Court
Raymond Ludwiszewski, Charles H. Haake, Stacie B. Fletcher
Following the Second Circuit’s decision in Connecticut v. AEP, federal courts – not Congress – may be the first to decide the tough legal and policy questions implicated by global pollution problems. This article examines practical implications of litigating climate change nuisance cases, focusing on two of the more difficult issues that a trial court may face in adjudicating responsibility for climate change – impleading of responsible parties and determining whether carbon-emitting conduct is an unreasonable interference under existing nuisance law. Not only are these issues novel and complex and likely to lead to expensive and unwieldy litigation, but they also underscore the notion that addressing climate change raise policy laden questions best reserved to the elected branches of government.
Product Carbon Footprinting: Calculation and Communication Standards in the Making
Cheryl Micallef-Borg
A Product Carbon Footprint (PCF) is the entire life cycle (cradle-to-grave) accounting of greenhouse gases (GHGs) for an individual good or service. It is propagated to effect changes in corporate policy and consumer choice toward less emission intensive production and consumption patterns. Though not yet a legislative reality, calculation and communication standards are in the making. This study attempts to compare the most prominent PCF efforts to date, analysing how each emerging standard addresses key PCF calculation features. It concludes that potential for methodology harmonisation exists, and that the time is ripe and the know-how available for such harmonisation to occur. PCF standard harmonisation can be an important contributor to achievement of the transition to a more sustainable production and consumption culture needed for effective climate change mitigation.


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