Climate Change Blog | McCarter & English

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

On Inaugurations and Liberal Catechisms: Climate Change Makes It Back On the National Agenda

January 23, 2013 21:44
by J. Wylie Donald
Who knew that civil rights started with an "S" as in Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall? In case you missed it Monday, President Obama laid out an ambitious agenda as he began his second term and delivered his second inaugural address.  Besides mentioning these turning points in the nation's march to equality, he also carried the torch for a strong response to climate change. The President did not mince words: We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of...

Climate Change

Delaware Advisory Committee Suggests Mandatory Disclosure of Rising Sea Levels in Real Estate Contracts

January 14, 2013 14:09
by J. Wylie Donald
If the State dropped a notice in the mail advising you that 10% of your property was going to be condemned without compensation, you would immediately hire a lawyer, seek out the press and raise holy **** about the trampling of individual rights, justice and the Constitution. That is the situation in which Delaware contemplates finding itself, but the Constitution is no salve.  Rising sea levels of between 0.5 and 1.5 meters are predicted to inundate between 8% and 11% of the state's land area by 2100. Delaware, however, is not one to tear its clothes and beat its chest in lamentation; i...

Climate Change | Climate Change Effects | Regulation | Rising Sea Levels

Top 6 at 12: Highlights of the Top Climate Change Stories in the Second Half of 2012

December 31, 2012 08:59
by J. Wylie Donald
2012 has drawn to a close.  We chronicle here six of the most significant stories on the climate change front in the last six months.  For those looking for hope that government is taking action to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, the focus is on California, where cap-and-trade stepped into reality with California's first emissions auction.  Nationally and internationally regulation is at a standstill or going backward.  In the courts, the climate change liability plaintiffs were pounded again as the Ninth Circuit confirmed the dismissal of Native Village of Kiva...

Carbon Emissions | Climate Change | Climate Change Litigation | Flood Insurance | Rising Sea Levels | Weather | Year in Review

Even if You Can't Insure the End of Days, You Can Insure Some of the Effects of Climate Change

December 21, 2012 21:04
by J. Wylie Donald
Today is the day the world ended.  But it didn’t.  The spin put by some on the Mayan calendar didn’t pan out and the world continued.  Here in Baltimore we didn’t buy into the predictions, but just in case, we went looking for some end-of-the world insurance policies.  We didn’t come up with anything.  But while we were looking we turned up quite a bit of coverage for the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it.  Some call it climate change insurance; most just recognize it as an old friend taking on a few new attributes to meet the needs of the pre...

Climate Change | Green Buildings | Greenhouse Gases | Weather

No En Banc Appeal in Kivalina; So What's Next for Climate Change LItigation?

December 8, 2012 19:18
by J. Wylie Donald
When we discuss climate change litigation with colleagues or acquaintances unfamiliar with it, they are always a little incredulous.  “The plaintiffs allege what?  How could you prove that?  There's no way they can win.”  Courts, however, cannot rule from their impressions; instead, they must parse arguments and facts and explicate the legal reasoning that supports shutting climate change cases out of the courtroom.  We have addressed in this blog many of those decisions as the climate change cases have wound their way up the appellate ladder.  That st...

Carbon Emissions | Climate Change Litigation | Insurance

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