Carbon Takes Center Stage: How to Prepare your Company for Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulation


Clean Technology and Environmental Permitting + Regulation

San Francisco, CA and Palo Alto, CA

Timothy J. HarrisSusan H. Mac CormacTessa J. Schwartz, and Michael Jacob Steel

Tessa J. SchwartzTimothy J. HarrisSusan H. Mac Cormac, and Michael Jacob Steel

Speaking Engagement

National regulation of carbon in the United States is eminent. A cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions moved from theoretical public policy to political reality with the release of the draft American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) in March of this year. The ACC SFBA Cleantech Committee is pleased to announce its second round of seminars in San Francisco and Palo Alto hosted by Morrison & Foerster's Cleantech Group. This event will bring together a panel of legal experts to provide ACC members with a timely and unique look into what promises to be "landmark" state and federal climate change legislation. The panel will specifically advise on how corporate counsel should prepare for carbon reduction actions that include: direct regulations, alternative compliance mechanisms, monetary and non-monetary incentives, voluntary actions, and market-based mechanisms.

1. Legislative Framework. The panel will first assess federal climate legislation focusing on the ambitious schedule for action proposed in the draft ACES to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 13,000 electric utility plants, petroleum refineries, large manufacturing plants, and other facilities that collectively are responsible for 85% of U.S. global warming emissions. In addition, the panel will discuss the implications of the state and regional regulatory framework already in place to reduce carbon emissions, including: (i) AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (plan administered by California Air Resources Board (CARB) to reduce emissions in California to 1990 levels by 2010); and (ii) the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) adopted by ten north-eastern states to cut emissions from power plants by 10% between 2009 and 2018. The experts will examine how carbon reduction obligations under the developing state and regional frameworks will differ from the federal climate legislation and whether a national cap and trade program will likely preempt or coexist with preexisting state and regional schemes to regulate carbon emissions.

2. Compliance. Regardless of the exact form that government regulation will take, it is clear that in-house counsel need to be ready. The panel will explain the steps that companies within the regulated industry sectors need to take to prepare for the coming caps on GHG emissions. They will attempt to answer the “who will be next” question -- as both Congress and the states look beyond the heavy emitters in the years to come. And the panel will review how companies outside of the regulated industry sectors (now and in the future) can cash in on new cap and trade regulation -- by reducing emissions, generating and verifying carbon "credits" for sale in the markets.

3. Disclosure. Whether or not your company is subject to a future cap on GHG emissions, it is critical to understand how and when to disclose information about emissions and have a corporate plan in place to handle environmental disclosure obligations, climate change and shareholder expectations. The panel will address the new compliance and disclosure issues arising as federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) require mandatory reporting of GHG emissions. They will cover the disclosure implications of the Dynergy and Xcel Energy settlements with the Attorney General of New York. Further, they will describe the actions of state agencies, such as CARB, in developing comprehensive disclosure frameworks. Finally, they will assess the growing risks associated with any disparity between voluntary disclosure in response to the Carbon Disclosure Project or other shareholder groups and mandatory disclosure of emissions.

4. Green Marketing. Before turning to the ACC membership for a substantive Q&A session, the panel will address the increasingly severe risks that come with great opportunities for marketing products, services or policies as environmentally friendly. The panel will explain why it is likely that “carbon” will be the new frontier for false-advertising suits due to increased scrutiny from government agencies, such as the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) latest efforts in connection with its “Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims,” and enforcement of “green claims.”

Registration Fees:

ACC Members: FREE Non-Members: $50 (Registration fee will be reimbursed if eligible attendee joins ACC within 30 days of the event.)

Register Now! &

San Francisco Speakers:
Tessa Schwartz, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP - Moderator
Emma Stewart, Senior Program Lead, Sustainable Business & Operations, Autodesk
Bill Sloan, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Andy Thorpe, Associate, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Contact TBD, Pacific Gas & Electric

Palo Alto Speakers:
Tim Harris, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP - Moderator
Melissa Hagan, Regional Environmental Counsel, Union Pacific
Todd Rallison, Corporate Services Counsel, Intel Corporation
Michael Steel, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Susan Mac Cormac, Partner, Morrison & Foerster LLP
Contact TBD, Pacific Gas & Electric

MCLE Credit: 1 Hour General California MCLE

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