Sustainable Energy and Climate Change

One of today's biggest business challenges is anticipating and addressing the legal issues raised by the new and rapidly evolving regulatory structures developing in the United States in response to climate change. Continuing economic prosperity depends on reliable and affordable energy resources like petroleum and coal, yet scientists tell us that "fixing" climate change depends on reducing and restructuring our use of these energy resources. How can businesses do both?

Industry Challenges

Traditionally, the steps necessary to start a new production process have included obtaining environmental permits and preventing pollution. Planning for and obtaining energy supply contracts, while necessary, has not been the determining factor in deciding whether to manufacture a new product or build a new facility. In today's market, energy is quickly becoming a driving force in decision-making.

Current and expected legislation and regulations are forcing business to focus on the technologies of production and transportation as never before. Limits on carbon emissions may restrict businesses in ways never before imagined, introduce new levels of complexity and involve businesses previously assumed to have little or no environmental impact. The industry sectors facing these new challenges include the traditional ones — energy, transportation, manufacturing, building and construction — and the not so traditional ones — retail, insurance, government, banking and finance.

Industry Opportunities

At the same time, new climate change regulations are producing new markets and new opportunities. New markets, including renewable energy, carbon trading and clean energy technologies ("clean tech"), are creating new earnings opportunities for businesses which demand new ways of thinking. A new regulatory emphasis on energy efficiency and demand response measures is producing opportunities for both energy savings and cost reductions.

Schiff Hardin Can Help

Responding to Climate ChangeSchiff Hardin can help you navigate this brave new world. We have played a role in the development, interpretation and implementation of all major energy and environmental legislation for more than 30 years. We understand complex emission rate standards and new permitting regimes. We have extensive experience in interpreting new environmental regulations and translating them into everyday business practices. When necessary, we challenge regulatory ambiguities and overreaching in court. We routinely work with power producers to help control energy project costs, and have the strong grounding and hands-on experience needed to assist clients with all aspects of large renewable and alternative energy projects.

Schiff Hardin attorneys employ proven strategies to team with our clients in identifying how climate change-related regulatory, legislative and litigation developments can and will affect their business. We help them develop strategies to address the challenges and opportunities presented. Working as a team across a wide array of practice areas, we assist our clients to implement applicable requirements expeditiously and efficiently and to capitalize on new market opportunities.

Our Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Services include: