Climate Change & Carbon Markets

Along with our ESG practice, we provide comprehensive air and climate change regulatory, transactional, and litigation services. Clients benefit from our depth, breadth, and multi-industry perspective.

B&D’s Climate Change & Carbon Markets practice advises clients on cutting-edge climate change and emissions trading matters at federal, state, local, and international levels.

Our climate change work draws on our expertise in domestic and international environmental regulatory compliance, as well as in commercial, financial, and land use projects and transactions. We advise on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventories, control measures, and credit and trading matters under U.S. and international regulatory regimes. We also have experience helping clients reduce their carbon footprints consistent with established protocols and standards and to develop and market carbon offsets. Over the past decade, our lawyers have worked with all of the major carbon registries in the United States to develop over $1 billion USD in carbon offsets under a range of offset methodologies, including land use and “nature based” offsetting programs.

Climate change legal frameworks on which we have counseled clients include:

  • Federal and state GHG permitting programs
  • California Global Warming Solutions Act (known as AB 32)
  • Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)
  • The Department of Energy’s Voluntary Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • The Paris Agreement
  • European Union Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) 
  • Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA)

We also are familiar with private sector governance and sustainability initiatives focused on climate change, including relevant offsetting frameworks and consumer protection laws, such as green marketing rules implemented by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other regulators.

In addition to counseling clients on established policies and programs, we frequently provide advice on new and emerging programs. For example, we have recent experience with proposals to regulate GHG emissions from transportation in the Northeast, federal tax credits available under Section 45Q for carbon sequestration, EU proposals currently under development (such as a border tax adjustment mechanism), and frameworks governing refrigerants under the Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol. We closely track these and other emerging climate change programs on behalf of our clients and understand the broad landscape of climate change policies that may affect them.

B&D publishes GHG and climate change-related news alerts, a semi-annual Carbon Markets Roundup (available upon request), and authors the Climate Change chapter in Environment & Climate Change Regulation for a leading legal sector publication, Lexology Navigator/Getting the Deal Through.

Carbon Offset Development and Transactions

We work with U.S. and non-U.S. companies on the full range of environmental transactional matters. During any transaction cycle, we work with clients to identify core objectives, develop an appropriate transaction timeline, and ensure contract clarity. Additionally, we leverage our knowledge and experience from resolving disputes related to environmental agreements to ensure our clients mitigate commercial risks as much as possible. Our work advising a range of industries on climate change programs and objectives gives us a broad perspective on carbon markets and carbon offset development.

Our recent, relevant experience includes:

  • Developing numerous forest carbon offset projects on behalf of several clients within the continental U.S. and Alaska totaling nearly 1 million acres and with over 40,000 million carbon offsets issued under both voluntary and California compliance methodologies.
  • Counseling several clients in early-stage analysis of carbon offset project development related to agricultural operations, with assessments of potential pathways related to improved agricultural practices, soil carbon sequestration, and lower/optimized nitrogen application.
  • Working with a major national power producer to develop carbon offsets under an ozone-depleting substances (ODS) destruction protocol, involving the importation of ODS from Mexico for destruction in the U.S. and compliance with the Montreal Protocol, U.S. Customs requirements, and relevant offset protocols.
  • Negotiating and drafting numerous contracts related to the purchase and sale of emissions reduction credits, including carbon offsets.
  • Ongoing representation of clients on matters pertaining to GHG reduction, corporate sustainability, and related transactions.

Climate Change Policy

Our climate change policy analysis experience includes: 

  • On behalf of an air transportation trade association, authoring a detailed whitepaper on the interaction between CORSIA and the Paris Agreement, and further assisting the association in developing its external position on key elements of these programs for presentation and advocacy at the United Nations.
  • Advising two major electronics products companies on GHG programs and regulations that impact their products. As part of that work, we helped these companies explore avenues for establishing a “net-zero” GHG footprint for the lifecycle of their products, and to develop related consumer-facing marketing programs.
  • Working with the retail sector to assess likely sources of regulation and both challenges and opportunities in carbon markets.