Climate Change Blog | McCarter & English

Climate Change Legal Work: Changing the Paradigm Does Not Come Easily

May 8, 2013 05:18
by J. Wylie Donald
I learned the other day that for $3995 I can download nearly a 1000 page report on the climate change industry.  The Ah Hah moment was at hand.  The President’s promise at his inauguration and then again at the State of the Union was upon us.  Here it would be revealed what the small group of lawyers focused on climate change law were looking for:  where is the legal work?  But I am a cautious consumer.  The publisher anticipated my skepticism and offered the table of contents for my review for free.  I didn’t even have to give my email address.&n...

Carbon Dioxide | Climate Change | Climate Change Effects | Insurance | Rising Sea Levels

Climate Change Legal Theories: The Atmospheric Public Trust Doctrine Moves Another Step Forward

April 29, 2013 05:49
by J. Wylie Donald
One of the shibboleths of those following climate change litigation is the idea that new legal theories will be surfaced, fired in the furnace of litigation and then forged as the vehicle for addressing climate change in the courts.  The public trust doctrine is being hammered out in that direction. Last month in Butler v. Brewer an appellate panel in Arizona considered a claim based on the theory that the atmosphere is subject to the public trust doctrine and that, therefore, the State of Arizona was obligated to take steps to address greehnouse gases and combat climate change.  Al...

Carbon Dioxide | Climate Change Litigation | Greenhouse Gases | Legislation

Who Says Catastrophe Bond Payouts Are Not Correlated With the Stock Market?

March 27, 2013 05:54
by J. Wylie Donald
Here is some food for thought:  Catastrophe bond payouts are correlated with climate change.  Climate change is correlated with stock market returns.  Therefore catastrophe bond payouts are correlated with the stock market.   See Aristotle, Prior Analytics.  We did not study philosophy but Aristotle’s syllogism seems difficult to refute. The March 2013 Best’s Review reports on investors’ current heightened interest in catastrophe bonds; demand in 2012 was up 37% over the previous year and was the second highest level ever.  See Ron Panko, B...

Climate Change | Climate Change Effects | Insurance | Weather

Native Village of Kivalina Files Its Petition for Certiorari - A Five-Year Climate Change Litigation Marathon That Has Yet to Start

March 15, 2013 05:54
by J. Wylie Donald
One day short of five years since the case was originally filed, on February 25, 2013 the plaintiffs in Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corp. attempt once more to get out of the starting blocks, this time with a petition for certiorari  to the United States Supreme Court.  This follows dismissal by the Northern District of California in 2009, affirmance of the dismissal by the Ninth Circuit last September, and denial of a petition for rehearing en banc in November.   To be trite, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  The response, if any, is due on April ...

Climate Change Litigation | Greenhouse Gases | Sustainability

Act II at the Obama EPA: Gina McCarthy (is predicted) To Take the Helm

February 28, 2013 21:43
by J. Wylie Donald
The President gave an indication of his environmental focus in his inaugural address, and then again in his state of the union speech. The focus would be on climate change.  Central to that focus would be the EPA Adminstrator, but that would not be Lisa Jackson who tendered her resignation at the end of 2012.  If Washington gossip is any guide, Ms. Jackson's replacement will be Gina McCarthy, the current head of EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. We went looking to see if we could draw a bead on where Ms. McCarthy might lead EPA.  We found a recent speech and it was directly o...

Carbon Emissions | Climate Change | Regulation | Renewable Energy | Solar Energy

In Response to Sea Level Rising At Double the Global Rate, Delaware Debates Whether to Accommodate, Avoid, Protect or Retreat

February 20, 2013 14:07
by J. Wylie Donald
On February 19, 2013, the Delaware Sea Level Rise Advisory Committee ("DSLRAC") held the second of three "public engagement sessions" to solicit public comment on a list of 61 "Options for Preparing Delaware for Sea Level Rise". These public engagement sessions are part of the second phase -- focusing on adapting to sea level rise -- of the DSLRAC's mission. The first phase focused on the preparation of a comprehensive assessment of Delaware's vulnerabilities to sea level rise. The Vulnerability Assessment modeled the effects of three potential sea level increases by the end of the ...

Climate Change | Climate Change Effects | Insurance | Rising Sea Levels

A Theory of a Moveable Parcel is Not the Legal Solution to Rising Sea Levels and Beach Front Ownership

February 11, 2013 20:55
by J. Wylie Donald
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court weighed in on an ugly property rights case last Friday concerning some beautiful beachfront on Martha’s Vineyard.  In White v. Hartigan, SJC 11072 (Feb. 8, 2013), the Court considered whether a deed conveying “the beach” in 1841 sufficed to give the plaintiffs title to “the beach” in 2004, notwithstanding that in the intervening century and a half the original beach had vanished beneath the waves.  The Court had little difficulty concluding that, absent an express grant of a moveable parcel, no moveable parce...

Climate Change Effects | Rising Sea Levels

Offshore Wind: Will New Jersey Take the Opportunity to Lead?

February 7, 2013 13:30
Is New Jersey placing the cart before the horse when it comes to the establishment of rules regulating the State’s Offshore Renewable Energy Certificates?  Instead of spending time analyzing how to mitigate the risks of possible state appropriation of OREC funds, let’s build a project already! In August of 2010, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act to “spur economic growth in the Garden State through the development of renewable energy resources and the creation of green jobs.”The legislation, which established the c...

Climate Change | Wind Energy

Wind Projects: Bald Eagles Don't Surf

February 5, 2013 20:57
by J. Wylie Donald
One would think that preliminary estimates of bird fatalities at a proposed 78 MW wind farm in southeastern Minnesota were hardly news.  After all, there are over 60,000 MW of wind energy installed in the United States.  But last Friday the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece by Robert Bryce, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Instittue, which used that preliminary estimate to rip into the project, New Era Wind, and wind energy in general, accusing the Fish & Wildlife Service of using a “double standard ... when it comes to renewable energy.”  The...

Renewable Energy | Wind Energy

Call for Comments on the Third National Climate Assessment

February 1, 2013 21:46
by J. Wylie Donald
The draft “National Assessment of Supply Chain and Other Developing Risks” was issued just last month. It outlined increasing threats to infrastructure, food and water supplies, air quality, national security, public health and public safety, and ecosystems. It also discussed measures to reduce those risks and to address them. In short, the Assessment should be required reading for everyone involved in planning a company's response to the things that could destroy the company. Only it won't be because of one small detail. That title, the "National Assessment of Supply Chain etc.," ...

Climate Change | Climate Change Effects | Rising Sea Levels | Weather

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