February 19, 2020

Conference Materials

Climate Disruption and Decarbonization Conference

February 19, 2020
Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University
78 North Broadway, White Plains, New York 10603

Wednesday, February 19, 2020
Gerber Glass Law Library, Moot Court Room

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.

Registration Opens and Continental Breakfast

9:00 a.m.

Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Who Steers the Climate? The Powers, and Limits, of State Action on Climate Change

With the federal government’s recent aggressive rejection of federal climate regulatory action, state governments have emerged as potent and combative actors on U.S. climate change policy.  California, Washington, and the state members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the Transportation Climate Initiative have acted energetically to combat climate change effects, in contrast to Texas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia fighting just as vigorously during the Obama Administration against federal regulatory initiatives to use the federal Clean Air Act to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.  How far can states go with their own climate change policies, and what limits do federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution place on their powers?  This panel will explore key battles over this question, including the scope of Clean Air Act preemption of state climate actions such as California’s AB32 and New York’s Global Warming Solutions Act, the limits on states’ abilities to coordinate climate action with foreign governments, and federal limits on innovative market tools to limit climate change damages. Attendees will gain a better understanding of how states’ actions may positively or negatively intersect with federal regulatory actions.

Jonathan Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law; Director, Coleman P. Burke Center for Environmental Law, Case Western Reserve University School of Law, Cleveland, OH
John Nolon
, Distinguished Professor of Law, Elisabeth Haub School of Law, Pace University, White Plains, NY
Mary Ellen Ternes, Partner, Earth & Water Law, LLC, Oklahoma City, OK
Romany Webb, Senior Fellow, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, New York, NY

Addressing the Challenges Along the Shale Gas Supply Chain
Climate Balkanization: Dormant Commerce and the Limits of State Energy Policy
Low Carbon Land Use: Paris, Pittsburgh, and the IPCC
Navigating the Legal Landscape
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Carbon Dioxide
Submitting Your First GHG Report
Who Steers the Climate? Federal and State Issues in Electricity System Decarbonization

Slide Deck: Mary Ellen Ternes
Slide Deck: Romany Webb

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Catalyst Lawyering in the Anthropocene

In recent years, there has been an explosion of climate litigation. Lawyers in private practice as well as within government have taken to the courts, partly in response to regulatory inaction by states and the federal government, but also due to the real and escalating costs of climate impacts to their clients. The claims are varied, from regulatory suits to torts, nuisance, public and atmospheric trust claims as well as securities disclosures and fiduciary duty claims. The defendants also vary from state and federal governments to private industry. This panel will provide attendees with an overview of the types of claims initiated and the state of play of ongoing domestic climate litigation, including jurisdictional and procedural hurdles encountered. It will also provide key lessons learned from the original (and largely unsuccessful) wave of climate litigation and consider the potential significance of these suits in shaping our response to climate change.

Allan Kanner, Senior Partner, Kanner & Whitely LLC, New Orleans, LA
Julia Olson, Executive Director; Chief Legal Counsel, Our Children’s Trust, Eugene, OR
Hari Osofsky, Dean; Distinguished Professor of Law; Professor of International Affairs; Professor of Geography, Penn State Law and School of International Affairs, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
Matthew Pawa, Partner; Co-Chair of Environmental Practice Group, Hagens Berman, Boston, MA

Climate Change and Public Nuisance: Three Key Legal Issues
Judicial Climate Engagement
Juliana vs. the United States of America Case
Litigating Climate Change Issues Using RCRA and the CWA
The Regulatory Role of Climate Change Litigation

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Luncheon Keynote: The Biggest Barrier to Solving the Climate Crisis…And What Lawyers Can Do Now to Fix It 

Keynote Speaker
Roger Martella, former General Counsel, United States Environmental Protection Agency; co-chair, International Bar Association Task Force on Model Statute for Proceedings Challenging Government Failure to Act on Climate Change; Director and General Counsel, Global EHS, General Electric, Washington, DC

1:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Emerging Legal Issues in the Transition to Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is an increasingly significant source of electric power. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 28 percent of global electricity was generated from renewable energy sources in 2018 (most produced from hydropower, wind, and solar technologies). In April 2019, electricity generation from renewable energy exceeded coal-fired electric power in the U.S. for the first time, providing 23 percent of electricity. With close to 50 GW of coal-fired capacity retired since 2015, and seven states setting 100% renewable energy targets, the trend is clear, but the pathway to rapid decarbonization by 2030, and zero-carbon by 2050 -- the accelerated timetable urged by the IPCC -- still needs to be charted. Attendees will leave equipped on how to advise clients on issues related to renewable energy.

Michael Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice; Faculty Director, Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, New York, NY  
Alexandra Klass, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, MN
Uma Outka, Associate Dean, Faculty; William R. Scott Law Professor, The University of Kansas School of Law, Lawrence, KS
Richard Wallsgrove, Assistant Professor of Law, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI

Survey of 100% Renewable Energy Standards in the United States
Transmission, Distribution, and Storage: Grid Integration

2:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Local Law and Decarbonization

Local law is playing an increasingly important role in approaches to decarbonization. Decarbonization, in short, involves developing short-term policy options consistent with systemic changes to the energy economy. It can be achieved through a combination of reforms in energy development, use, policies, engineering practice, and law. This panel will address the role of local law in decarbonization, including carbon pricing and innovations in building standards; zoning; lighting, appliance and other electrical efficiency; education, transportation heating, ventilation and cooling; and parks and greenways. Along the way to decarbonization, these tools can advance economic, social, environmental, and national security benefits. Attendees will learn how these tools may best serve clients’ interests.

John Dernbach, Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability, Commonwealth Law School, Widener University, Harrisburg, PA
Jeff Gracer
, Principal, Sive Paget & Riesel, New York, NY
Kit Kennedy, Senior Director, Climate & Clean Energy Program, Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, NY
Danielle Spiegel-Feld, Executive Director, Guarini Center on Environmental, Energy, and Land Use Law, New York University School of Law, New York, NY

Climate Change Legislation in New York Talking Points
Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States
Local Law 97: Emissions Trading for Buildings?
The Dozen Types of Legal Tools in the Deep Decarbonization Toolbox
The Role of Energy Efficiency in Deep Decarbonization
Sustainable Development in Law Practice: A Lens for Addressing All Legal Problems

Slide Deck: Climate Change Legislation in New York

4:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Promoting Decarbonization: A Lawyer’s Personal and Professional Responsibility

This panel will explore the ethical challenges and responsibilities of attorneys advising clients on decarbonization and other climate-related issues. The panel will address the ethical responsibilities of attorneys representing major carbon contributors, including situations in which the client’s objectives may be contrary to the attorney's personal beliefs or views. It will also discuss the fulfillment of an attorney’s personal ethical responsibilities relating to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, including the attorney’s duty act to pursue the client's legitimate interests, within the bounds of the law. The application of various attorney ethics rules, including Model Rules 1.6, 1.13, 1.16, 2.1, 3.3, and 4.1 will be discussed. 

Victor Flatt, Dwight Olds Chair in Law, University of Houston Law Center, Houston, TX
James May, Distinguished Professor, Widener University Delaware Law School, Wilmington, DE
Margaret Peloso, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Washington, DC
Irma Russell, Edward A. Smith/ Missouri Chair in Law, the Constitution, and Society; Professor of Law, University of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO

Disclosing the Danger

Slide Deck: Promoting Decarbonization: A Lawyer's Personal and Professional Responsibility