Climate Change Blog | McCarter & English

Presidential Candidates and Climate Change Policy

November 4, 2008 02:38
By Rebecca Brenia, McCarter & English, Hartford   No matter the outcome, today’s election is likely to bring about a dramatic shift in climate change policy within the federal executive branch.  Senators John McCain and Barack Obama both support policies to bring about a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the coming decades.  The candidates’ positions with respect to climate change are quite similar, with different tactical approaches in certain areas.   The candidates both support a mandatory, economy-wide cap-and-trade program to dramatically r...


NJ's New Energy Master Plan Sets Stage for Increased Renewables

October 23, 2008 06:06
By Grace Kurdian McCarter & English, New York Office   While states like New Jersey face worsening economic conditions and some commentators have been calling into question government’s continuing support for renewable energy and commitments to fight climate change, NJ Governor Corzine on October 22, 2008 released NJ’s long-awaited Energy Master Plan (“EMP”) that pledges the state’s commitment to these priorities and others designed to increase energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption. Following two years of working group, stakeholder, and public meetings and opportunities ...


RGGI prepares for next allowance auction; all 10 states to participate

October 20, 2008 02:49
By Rebecca Brenia McCarter & English, Hartford Office   After a robust introductory auction of carbon dioxide emission allowances that raised more than $38 million for participating states, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) has opened the bidding process for a second auction to be held on December 17, 2008.  All ten RGGI states will participate, with auction proceeds to be used by the states for investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy and consumer energy efficiency programs in the manner specified by the applicable state laws.  The auction is open t...


Federal Income Tax Credits Finally Extended for Alternative Energy

October 4, 2008 09:47
By Frances BeckleyMcCarter & English, Philadelphia Waiting until the eleventh hour, on October 3, 2008, Congress and President Bush finally extended both the credit for electricity produced from renewable resources (Internal Revenue Code Section (“Section”) 45) and the credit for investment in certain alternative energy properties (Section 48).  Both credits were set to expire on December 31, 2008.  Extending those credits was part of an energy act (Energy Improvement and Extension Act of 2008) included in a comprehensive bill that also contains acts to bailout the financia...


NJ Adopts Bill exempting renewable energy systems from state tax

October 3, 2008 07:43
By Frances Beckley, Philadelphia Office, McCarter & English On October 1, 2008, New Jersey Governor Corzine signed into law a provision that exempts the value of renewable energy systems from real property tax in New Jersey. A renewable energy system is "any equipment . . . that produces renewable energy onsite to provide all or a portion of the electrical, heating, cooling, or general energy needs of that building." Renewable energy is defined to include 1) electricity from solar technologies, photovoltaic technologies, wind energy, fuel cells, geothermal technologies, wave or tidal ac...


$13.5 Million for the Massachusetts Green Communities Act

October 2, 2008 10:16
by J. Wylie Donald
  The New Massachusetts Green Communities Act by Leigh Gilligan, Esq. The blogosphere has been filled with commentary on RGGI’s auction of the first U.S. greenhouse gas allowances - the first in the nation - on September 25.  Unsurprisingly, state authorities are delighted.  Today Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Laurie Burt noted the robust reception of the first auction of CO2 allowances.  About 12.5 million allowances were available; they sold at $3.07 each.  Massachusetts received $13.5 million from this effort; all of whic...


Pickens Energy Plan Presented in New York

September 9, 2008 16:22
NEW YORK -- Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens presented his renewable and clean energy plan Tuesday, arguing that while he agrees with Al Gore that climate change is a problem, addressing climate change has to be second to achieving American independence from foreign oil. Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s Viewpoints Executive Breakfast Series Tuesday with a gathering of elite investors, investment bankers and prominent New York business people, Pickens described his plan for massive investments in wind energy resources from a stretch of the U.S. from the Dakotas to Texas and major deployments...


Xcel and NY AG settle climate change securities disclosure issues

August 28, 2008 07:18
Xcel Energy, the nation’s fifth largest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs), signed an agreement this week with New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo that requires the company to disclose the financial risks that climate change poses to its investors. The agreement, called an "Assurance of Discontinuance Pursuant to Executive Law § 63(15) (the "Agreement")," follows Cuomo’s issuance of subpoenas to various energy companies in September, 2007, in which New York sought greater investor disclosure of climate change risks. The subpoenas were issued pursuant to New York State’s Martin Act, a ...



August 19, 2008 17:20
by J. Wylie Donald
One could hardly ask for a more serendipitously named case if one wanted to write about insurance coverage for a substance emitted into the atmosphere than Sealed Air v. Royal Indemnity Co., but such an appellation was delivered by the New Jersey Appellate Division last Friday.  The case addresses Directors & Officers (D&O) liability coverage for alleged fraudulent statements in SEC disclosures concerning alleged pollution.  Before addressing the case, however, we need to take a short detour into the world of climate change disclosure. We read today in the chemical industry ...


Insurance Question: Is my Windmill Covered?

July 30, 2008 17:18
by J. Wylie Donald
Our neighboring county just revised their zoning ordinance forbidding auxiliary structures higher than 15 feet. The revision permits structures up to 150 feet. The need: windmills. What if we got one? What about insurance? My first step was to consider the risks and losses I would need to protect against: property loss (it falls down), liability (it falls down on somebody) and business interruption. (I can no longer export power). As it turns out, only the third is of any real interest, but in so being it impacts the other two. If you pull out your homeowners' policy, it will likely cover Othe...



The business case for the development of renewable energy projects, from biodiesel and ethanol to wind, solar, and distributed generation, is more compelling than ever as tax and regulatory incentives combine to attract investments. Emerging issues in environmental law and increasingly recognized principles of corporate social responsibility are encouraging public companies to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions, install clean energy alternatives, and invest overseas in projects under the Kyoto Protocol to respond to climate change concerns.

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