Climate change has become one of the greatest global challenges of our times. The global consensus that human activities are having a dramatic effect on the composition of the earth's atmosphere through the emission of greenhouse gases has resulted in worldwide governmental initiatives seeking to limit the emission of greenhouse gases. These initiatives are, in turn, affecting the global competitive landscape and driving public and private sector investment in clean energy and technology. Climate change is now a priority for governmental, nongovernmental and private sector participants.
As a global law firm, White & Case is uniquely positioned to assist clients in responding to the full range of legal and business issues raised by global climate change. The Firm's multidisciplinary Global Climate Change practice includes more than 30 partners globally, supported by White & Case's lawyers worldwide. Our practice has successfully represented clients regarding climate change, renewable energy and clean technology issues in matters across a wide variety of global practice areas.
A patchwork of greenhouse gas regulations has emerged in multiple jurisdictions to deal with climate change. The global reach of our practice enables us to keep abreast of these multiple regulatory regimes and knowledgably advise our clients on compliance obligations and potential opportunities. We have significant experience with emission trading schemes, including the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Emission Trading Scheme, the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, and US state and regional emission trading programs.
Worldwide Energy Project Expertise
Development of cleaner sources of energy has increased in response to climate change initiatives. Our energy, infrastructure and project finance lawyers have significant experience advising on all aspects of energy generation and transmissions. We have been involved in structuring and financing scores of projects where GHG emissions are an issue, including renewable energy projects on six continents. Our clean energy project experience includes projects involving wind power generation, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydropower and ocean resources.
Vast CDM Project Experience
We have provided advice to major international oil companies, multinational mining companies, power generators, governments, and nongovernmental organizations, among others, in developing relevant policies and procedures, project structuring, and proceeding through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project cycle. We have also acted as legal advisors to governments on various climate change and CDM issues, including assisting in the development of governmental institutions required for CDM implementation.
Cutting-Edge Clean Technology Financing and IP Protection Experience
Climate change is leading to clean technology innovations that require both capital and intellectual property protection, as companies seek to use their technologies across the globe. Our Global Capital Markets and Intellectual Property Practices have significant experience advising clients at the cutting edge of clean technologies.
Global Dispute Resolution Knowledge
Disputes around the world are arising out of climate change initiatives, as businesses and individuals struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of legal developments. These disputes range from disagreements over business transactions to challenges to renewable energy projects. Our dispute resolution lawyers help clients worldwide navigate these conflicts and reach successful resolutions. White & Case's Global International Arbitration Practice is considered one of the best in the world.
Select examples of our case experience include:
- Advising a major international oil company in identifying and developing CDM projects on a companywide basis. Our role includes developing a protocol for identifying "pilot projects," identifying CDM consultants to advise the company on technical issues relating to the potential CDM projects, preparing an RFP for the selection and retention of such a consultant, working with the company to identify and assess the feasibility of potential projects and advising the company as projects proceed through the CDM project cycle, among other responsibilities.
- Advising a major international financial institution in the emerging international voluntary carbon market on market structure, rules, requirements and risks. Our representation included assisting the client in understanding all aspects of the Voluntary Carbon Standard (VCS), the development of projects under the VCS program as well as the Voluntary Carbon Units (VCUs) created and registered under the VCS program and the "life cycle" of those VCUs.
- Counseling Invista, one of the world's largest integrated producers of polymers and fibers, on the adoption process of the Climate Change and Energy package in the EU, and in particular the new ETS Directive for Phase III (2013 – 2020).
- Advising an international oil & gas company on the purchase of carbon credits, including the drafting of ERPAs, for various emissions reduction projects in India, Uganda and Brazil.
- Representing the International Finance Corporation in the litigation of a contract action regarding the purchase of carbon credits (CERs). The Kyoto Protocol allows signatory nations such as the Netherlands to trade CERs by eligible project in order to meet national emissions targets. The case is one of the first disputes over the sale of CER handled in US courts.
- Assisting The Asian Development Bank on an innovative financial product which will guarantee technology holders against losses related to breaches of license agreements with companies in developing Asia. The product, known as the Asian Cleantech Guarantee Facility, when implemented, will cover risks associated with willful nonpayment or unauthorized use of clean technology and should facilitate the rapid transfer and dissemination of cutting-edge patents and know-how to combat climate change.
Our global team advises companies in a wide range of industries, including: