In recent years, "global climate change" has become an increasingly significant factor in the development and use of land. In California, with the adoption of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (better known simply as AB 32), the State Legislature declared that "[g]lobal warming poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources, and the environment of California." In both Sacramento and Washington, D.C., global warming continues to generate considerable legislative and regulatory activity.
The emission of "greenhouse gases" and their potential environmental effects are now a focal point in varied regulatory and legal arenas, including environmental impact reviews under CEQA and NEPA, development of building standards, and new requirements for regional and local planning. Regulatory requirements continue to expand and evolve at the same time that the philosophical and scientific debates over the pace and consequences of climate change continue.
Cox, Castle & Nicholson has been at the forefront of the legal response to climate change in California. We successfully defended and settled the first climate change lawsuit under CEQA, and we have been involved in legislative, regulatory, and appellate developments ever since. We have a leading practice in the permitting and development of alternative energy projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Following the adoption of AB 32, we have helped formulate, and successfully defended, analysis of greenhouse gas emissions affecting global climate change in project EIRs. We counsel clients regarding local green building ordinances as well as green building requirements now incorporated into the California Building Code. We are actively involved in the formulation of regulations to implement AB 32, SB 375, and CEQA's requirements for analysis of climate change impacts.
We help our clients understand and respond to the evolving regulatory environment so that entitlements and operations can proceed without unnecessary delay. We stay abreast of the evolving requirements to assess climate change impacts, requirements under CEQA, and the status of scientific studies of climate change. Thus, we can help our clients plan for changes and structure their entitlements to minimize the adverse impacts of those changes. And finally, when needed, we stand ready to defend CEQA and NEPA environmental documents against legal challenges based on climate change issues.