Climate Change Blog | McCarter & English

Alaska Supreme Court Opens the Door for Alternative Theory in Public Trust Litigation

September 26, 2014 23:40
by J. Wylie Donald  & Jeffrey Janicke
As this blog has discussed on several prior occasions, Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon public interest group, has coordinated lawsuits in numerous states seeking to apply the public trust doctrine to the atmosphere (e.g., here  and here).  While some jurisdictions now recognize the doctrine, OCT has yet to succeed in forcing a state to take any action on the climate.  This month, however, the Alaska Supreme Court provided plaintiffs another possible route. In Ka...

Climate Change | Climate Change Litigation

A Provisional Winner of an Offshore Wind Lease is Announced and that Means the Goal Line is Still Far Off

August 24, 2014 23:23
by J. Wylie Donald
Offshore wind took another small step forward last week when US Wind was announced as the provisional winner of the US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's August 19 auction of development rights to nearly 80,000 acres off of Maryland.  The price?  $8.7 million. According to the BOEM press release, and other reports the few million to be ponied up by US Wind (or by its Italian parents, Renexia and Toto S.p.A.) is more than was bid for offshore leases in Virginia and Massachusetts and a...

Regulation | Renewable Energy | Wind Energy

Super Models Are Looking Better Than Ever - What Does That Mean For Insureds?

August 20, 2014 23:19
by J. Wylie Donald
A recent article in August’s Best’s Review, The Rise of the Super Models, by Kate Smith (not Kate Upton, sorry), caught our eye.  A lot is going on in the world of computer catastrophe modeling.  First, demand by insurers and reinsurers is up and modeling firms are “broadening the scope of risks and regions that they model, with RMS, AIR Worldwide and CoreLogic EQECAT all set to release new models this year.”  Among other things, all of the top 3 modeling f...

Climate Change Effects | Flood Insurance | Insurance

The New Bucket List: NOAA’s Top Sites for Increased Nuisance Flooding

July 29, 2014 14:26
by J. Wylie Donald
"Seawater on the streets.”  One immediately knows that, notwithstanding the alliterative allure, something is not right.  And when one is in Annapolis, Maryland, and the Alex Haley Scuplture Group is literally reading in the waves, it is plain disconcerting.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration calls this “nuisance flooding,” and has just issued a report, Sea Level Rise and Nuisance Flood Frequency Changes around the United States, that takes sea ...

Climate Change Effects | Rising Sea Levels

Top 6 at 6: Highlights of the Top Climate Change Legal Stories in the First Half of 2014

July 7, 2014 09:10
by J. Wylie Donald
Our semi-annual look at the top climate change legal stories is keyed on EPA.  You hardly have to have been awake to be aware of the Clean Power Plan and UARG v. EPA.  But other things have stirred the pot as well:  three reports – two by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the other by Standard & Poor’s, and two climate change lawsuits – one by Illinois Farmers Insurance Company and the other by Biscayne Bay Water Keeper.    1....

Is RGGI in New Jersey's and Pennsylvania’s Future?

June 14, 2014 11:02
by John McAleese
With the release of EPA’s proposed regulation of CO2 from existing sources on June 2, there has been a lot of speculation that states will look to cap-and-trade schemes as a means of complying with EPA’s mandate that the states reduce CO2 emissions by 30% of 2005 levels by 2030. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) provides an existing market-based framework for states in the northeast, and maybe nationwide, to implement cap-and-trade on an interstate basis. RGGI is current...

Carbon Emissions | Greenhouse Gases | Legislation | Regulation

Negligent Operation of a Storm Sewer: A New Theory of Climate Change Liability

May 2, 2014 00:08
by J. Wylie Donald
We have written many times about the flawed design of the nation's flood maps in an era of climate change.  And spoken about the potential for claims against professionals for failure to consider the effects of climate change in what they do.  On April 16, 2014 those two ideas manifested in a 143 page lawsuit filed in Cook County, Illinois asserting that local governments are at fault for flood damage that insurance companies had to pay for.  Illinois Farmers Insurance Co. v. The ...

Climate Change Effects | Regulation

A Slow-Burning Fuse: Climate Change from the Risk Management Trenches

April 29, 2014 23:02
by J. Wylie Donald
This morning was the only professional session on climate change at the 2014 annual conference of RIMS, the Risk and Insurance Management Society, the preeminent risk management trade group in the country. Over 9,000 individuals from insurers, policyholders, brokers and vendors are in attendance.  In a different conference room, my partner made a presentation on "additional insured" coverage with 400+ in attendance.  About 30 showed up for climate change. The disinterest was not due t...

Climate Change | Climate Change Effects

Executory Forward SREC Contracts - What Exactly Does This Mean?

March 3, 2014 23:25
by J. Wylie Donald
What happens to the payment for a solar renewable energy credit (SREC) when the payor closes its doors?  Maryland citizens are finding out the hard way.  The promises made to some of them are turning up empty. Here are the details.  Greenspring Energy was a promising solar installation company.  As it describes itself:  "Greenspring Energy offers a unique combination of high-quality solar energy systems and the best energy saving products and services in the marketplace...

Renewable Energy | Solar Energy | Utilities

Report on Carbon Capture and Storage from the House

February 20, 2014 22:37
by J. Wylie Donald
Would an 80% premium steer you away from an energy source that was low-carbon, naturally abundant in the United States, not subject to the vicissitudes of weather, incapable of nuclear meltdown and accompanied by a well-established infrastructure?  Suppose the premium was only 40%? Hearings last week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation explored that topic in connection with the development of carbon capture and storage technolo...

Carbon Dioxide | Regulation | Utilities


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