Climate Change

Climate Change

RW&G's Climate Change Practice Group brings an interdisciplinary approach to the climate change issues confronting cities, counties, and private parties. Since the passage of AB 32, SB 97, and implementing regulations, many cities, and other public and private entities are confronting a myriad of global warming issues. The RW&G Climate Change Group brings together specialists from several departments and practice groups, including Public Law, Real Estate, Environmental, and Public Finance Law, to afford the best possible coordinated approach to specific issues in this rapidly changing field.

Sustainable Cities, Alternative Energy and Energy Efficiency Standards
RW&G Attorneys worked with the City of Palm Desert to draft and implement AB 811, a creative public funding statute that permits City residents to borrow funds for energy efficient homes secured by real property liens. This program makes solar panels (as an example) affordable to many residents who might otherwise lack the initial capital to invest in that alternative energy source. RW&G put together a team of lawyers from its Public Finance, Public Law, and Real Estate Departments to assist its client in implementing the first municipal program pursuant to AB 811. RW&G also represents other public entities, including Sonoma County, that are seeking to implement AB 811 programs.

RW&G Public Law Attorneys in its San Francisco office represent the newly formed Marin County Joint Powers Authority that seeks to supply county residents with electrical power provided from alternative energy sources.

CEQA and Climate Change Requirements
SB 97 and the CEQA lawsuit filed by Attorney General Brown against the County of San Bernardino highlight the necessity of evaluating the effect of climate change in local projects. RW&G combines its existing in-depth CEQA and NEPA review practitioners with real estate and environmental specialists to advise clients on these new requirements for discussion of global warming issues in EIRs and negative declarations. RW&G attorneys monitor the California Air Resources Board’s efforts to set qualitative or quantitative thresholds of significance for CEQA projects, and the Office of Planning and Research’s regulatory efforts to implement SB 97.

Municipalities and Climate Change
Cities and counties across California are considering climate change as they update general plans and zoning ordinances. SB 375 presents new opportunities and complexities in addressing regional planning. RW&G’s Public Law and CEQA experts work with California cities and other local agencies and districts to respond to demands for new green building ordinances, purchasing policies, and transportation fleet requirements to respond to climate change issues.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards:
AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, imposes new obligations on many groups, including local governments, to control greenhouse gas emissions. RW&G’s Environmental Department, together with Public Law and Real Estate Departments, assist clients in approaching the hard questions of calculating greenhouse gas emissions in connection with particular projects and comparing those emissions against State or regional benchmarks. RW&G continues to monitor the latest projections of required greenhouse gas reductions pursuant to AB 32 and the new initiatives announced by the California Air Resources Board to achieve the mandated reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

RW&G Climate Change Presentations and Downloads

Larry Wiener recently spoke at the December 2008 ABA teleconference on CEQA and climate change issues. RW&G attorneys David Snow and Norman Dupont spoke on CEQA and Climate Change issues to the California Chapter of the American Planners Association in September 2008. A copy of Mr. Snow’s powerpoint presentation is available here. Greg Stepanicich spoke at the City Attorney’s Association for San Diego County in the spring of 2008 on the Role of Cities in Addressing Climate Change. A copy of Mr. Stepanicich’s powerpoint presentation is available here.

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Related Practice Areas:

At RW&G we draw upon legal experience in multiple practice areas to build the best team for each of our clients. To learn more about related practice areas, please select from the links below: