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Climate Change Reports


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By Samuel P. Gunther, Richard H. Murray and Sheila A.S. Gunther (Nov. 13, 2014) The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board recently released its Sustainability Accounting Standard for the insurance industry, presenting five issues that may be material to insurers. While the SASB standards are designed to facilitate disclosure to investors of environmental, social and governance data, the authors of this article contend the SASB failed... 
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By Amy Hardberger (Nov. 10, 2014) Despite the massive amounts of water used in generating the nation's energy supply, and the large amounts of power used to process and move water, this symbiotic relationship “is not understood and almost wholly unregulated...”
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By Kenneth Hansen (Sept. 26, 2014) The Department of Energy has reopened the window for companies to apply for federal loan guarantees for renewable energy projects. An estimated $4 billion in financing will be made available...
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By Olivia Lucas, Del Ehrich and and Aaron Van Oort (Sept. 11, 2014) The Supreme Court's latest term featured decisions on two fundamental issues for Clean Air Act litigation: the limits of Environmental Protection Agency authority over states and the role of cooperative federalism in air pollution control. The authors see a court willing....
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By Jane Montgomery, Ashley Thompson, and Alex Garel-Frantzen (Aug. 1, 2014) The Methane Strategy announced by the Obama Administration in March as part of its Climate Action Plan calls for the reduction of methane emissions in key sectors, including the oil and gas industry. In April, five technical white papers were released discussing possible...
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By Maureen Gorsen and Geoff Rathgeber (June 26, 2014) Greenhouse gas reporting programs at the state and federal level are becoming increasingly important as their output can form the basis for future regulations. The authors look at two such programs in California and one from the EPA. Compliance is critical...
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By Thomas A. Lorenzen (June 16, 2014) There has been much heated debate in Congress, in the press and elsewhere about whether climate change is occurring, whether human activity plays any part in causing climate change if it is occurring, and whether the Environmental Protection Agency has any authority...
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By Gordon Smith (June 9, 2014) Wind energy opponents recently have begun to challenge federal approvals of wind energy projects on the basis that such approvals violate the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) because the projects will almost inevitably harm migratory birds. The body of case law interpreting these...
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By Samuel P. Gunther, Richard H. Murray and Sheila A. S. Gunther (March 18, 2014) Uncertainties about future costs of doing business caused by the proliferation of federal business regulations...
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By Eric L. Garner (Feb. 27, 2014) Climate change is essentially a water problem. Whether it is drought, flood, changing hydrology or rising sea levels, the impacts of climate change all involve water to some extent. Even those who deny that human activities cause climate change must acknowledge that long-term drought cycles in the past...
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By Ann Claassen and Eli Hopson (Feb. 25, 2014) Concerns about the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) have included an unrealistic cellulosic biofuel mandate, widespread fraud, belated rulemaking to set the annual standards, and a looming “blend wall” that could put obligated...
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By David Burton (Dec. 17, 2013) Climate change, energy independence, and health and welfare are policy rationales for alternate sources of electricity. Advances in technology have generated six...
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By Forrest Milder (Dec. 5, 2013) The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) made a significant change in the tax credit rules for projects that generate electricity from certain technologies, including wind, biomass, landfill gas, municipal solid waste, hydroelectric, marine and hydrokinetic energy and some geothermal. Formerly, these projects...
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By Gerald Bresnick and Bruce Piasecki (Dec. 2, 2013) Over 30 years of work with major U.S. and international companies has demonstrated that the consistency of business cycles extends well beyond the normal...
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By Jonathan Martel, Christopher Jaros and Allison Rumsey (Nov. 18, 2013) In September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard does not violate the dormant commerce clause...
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By Peter M. Morrisette, Ph.D., and Robert D. Infelise (Aug. 19, 2013) A California state court is preparing to resolve major issues in two cases addressing the state's auctions of carbon allowances. The court will have to determine whether the legislature...
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By Peter Trimarchi (Oct. 3, 2013) As large solar projects proliferate in the U.S., developers are increasingly looking to landfills and other brownfields as potential project sites. Despite their promise...

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By Richard Saines, Dirk Forrister and Daniel Firger (Nov. 6, 2013) On Oct. 2, the International Emissions Trading Association released a new template master trading contract for the California carbon market. By standardizing defined terms and incorporating common trading practices...
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By Maureen F. Gorsen (Sept. 24, 2013) The European Union's Emissions Trading System earlier this year was in trouble as the carbon price sank to record lows. A plan to defer the auction of...
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By Philip A. Wallach (Aug. 15, 2013) President Obama raised the hopes of environmental organizations and other advocates of action to address climate change when he outlined his Climate Action Plan in a June 25 speech at Georgetown University...
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By Bruce Pasfield and Elise Paeffgen (April 30, 2013) Over the last year, the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Criminal Enforcement have been paying close...
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By Claudia O’Brien, Miles Farmer, Michael Dreibelbis, & C. Genevieve Jenkins (May 6, 2013) As the scientific community has come to a consensus that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are...
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By Len C. Rodman (7/30/13; 4 pages) Developments in domestic energy production have forced a reappraisal of conventional wisdom and strategies. Just a few years ago...
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Insurers' potential liability for the costs of defending and indemnifying their policyholders for harm related to climate change is the least recognized future threat to insurer viability...
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Feed-in tariffs are the most frequently used instrument in EU member states to stimulate development of the renewable energy industry. Recent changes to the tariffs introduced in some countries are sending a signal to the industry...
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By Kaitlin Gregg (March 26, 2013) On Feb. 7, 2013, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a regional program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in nine Northeastern...
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By Byron F. Taylor and Jason E. James (March 19, 2013) After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that greenhouse gases qualify as an “air pollutant” under the Clean Air Act, the U.S....
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By David J. Levine and Pamela D. Walther (February 26, 2013) A number of recent trade actions involving renewable energy, particularly in the solar sector, are complicating the business landscape...
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By Christopher E. Appel, Shook Hardy & Bacon (November 19, 2012) Lawsuits seeking to hold American businesses liable for weather-related injuries allegedly made worse by global climate change...
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By Mary Ann Mullin and Daniel J. Deeb (October 16, 2012) With release of its revised Green Guides on Oct. 1, the Federal Trade Commission raised the bar for how marketers can defend claims of...
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By John C. Dernbach (October 5, 2012) Reporting on the Rio+20 conference has generally followed two lines: the conference was essentially a failure because of its tepid official response to the...
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By R. Morgan Gilhuly and Christopher Jensen (August 16, 2012) Federal rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions are likely here to stay. That, the authors of this article say, is the unambiguous...
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By Eileen D. Millett (June 20, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas regulatory scheme could be the most far-reaching regulatory program ever devised by a federal agency....
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By J. Wylie Donald (June 19, 2012) Do real estate brokers, lenders, or others involved in coastal real estate transactions have a duty to warn purchasers or lessees of the danger to their...
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By Christina M. Carroll and Christopher Baker (May 14, 2012) On a petition for rehearing, the Supreme Court of Virginia once again held that an insurer has no duty to defend a utility company...
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By Cindy Wallis-Lage, Dean Oskvig, and Martin Travers (May 1, 2012) The once cutting-edge infrastructure that allowed the United States to harness its productive capacity and dominate the 20th...
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By David Blake, Christa Dommers, and Michael Bauer (April 4, 2012) Since the first Earth Day in 1970, Americans have become more aware of their impact on the environment. In more recent years, as...
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By Peter Hsiao, David Gold,Miles Imwalle, and Jennifer Jeffers (March 12, 2012) Environmental justice (EJ) has long been an area of significant policy interest in California. More recently, new...
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By Eric M. Jamison and Bruce Dale (February 27, 2012) Energy-related issues are at the forefront of U.S. policy initiatives, industry efforts, and university research. Of particular concern are...
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By John Gimigliano, Scott Vance, Katherine Breaks, and Hannah Burke Hawkins (December 27, 2011) The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides a grant to developers of renewable...
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California’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade regulations are set to take effect Jan. 1, following the Dec. 13 approval by the state’s Office of Administrative Law. The authors highlight key elements of the program, including an increase in the trading frequency, volume, and price of California compliance instruments and coverage of emissions associated with imported energy sold in the state. The authors also review several outstanding issues with the California program relative to other cap-and-trade schemes, including buyer liability for invalidated offsets, auction purchase limits, and potential legal challenges.
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As commercial real estate markets recover from the ongoing recession, green building construction, retrofits, and renovations likely will be a major factor over the next decade, at least in certain asset classes. These projects will pose significant challenges and opportunities for real estate development, operations, and management.

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For a project to qualify for funding through the federal renewable energy grant program, construction must begin before the end of 2011. This article provides background information and discusses some steps taxpayers must take before the end of the calendar year to preserve their eligibility for the grant program.

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California's Renewable Energy Resources Act was signed into law in April, updating the state's renewable portfolio standard to require sellers of electricity to obtain 33 percent of their annual retail sales from renewable sources by 2020. The authors review the requirements of the updated standard, the first state RPS to exceed 30 percent; implications for developers of renewable energy; and the challenges of a program that attempts to balance cost containment and aggressive renewable targets.
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California has one of the most aggressive targets for promoting renewable energy of any state in the nation, but impediments remain if the state wants to fulfill its goal of being a leader in clean energy development. The authors contend that to avoid falling prey to Murphy's Law when it comes to renewable energy, the state needs to streamline and simplify the project review process, enact limited environmental review exemptions for clean and renewable power projects, and take other steps to ensure projects move more quickly from the drawing board to construction.
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This article examines the issue of climate change policy and international trade law. While conventional wisdom may have predicted that conflicts in trade law would emerge through climate-related protectionist measures, such as carbon tariffs on imports from countries with less stringent controls on greenhouse gas emissions, the authors point out that government support for climate-friendly technologies has in fact emerged as the primary battleground. The authors examine two recent disputes—between the United States and China and between Japan and Canada—over green subsidies and their implications for the future of clean energy. 

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In the absence of legislative action on climate change by the federal government and many states, a number of proponents of reducing greenhouse gas emissions have turned to the courts. In the case of American Electric Power Co. v. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments about whether common law nuisance claims may be brought against power companies for their greenhouse gas emissions. The author discusses oral arguments in the case and argues that, however the court may rule, the decision could be one of the most important in the field of environmental law because it touches on so  many legal areas. In addition, the author says the court's ruling in AEP could have significant effects on several other climate change-related cases pending in federal courts.

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CCSR01 no 6444 25.00 PDF Description by Charles H. Haake and Karyn B. Marsh (May 2009; 7 pages) Carbon capture and storage using geologic sequestration will never become a reality without early federal R&D investment, a uniform regulatory framework, and a way to address liabilities, the authors say. They suggest a model similar to the Atomic Energy Damage Act's liability cap could address some of the liability issues.

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CCSR01 no 3597 25.00 PDF Description by Kipp A. Coddington, David M. Meezan, and Kristin Holloway Jones (September 2007; 4 pages) One of the biggest impediments to a carbon dioxide capture and storage industry is not technical but legal —  managing liabilities associated with the long-term geologic storage of carbon dioxide in reservoirs, particularly deep saline. No federal or state regulatory regime is in place for capture and storage.

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CCSR01 no 3593 25.00 PDF Description by Paul Connor (December 2007; 4 pages) This article looks at the attention sustainability and related concepts are receiving at all levels of government in the United States and asks whether sustainability should replace the current goals of environmental programs to protect human health and the environment.

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CCSR01 no 6066 25.00 PDF Description by Roger Martella and Matthew Paulson (March 2009; 11 pages) Section 115 of the Clean Air Act, explicitly crafted to address international air pollution, may offer EPA the best way to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, the authors say. Section 115 may also avoid unintended regulatory consequences such as New Source Review and Title V permitting requirements.

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CCSR01 no 11109 25.00 PDF Description by Robert B. McKinstry Jr., Brendan K. Collins, and Jennifer E. Drust (July 2010; 13 pages) The authors say regulation of greenhouse gas emissions will occur regardless of whether Congress acts, and EPA actions, CEQ and SEC guidance, state efforts, and potential legal liabilities will put a price on carbon emissions, creating risks and opportunities that should play a part in corporate and governmental planning.

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CCSR01 no 11328 25.00 PDF Description by David L. Huard (September 2010; 6 pages) The author looks at efforts to promote renewable energy in California, Germany, and elsewhere and says incentives for conservation, smart grid technology and renewable energy development must be presented in concert with policies to nudge rather than shove consumers to adopt alternative energy sources.

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CCSR01 no 9940 25.00 PDF Description by David J. Freeman and Jesse Hiney (March 2010; 5 pages) This article discusses New York City's new green-building laws, which will require benchmarking of existing buildings, energy audits, improved building maintenance, and lighting as well as public disclosure of energy and water use.

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CCSR01 no 13703 25.00 PDF Description By Mark J. Bennett, David J. Freeman, and Anthony J. Buonicore (April 2011; 12 pages) This article reviews the role energy efficiency will play in the renewable energy area driven by emerging energy disclosure and labeling laws and addresses a new ASTM standard designed to facilitate the use of building energy-use information in regulatory compliance.

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CCSR01 no 13070 25.00 Print Description By Jonathan S. Martel and Christopher A. Jaros (February 2011; 8 pages) The authors review major developments in Clean Air Act regulations and litigation in 2010, including regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and outline how the different rules fit together.

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CCSR01 no 6404 25.00 PDF Description by Chelsea Holloway (May 2009; 13 pages) In this article, the author looks at climate change legislation and litigation in California that affect the way it views environmental regulation as well as land use and speculates about further legal challenges and additional regulations and guidelines that may be established.

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CCSR01 no 4417 25.00 PDF Description by Alec C. Zacaroli and Peter C. Condron (June 2008; 13 pages) New regulations on greenhouse gas emissions are inevitable at all levels, with the greatest potential coming from existing laws, particularly the Clean Air Act, the authors say. The suggest that companies develop comprehensive climate change strategies.

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CCSR01 no 8228 25.00 PDF Description by Daniel M. Kreeger (October 2009; 7 pages) The author examines the risks and opportunities related to climate change for businesses, nonprofits, and governmental organizations, explores the emerging role of the climate change officer, and says an empowered climate change leadership function is needed.

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CCSR01 no 8108 25.00 PDF Description by Mark J. Bennett and Douglas J. Feichtner (October 2009; 7 pages) The authors look at  trends in climate change and sustainability and their impacts on environmental due diligence and say quantifying a building's energy and sustainability condition, performance, and potential is being incorporated into routine commercial real estate transactions.

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CCSR01 no 11224 25.00 PDF Description by Michael J. Zimmer and Jennifer Rohleder (August 2010; 5 pages) The authors offer advice on how parties engaged in green building contracts can guard against unforeseen and expensive outcomes and look at the risks associated with certain techniques and materials that remain fairly new in the commercial real estate sector.

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CCSR01 no 11108 25.00 PDF Description by Yerzhan Yessimkhanov (August 2010; 6 pages) The author looks at what Kazakhstan will have to do to participate in the market-based mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, including emissions trading and incentives for foreign investment in emission-reduction projects in the nation. 

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CCSR01 no 6998 25.00 PDF Description by Richard G. Stoll (July 2009; 11 pages) The author identifies 31 new regulations that EPA would have to issue under legislation (H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009) approved by the House of Representatives in June 2009.

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CCSR01 no 3598 25.00 PDF Description by Stephen C. Jones and Paul R. McIntyre (July 2007; 9 pages) Discourse on global warming has shifted to the question of how to address it. The authors say regional, state, and local governments are filling the vacuum left by the lack of action by the federal government.

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CCSR01 no 3594 25.00 PDF Description by G. Tracy Mehan III (December 2007; 7 pages) The author says management of water resources is already affected by climate change, expanding the analysis within the industry and at EPA of a truly sustainable water system or utility.

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CCSR01 no 3615 25.00 PDF Description by Tom Mounteer, Kevin Welsh, Michael Lukens, and Jeff Allmon (March 2008; 25 pages) The authors review climate change developments in 2007 that those preparing SEC disclosure forms will want to consider. They say that not since superfund has there has been so much focus on securities disclosure of environmental issues.

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CCSR01 no 3599 25.00 PDF Description by Todd O. Maiden and Eric M. McLaughlin (April 2007; 11 pages) This article, written before the Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA, looks at climate change cases filed in U.S. courts, summarizes common legal challenges faced by litigants, and recognizes trends that have developed.

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CCSR01 no 3595 25.00 PDF Description by Jonathan S. Martel (November 2007; 11 pages) The Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts v. EPA presents the agency's air program personnel with new, enormously consequential legal and policy questions, the author says.

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CCSR01 no 3596 25.00 PDF Description by Randall Bell (October 2007; 6 pages) The author says global climate change has become less of a theoretical debate and more of a reality in the minds of most Americans, noting this already has resulted in significant real estate economic issues.

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CCSR01 no 6907 25.00 PDF Description by Richard B. Herzog (June 2009; 9 pages) The author looks at CBO findings that a carbon tax would be less costly than cap-and-trade in achieving greenhouse gas reductions and says a widened debate could lead to the incorporation of additional cost-reducing features into cap-and-trade legislation.

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CCSR01 no 3592 25.00 PDF Description by Robert L. Graham, Edward F. Malone, and Michael Strong (February 2008; 5 pages) Although it will probably be years before a national cap-and-trade program is up and running, the authors say legislation pending in Congress offer significant opportunities for companies to monetize early greenhouse gas reductions or innovation.

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CCSR01 no 12714 25.00 Print Description By Mitchell B. Menzer and Ryan Trahan (January 2011; 8 pages) California's Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act (S.B. 375) sets ambitious greenhouse gas emissions targets. The authors discuss the process of developing sustainable community strategies under the act and the streamlining of environmental reviews for qualifying projects.

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CCSR01 no 11970 25.00 Print Description by Peter Hsiao, William M. Sloan, and Michael J. Steel (November 2010; 3 pages) The authors describe California's proposed cap-and-trade program and analyze its key elements. They say California's proposal “has the ambition to lead towards a national and international cap-and-trade program.”

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CCSR01 no 3894 25.00 PDF Description by Richard O. Faulk and John S. Gray (May 2008; 5 pages) There may be no practical way to administer the Endangered Species Act to address the international habitats and foreign relations problems raised by climate change, the authors say.

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CCSR01 no 6065 25.00 PDF Description by Richard O. Faulk and John S. Gray (March 2009; 17 pages) A look by lawyers at advising and representing clients on the issue of climate change.