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

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

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

A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change ( 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

Coat of arms of Pennsylvania

Petition to Keystone State Seeks Carbon Pricing as Climate Change Solution

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is officially considering a petition filed yesterday (November 27, 2017) by the Clean Air Council and many other people and organizations to implement an economy-wide auction-cap-and-trade program for Pennsylvania, with measures to prevent leakage and auction most allowances with a reserve price. The program will create substantial revenue for the Commonwealth while substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A summary of the petition is set forth below in the cover email submitted to the Commonwealth today. The petition itself and the regulation it proposes are attached. Also, a program is being held today (Nov. 28, 2018) at the Philadelphia Bar Association in Philadelphia from noon to 2:15 to discuss carbon pricing in general and the petition specifically, with the authors of the petition and other lawyers and academics presenting. For all the information and to register to attend in person or by live webcast: click here

Draft EQB Regulation 

PA Auction Cap and Trade Petition

Rulemaking Petition to Establish an Economy-Wide Auction-Cap-and-Trade Program for Pennsylvania

Dear Secretary McDonnell, Ms. Edinger, and Honorable Members of the Board,

On behalf of ourselves and the other petitioners identified on Exhibit A to the attached Petition, we hereby submit for the consideration of the Environmental Quality Board the attached Petition Pursuant to 25 Pa. Code §§ 23.1-23.5, Article I, §27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, and the Pennsylvania Air Pollution Control Act to Adopt the Attached Regulation Establishing a Comprehensive Program to Limit Greenhouse Gas Emissions Though an Auction-Cap-and-Trade Program to Conserve and Maintain a Stable Climate and Other Public Resources for Which the Commonwealth is a Trustee (“Petition”).  We also attach a courtesy Word version of the proposed regulation for the Department’s use.  The Petition and the proposed regulation attached as Exhibit B to the Petition conform to the requirements of 25 Pa. Code §§ 23.1-23.5.

In light of the ongoing and severe damage to the public natural resources caused by unconstrained emissions of greenhouse gas pollutants, we urge the Board to act swiftly on this Petition and to adopt the attached regulation as quickly as feasible consistent with the requirements of law and appropriate public participation.  The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume II: Impacts, Risks, and Adaptation in the United States underscore the need for haste to address the looming emergency posed by climate disruption.  The proposed regulation and the analysis of facts, law, impacts, costs and benefits contained in the Petition contain all that is necessary to proceed to the publication of a proposed rule in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.  The Administration could, therefore, move more quickly than the timelines set forth in 25 Pa. Code §§ 23.1-23.5, and should do so in light of the looming climate emergency.

The Commonwealth’s duty as a trustee under Article I, § 27 of the Constitution requires that the Board proceed with all due haste to limit the damage to the Commonwealth’s public natural resources and the health of current and future generations caused by unchecked greenhouse gas pollution.  The proposed regulation would create a measured and foreseeable path for the Commonwealth and its industry to do what is necessary to avoid the worst consequences of climate disruption. It would provide a solution to the problem of financially stressed nuclear electric generating facilities and provide an incentive for investment in the types of projects that will be key to keeping Pennsylvania’s economy strong as we transition to an economy that does not emit greenhouse gas pollution. The proposed regulation will also have significant co-benefits.  It will allow the Commonwealth to address its severe and structural budget deficit without the continued depletion of the environmental capital that the Supreme Court held unconstitutional in PEDF v. Commonwealth.  If used wisely, some of the income could be used to provide seed capital for the infrastructure projects that will be necessary to adapt to the effects of climate disruption.

There are other organizations that wish to become petitioners but have not yet been able to complete the procedures necessary to allow them to do so.  Therefore, as suggested by Exhibit A, we intend to supplement this submission by adding additional petitioners before the next Board meeting.

We look forward to presenting our proposal to the Board.

Thank you for your consideration.

Respectfully submitted:

Robert B. McKinstry, Jr.
Joseph Minott, Clean Air Council
Robert Routh, Clean Air Council
John C. Dernbach, Widener Commonwealth Law School Environmental Law and Sustainability Center
Baird Brown, eco(n)law LLC

Using the Law to Solve Climate Change: What Can Pennsylvania Do?

On October 8, 2018, the United Nations scientific panel charged with tracking climate change issued a special report that dominated international headlines for days. The report painted a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and noted that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”

What can we do to avoid the predicted catastrophic effects of climate change? 

That will be the subject of an important program on November 28, 2018, at 12:00 pm, hosted by the Philadelphia Bar Association. Co-hosted by the Pennsylvania Environmental Council and A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change, the program will address (1) the legal landscape for solutions to climate change, (2) the case for carbon pricing policies, (3) the authority under Pennsylvania law for carbon pricing; and (4) a specific proposal for using carbon pricing to make Pennsylvania a leader in fighting climate change while generating revenues for the Commonwealth.

Further program details can be found here:

Register for the program here:

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Lawyers Fighting Climate Change Take Inspiration from Those Who Fought for Civil Rights #ClimateLaw

On April 28, 2017, a group of leading lawyers, law professors, and law students will convene in person and on the internet at American University Washington College of Law in Washington, DC, for the First National Conference of Lawyers Committed to Addressing the Climate Emergency. The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Check it out at

These lawyers can take inspiration from the civil rights movement and specific events in 1963.

In June of 1963, the racial climate in parts of the United States was bad, and nowhere worse than in Alabama, where law enforcement had taken sides against the civil rights protesters with police dogs, night sticks, and fire hoses. Alabama Governor George Wallace declared that he would disregard the federal court order that prohibited interference with the admission of African-American students at the University of Alabama.

In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Geraldine Segal challenged her husband, attorney Bernard G. Segal: “Well, what is the bar of the nation doing about this? What should you be doing?”

Attorney Segal took his wife’s challenge seriously, and with the help of another lawyer, Jerome J. Shestack, set about calling leaders of the bar across the country. The following Tuesday, a total of forty-six lawyers from around the country joined in a statement published in two Alabama newspapers calling on the governor of Alabama to respect the rule of law.

That same day, June 11, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech on civil rights by radio and television from the Oval Office in which he proposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. After that speech, he learned about the statement published by the bar leaders and issued a call to the bar for leaders of the legal community to join him for a meeting at the White House.

Later that same month, 244 leaders of the American legal community met in the White House where President Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy urged the lawyers to use their training and influence to move the struggle for the protection of civil rights from the streets to the courts.

The need for action on civil rights in the summer of 1963 was undeniable. The need for action on climate change now is undeniable. Just as the support of the legal community was needed in 1963 on civil rights, so too is it now needed on climate change.

Please register to join us live or via the internet at Also, if you would like to become a financial sponsor of the conference, please contact Brett Korte at or 202-939-3852.

Photo credit: Michael M. Koehler

Now More Important than Ever: Legal Conference in Philadelphia on Climate Change

The result of the American presidential election highlights the need for bipartisan support for fighting climate change. The law and legal framework proposed to date can be used to build a variety of solutions to climate change, including harnessing the power of free markets to stimulate investment and growth in alternative energy supplies and technology. With the recent report from the science community that more needs to be done sooner to address climate change, our future will depend on our ability as a society to come together in support of reasonable laws to address the problem.

Our November 16 all-day CLE program will focus on the legal, policy, economic, and ethical issues involved in fighting climate change. Our outstanding speakers will address the impact the election will have on our efforts to fight climate change, the promotion of new technologies, and the chance for the United States to become the world leader in alternative energy and technologies, while at the same time supplying jobs at home.

In short, with the election of a new president the topics to be addressed on November 16 could not be more important. We hope you will consider attending. Learn more about our speakers and agenda and for a link to register go to


Attorneys to Tackle Climate Change at November 16th CLE


November 16, 2016

The Law Firm of Drinker Biddle
One Logan Square, Ste. 2000
Philadelphia, PA 19103

CLE Provided by the Philadelphia Bar Association
7.5 credit CLE course, including one ethics credit

A Call to the Bar, the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council are convening lawyers and others concerned about our global future on November 16 to engage the legal community in climate change awareness, education, and action. Economist and author Jeffrey D. Sachs to address group from UN Climate Change Conference.

PHILADELPHIA (October 17, 2016) – With the evidence now overwhelming that carbon pollution is driving climate change, leading experts are coming together with the area legal community on November 16, 2016, at the law firm of Drinker Biddle to focus on this important question:

How can the legal community serve as a catalyst for action to address climate change?

Kicking off the discussion will be Jeffrey D. Sachs, the world-renowned economist, leader in sustainable development, and UN advisor, who will speak remotely from the UN Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, where global leaders and experts will be discussing the next steps in implementing the Paris Climate Change Agreement adopted last year. The bestselling author and syndicated columnist Sachs has been called “probably the most important economist in the world,” by the New York Times.

Participants will hear from leading attorneys, state and federal government officials, and experts on energy and the environment on topics such as: the legal framework for addressing the challenge, the need for much stronger and quicker action, the economic case for action, legal and economic issues specific to Pennsylvania, and the ethical and philosophical argument for action by lawyers and others. Megan Ceronsky, Special Assistant and Associate Counsel to the President, will speak on a panel discussing the the Clean Power Plan. John Quigley, Senior Fellow at Penn’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy and former PA Secretary of Environmental Protection, will share unique insights over lunch into the challenge here in Pennsylvania. The day will close with a hands-on discussion of what lawyers can do to spur action toward climate solutions.

“Attorneys have a vital role in responding to the threat of climate change,” said Steve Harvey, an attorney who founded A Call to the Bar: Lawyers for Common Sense on Climate Change. “We need to get beyond the politics and find sensible, decisive solutions so we can preserve the planet for ourselves and our children.”

The event will be held at the law firm of Drinker Biddle, One Logan Square, Ste. 2000, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-6996. Please note that this is the new location, as the event was originally planned and announced for the Perry World House at the University of Pennsylvania. Attorneys are eligible to receive seven and a half CLE credits, including one ethics credit. For registration and sponsorship information, please visit or contact Tara Phoenix at 215-238-6349 or by e-mail at


Check out the full itinerary and list of speakers here: