Climate/Carbon Advisory. Our Climate Change/Carbon Management Group provides strategic advice and transactional support to assist companies in:
- evaluating and recommending emissions-reduction measures that minimize business losses and address compliance with current and/or potential state and federal requirements;
- developing, investing in and trading credits relating to carbon and greenhouse gas emissions offset opportunities in regulated and voluntary emission reduction markets;
- protecting the intellectual property behind new technologies designed to reduce carbon dioxide emissions;
- counseling developers of real property on housing, industrial, retail and office developments on avoiding and mitigating GHG emission impacts under CEQA and NEPA;
- helping energy producers expand their renewable-energy portfolios through the acquisition and development of hydroelectric, wind and nuclear power;
- identifying business opportunities resulting from climate change law, such as low-carbon technologies, energy efficiency, green buildings, sustainable business practices and biofuels;
- facilitating the permitting of infrastructure projects that need to take into account greenhouse gas issues, including mitigation and offsets;
- engaging in and influencing the policy debate on development of these regulations; and
- anticipating future operational, compliance and liability issues implicit in measuring, reducing, offsetting and trading carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions.
Climate Change Litigation. Should litigation become necessary, we have substantial experience arguing issues of preemption, justiciability, nuisance and other theories that are relevant to claims being pursued or contemplated by citizens groups and public prosecutors.
Carbon Transactions. Alston & Bird attorneys have substantial experience in providing strategic advice concerning the monetization of energy assets, structuring complex carbon and negotiating carbon management transactions under the Kyoto Protocol and the European Trading System (ETS), as well as the emerging U.S. state and regional cap-and-trade GHG emissions reduction programs.
We regularly advise on the contractual issues related to the purchase, sale, banking, trading, creation and validation of GHG and other emissions credits in domestic and international forums, under both voluntary and mandatory regulatory systems. We can assist purchasers of voluntary carbon offset credits to help manage the risks (reputational, brand and transactional) associated with the voluntary carbon market. Our advice has encompassed both the details of purchase and sale agreements, as well as novel issues associated with the taxation, accounting and securities law compliance issues associated with GHG trading and credits.
We represent private equity investors, public and private companies, project developers, banks and companies of all types, including emerging technologies, logistics, telecommunications, travel and energy in the oil, gas, coal, waste-to-energy, biofuel, ethanol, wind and solar sectors. Our practice includes energy and infrastructure project development and financing, as well as asset acquisitions and divestitures in energy and infrastructure facilities.
California. The firm represents clients in the ongoing rulemaking proceedings and compliance counseling under AB 32, building on our strong presence in California and our long experience with regulatory initiatives under the California Air Resources Board.
We provide comprehensive strategic business planning, identifying all facilities and operations that could be subject to emission reduction obligations, as well as facilities and operations that could generate emissions trading opportunities. We analyze scenarios for potential future state, federal and international climate change policies and resulting impacts on clients. We help clients build their own capacity in this area by designing and providing training on climate policies and emissions trading for company employees, boards of directors and others.
We assist clients in engaging in the policy process, developing testimony, drafting submissions and analyzing legislative proposals. We work with clients on the development of strategies for public advocacy on the climate change issue, including reaching out to key non-governmental organizations, policymakers and other stakeholders. We also provide advice to clients on developing and implementing programs to inventory their GHG emissions and adopt measures that reduce their “carbon footprints” consistent with established protocols and standards.
Max Williamson is profiled as one of the leading environmental lawyers in the District of Columbia and one of the leading Climate Change lawyers in the United States in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business (2010/2011).