Climate Change Regulations: Strategies for Reducing Corporate Risks and Liabilities

Prepare Now as Pressure Mounts for Tougher Federal Oversight

Western Climate Initiative Announced Recommendations for for Regional Cap and Trade Program

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Course Materials


On July 31, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania and New York City joined with environmental groups to file a notice of intent to sue the EPA in an effort to force the agency to establish standards to reduce GHGs from ships, aircraft and off-road vehicles in this country.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that the EPA has the authority to regulate emissions linked to climate change, but the agency has not yet acted.

State and local governments and environmental groups are pushing American companies to address global warming and greenhouse gas emission (GHG) issues through their own legislation, regulations and even lawsuits to hold companies accountable for emissions that contribute to climate change.

The federal government thus far has done little — are the actions by states and environmental groups a precursor to change by a new White House?

Listen as our authoritative panel of environmental attorneys reviews the current state of the law and regulation affecting climate change issues for U.S. companies. The panel will discuss strategies that businesses should consider implementing now to reduce the risks and liabilities related to GHGs.



  1. International and national context
    1. Kyoto Protocol: ratification and obligations
    2. U.S. refusal to ratify Kyoto Protocol
    3. U.S. actions
    4. Regulatory action
  2. Potential liability concerns for corporations
    1. D&O liability
    2. Shareholder initiatives
    3. SEC disclosures
    4. Insurance industry response
    5. Litigation against major GHG emitters
  3. Developing a response
    1. Responding to Climate Change
    2. New kinds of business risks
    3. New paradigms: Natural step, biomimicry, closed-loop, energy-IT swap
    4. Business implications of pending judicial and international regulatory initiatives
    5. Developing a plan to manage risk
  4. Business opportunities
    1. Renewable energy development
    2. Energy conservation
    3. Emissions controls and sequestration
    4. Clean Development Mechanism/Joint Implementation projects
  5. Anticipating likely federal actions
    1. Agency action
    2. Legislation
    3. Political outlook
    4. Transition issues should U.S. join Kyoto or post-Kyoto


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What is the current state of the state and federal regulatory environment concerning climate change?
  • What are the potential legal exposures for companies whose operations involve potentially harmful emissions — and how can those risks be mitigated?
  • What are the key elements of an effective response plan for businesses dealing with climate change risks and liabilities?


Michael B. Gerrard
Michael B. Gerrard
Center for Climate Change Law
Columbia Law School

He joined the Columbia law faculty in January and became Senior Counsel to Arnold & Porter, where he practiced...  |  Read More

Jeffrey A. Smith
Jeffrey A. Smith
Cravath Swaine & Moore

His practice encompasses environmental matters relating to financings, underwritings and mergers and acquisitions,...  |  Read More

Andrew McKeon
Andrew McKeon

He is the founder of carbonRational and one of its principals. He focuses on how sound management theory points towards...  |  Read More

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