The Global Climate Strike is Coming

The world will be focused on climate change at the end of September.  The United Nations will be holding a climate summit on Monday, September 23. Activities will be taking place all week to focus attention on the challenges caused by climate change and the need for urgent actions to combat it.  The American Bar Association has just passed a resolution urging lawyers to get involved with climate advocacy.  At Lawyers for Climate Action-A Call to the Bar, we are responding with Lawyers Climate Week, offering educational events and opportunities for activism to the legal profession.

 

Before all that happens, however, young people will lead the way.  You can help.  On September 20, youth activists will lead a Global Climate Strike.  This strike marks the next step in the series of school strikes for climate and other activism led by young climate change advocates like the Juliana litigation plaintiffs, Alexandra Villasenior, and Greta Thunberg, who traveled across the ocean in a zero greenhouse-gas emissions sailboat to take part in this month’s events.

 

Young people, who have more at stake than any of us, will again lead a series of protests and other actions.  This time, they are asking adults to join them.   “If a kid says help, you help.”  We encourage lawyers who are able to do so, to answer their call.  Nobody should neglect their solemn responsibilities to their clients.  But most of the time, lawyers have more flexibility than health care professionals, teachers, or workers assigned to shifts about how and when we do our work, and when to pursue other interests and commitments.  On September 20, consider spending part of your day taking part in climate activism, and permitting your colleagues at your law firm, school, business or other organization to do the same.  And let us know—we’ll be sure to give you some shine!

Lawyers Climate Week: Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization Webinar Wednesday, September 25, 2019

 

Join us for a special session on Wednesday, September 25th, as Call to the Bar and the Law Firm Sustainability Network co-host a webinar session to discuss the book titled Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States and a unique pro bono project in which lawyers draft model legislation to implement recommendations from the book. Register here.

This book contains key information and recommendations that explain technical and policy pathways for reducing US greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.  This 80×50 target and similarly aggressive carbon abatement goals are often referred to as deep decarbonization, distinguished because it requires systemic changes to the energy economy. Using these technical and policy pathways, Legal Pathways provides a legal playbook for deep decarbonization in the United States, identifying well over 1,000 legal options for enabling the United States to address one of the greatest problems facing this country and the rest of humanity.

Participants are invited to learn how law firms can help implement the more than 1,000 options identified in a new book, Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States, edited by Professors Michael Gerrard and John Dernbach. More than 20 law firms have already signed up for this work, and more are needed.The legal options identified involve federal, state and local law, as well as private governance. The 34 individual topics addressed by the book relate generally to:

  • Energy efficiency, conservation, and fuel switching in buildings, industry and transportation
  • Electricity and fuel decarbonization
  • Carbon capture and negative emissions
  • Non-carbon dioxide climate pollutants

OUR SPEAKERS

John Dernbach

Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability Director, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center @Widener University

John Dernbach is a nationally and internationally recognized authority on sustainable development, climate change, and environmental law. He is the director of the Environmental Law and Sustainability Center, and brings his expertise on property, environmental law, international law, and sustainability. Professor Dernbach writes and lectures widely on climate change, sustainable development, and environmental law. He has written more than 50 articles for law reviews and peer-reviewed journals, and has authored, coauthored, or contributed chapters to more than 20 books  Commonwealth Professor of Environmental Law and Sustainability Director, Environmental Law and Sustainability Center@Widener University

 

Michael Gerrard
Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice @Columbia Law School
Michael B. Gerrard, Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School, teaches courses on environmental law, climate change law, and energy regulation, and founded and directs the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. He also chaired the faculty of Columbia University’s Earth Institute from 2015 to 2018. From 1979 through 2008, he practiced environmental law in New York, most recently as partner in charge of the New York office of Arnold & Porter. Upon joining the Law School faculty in 2009, he became the senior counsel. His practice involved trying numerous cases and arguing many appeals in federal and state courts and administrative tribunals; handling the environmental aspects of numerous transactions and development projects; and providing regulatory compliance advice to a wide variety of clients in the private and public sectors. A prolific writer in environmental law and climate change, Gerrard twice received the Association of American Publishers’ Best Law Book Award.

Richard Horsch
Retired Partner of Counsel @White & Case 
Rick Horsch is Retired Partner of Counsel at White & Case LLP, a global law firm. His practice has focused on U.S. environmental law and international environmental law.  He regularly advises on climate change matters. He is a former Co-Chair of the ABA International Environmental Law Committee. Since 2011 he has been an Adjunct with the Columbia University School of Professional Studies where he teaches courses on domestic and international environmental law. He is currently working on a pro bono basis with Professors John Dernbach and Michael Gerrard in managing the Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization implementation project.

Lawyers Climate Week: Law Firm Action Tuesday, September 24, 2019

 

Founded in August of 2011, the Law Firm Sustainability Network (“LFSN”) consists of law firms united and committed to promoting the benefits of environmental sustainability and corporate responsibility within their firms and throughout the legal industry.

Dedicated to law firm sustainability, LFSN has sought to establish environmental sustainability as a key component of professional and corporate responsibility.  Committed to improvement, the LFSN developed the American Legal Industry Sustainability Standard (“ALISS”), an online self-assessment for firms to measure key aspects of sustainability, to identify specific areas of strength and opportunities for improvement as well as recognition.   Devoted to knowledge-sharing, the LFSN fosters sharing and collaboration through webinars, roundtables and resources, including on demand learning and case studies that explore a wide-range of sustainability topics.

The LFSN is recognized as the premiere collaborative sustainability organization for U.S. law firms and law offices.  Membership is open to law firms and in-house legal departments.  Many LSFN members are AM Law 100, boutique or regional firms.  LFSN carries diverse representation from attorneys to management to professional and administrative staff sharing perspectives.  The LFSN is in part, funded by the generosity of its Leadership Council, including law firms Beveridge & Diamond PC, Nixon Peabody LLP, and Seyfarth Shaw LLP.  Visit https://lfsnetwork.org or contact Gayatri Joshi, Executive Director of the LFSN, gjoshi@ecoanalyze.com.

What next?

  1. Continue to learn more about the Law Firm Sustainability Network and the ALISS law firm sustainability assessment to see what actions your firm can take.
  2. Register for LFSN’s & CTTB’s co-hosted webinar on Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization and learn how your law firm can participate.
  3. Propose a Meatless Monday campaign in your law firm’s cafeteria and catering to reduce your emissions, conserve resources and raise awareness.

Look out for quick and easy action tips from the LFSN on Law Firm Action Tuesday, Sept. 24th.

Meatless Monday: Do you know what your “methane footprint” is?

Michael Maya, Director
International Bar Association – North America (Washington, D.C.)

Do you know what your “methane footprint” is?  And why is it so important? Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas that is 84x more effective than CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere.  Leading scientists and the United Nations have issued multiple, dire warnings about the need to keep methane emissions in check.  So what is the biggest contributor to your methane footprint?  Hands down, it’s beef, lamb and other livestock.  In other words, our diets.  More generally, human influenced sources contribute most of the methane in the atmosphere.  But livestock stands out as the most insidious, with grazing animals contributing roughly 40% of the annual methane released per year.  Did you know that, if all the cattle in the world had their own nation, “Cattle-Nation” would be the world’s third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, after China and the U.S.?  Please see the chart below.

 

Also, did you know that livestock production is the second leading cause of global warming after energy production? Please see the chart below.

 

Leading Causes of Global Warming

Source: www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/the-greenhouse-hamburger/ 

 

There is a reason why it’s useful to think of industrial meat production as the “coal mining of food production.”  Given the above, it’s not surprising that numerous scholars have concluded that reducing our meat consumption is the single most effective thing we can do as individuals to combat climate change.

 

As lawyers, we can use our legal training and advocacy to promote climate solutions.  But as individuals we can be a part of the solution by (1) cutting back on our meat consumption, thereby reducing our methane footprint, and (2) exerting a bit of leadership in our workplace by persuading the organization with which we are affiliated to do the same.  Hence, the concept of Meatless Monday.  Meatless Monday is a simple, elegant, partial solution to mankind’s ever-growing methane footprint.  By giving up meat just one day per week, you are reducing your meat intake by roughly 14% — a very meaningful reduction when it comes to climate change.

 

Call to the Bar and our many partner law firms and organizations are taking the pledge to go Meatless on Mondays.   The International Bar Association’s office in Washington, D.C. last year adopted a Meatless Monday policy at the suggestion of a colleague – to this day, a committed carnivore — who recognized the need to cut back on meat consumption for the sake of our groaning planet.  Will you join us in adopting this policy? How about suggesting that “Meatless Monday” be an agenda item at your next staff meeting?  You likely will be surprised by how many people will support this small but important move in the right direction.  Some of your colleagues will lend their support because they recognize the impact our diet is having on climate change.  Some will be motivated by health reasons, and still others by animal welfare considerations.  Whatever the motivation, your leadership is needed now more than ever.  Thank you for giving this your consideration.

 

Note: If you have questions about the above content, please contact Michael Maya at: michael.maya@int-bar.org

Lawyers Climate Week to Correspond with UN Climate Summit

After one of the hottest summers on record, climate change will be the focus of international attention on September 23, 2019, as the UN convenes in New York for the UN Climate Summit. That entire week in New York City is designated Climate Week NYC.

That same week is also being designated Lawyers Climate Week. From September 23rd-27th, each day of Lawyers Climate Week will highlight a different theme and how you can participate in the solution.   Every week until then, we will focus on one of the daily themes and share aspects of the issues.

  • Monday of Lawyers Climate Week will promote Meatless Mondays as an important step for reducing harmful emissions. Read more here.
  • Tuesday will focus on what lawyers and law firms can do to be more sustainable from the Law Firm Sustainability Network.
  • Wednesday will feature a webinar on Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization.
  • Thursday will feature a webinar on sustainability: What is it? How is it different than climate change?
  • Friday will focus on a call to action by national leaders in government and the private sector.

Lawyers Urge Candidate Debate on Climate Change

The next President will preside over the pivotal period for climate policy and will either make it the main priority for his or her administration or consign future generations to dire health and economic consequences that no later policy can meaningfully address. Proper regard for the future of the planet on which human life depends and for the democratic process requires that the candidates be given an opportunity to discuss their thoughts on the existential problem of climate change and what can be done about it.

For this reason, a group of lawyers and non-lawyers acting as A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change has delivered the attached letter to the Democratic National Committee urging it to hold a debate on climate change. A similar request will be made to the Republican National Committee if a contested primary is held.

If you wish to join in this call for a climate discussion and debate please send a note to the Democratic National Committee at https://my.democrats.org/page/s/contact-the-democrats or send your own letter with an endorsed copy of this letter.

Thank you for taking action on climate change.

 

Can Law Save Us From Climate Change?

On April 18, 2019, a group of leading lawyers and law professors will convene in person at locations across the United States to discuss the problem of climate change and the role of lawyers in advancing solutions. The locations will all be linked by live video/audio feeds. This is the third year in a row for this national conference on this important subject. This year’s conference will feature leading experts addressing the most important aspects of the climate crisis from a legal perspective. The conference will also address ways in which lawyers can work to make a difference on this subject of grave concern to our well-being and future.

Speakers include:

Washington Governor and Presidential Candidate, Jay Inslee
U.S. Senator Ed Markey
U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch
Noted climate scientist Prof. Michael Mann (keynote speaker)

For the complete list of speakers, go to www.calltothebar.org

Topics include:

The Green New Deal
Carbon Pricing as a Key Solution
Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization
Voluntary/Market-based Decarbonization Initiatives
How Can You Take Action on the Climate Crisis
Environmental Justice
100% Clean Energy Future

When:

April 18, 2019; 11:00 am – 6:00 pm EDT

Where:

You can join online. Or you can join other participants at one of the conference locations

Conference locations:

Washington, D.C
Orlando, FL
Chicago, IL
Philadelphia, PA
Raleigh, NC
Eugene, OR
Portland, OR
Albuquerque, NM
New York, NY

You can host a location in your city. All locations will be joined by live video/audio feed.

The event will be open to the public in person and over the Internet for free.

Register now at http://www.climatechangecle.org/#register

Learn more:

For more information, go to www.calltothebar.org

Help promote the Conference by posting and tweeting this post. Use the hashags #calltothebar #climatelaw #climatelawyers

The Third National Conference of Lawyers Committed to Addressing the Climate Emergency

On April 18, 2019, a group of leading lawyers and law professors will convene in person at locations across the United States to discuss the problem of climate change and the role of lawyers in advancing solutions. The locations will all be linked by live video/audio feeds. This is the third year in a row for this national conference on this important subject. This year’s conference will feature leading experts addressing the most important aspects of the climate crisis from a legal perspective. The conference will also address ways in which lawyers can work to make a difference on this subject of grave concern to our well-being and future.

Speakers include: U.S. Senator Ed Markey, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, and Prof. Michael Mann

Topics include:

  • The Green New Deal
  • Carbon Pricing as a Key Solution
  • Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization
  • Voluntary/Market-based Decarbonization Initiatives
  • How Can You Take Action on the Climate Crisis

When:
April 18, 2019; 11:00 am – 6:00 pm EDT

Where:
Locations across the United States. You can host a location in your city. All locations will be joined by live video/audio feed.

The event will be open to the public in person and over the Internet for free.

Register now at http://www.climatechangecle.org/#register


A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change (www.calltothebar.org) is a nationwide, nonpartisan, nonprofit group of lawyers, law professors, law students, and citizens dedicated to engaging lawyers and the legal community in the fight for common sense solutions to this critical problem facing all of us.

The Third National Conference of Lawyers Committed to Addressing the Climate Emergency will be multi-site and hosted on the Internet, with no central location. We are actively recruiting sites for the conference. If you would like to organize a site in your community, please contact us at info@calltothebar.org.