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Last week the Department of Defense (“DOD”) released a report concerning the impacts of climate change on 79 of its installations, as well as DOD operations. The report found increasing effects from sea level rise, wild fires and other aspects of climate change.

”The Mlitary Departments noted the presence or not of current and potential vulnerabilities to each installation over the next 20 years, selecting from the events listed below. Note that the congressional request established the 20-year timeframe.
Climate-Related Events
 Recurrent Flooding
 Drought
 Desertification
 Wildfires
 Thawing Permafrost”

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Nine states from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic that form the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have set out new goals for Greenhouse Gas (GGH) emissions reductions post 2020. In a press release issued last week, the RGGI states set out their consensus for a proposed ambitious program to further reduce Greenhouse Gases.

As noted in the press release:

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The interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience issued a report outlining opportunities to coordinate among federal agencies, along with state and local stakeholders in developing resiliency strategies. The report identifies three “themes” for implementing resilience in the face of climate change.

“Theme 1: Advancing and applying science-based information, technology, and tools to address climate risk. The Obama Administration has worked to connect the best-available climate science, data, and tools to communities and organizations throughout the Nation. The Federal Government can continue its critical role in this work through advancing observations, research, modeling, and innovative technology development, and communicating and translating information to support decision making. Opportunities within this theme are the following:

 Improve awareness and dissemination of climate information

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In a report released last week by the United Nations it was found that 90% of major disasters over the last twenty years were weather related. In the summary of  the report released on November 25, 2015 it was stated  those “major disasters have been caused by 6,457 recorded floods, storms, heatwaves, droughts and other weather-related events.”

The head of UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) noted that there are a number of drivers that increase the risks of these weather events, including greenhouse gas emissions.

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In a Christmas Eve decision, the D.C. Circuit Court rejected a challenge to the granting of a lease by the Bureau of Land Management to mine coal on public lands in Wyoming. In WildEarth Guardians, et. al. v. Jewell, two groups challenged the determination to lease certain public lands for coal mining, claiming that the environmental review under NEPA failed to adequately address issues related to increased local pollution and impacts on climate change from the activities to be conducted on the leased lands.

The Court found that the entities, as a result of the purposes of the entities and the underlying interests of their members had standing to bring the action:

“The procedural injury the Appellants claim-the allegedly deficient FEIS-is tied to their respective members’ concrete aesthetic and recreational interests. “[E]nvironmental plaintiffs adequately allege injury in fact when they aver that they use the affected area and are persons ‘for whom the aesthetic and recreational values of the area will be lessened’ by the challenged activity.” Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 183 (2000) (quoting Sierra Club v. Morton, 405 U.S. 727, 735)… plaintiff “must still demonstrate a causal connection between the agency action and the alleged injury.” City of Dania Beach, Fla., 485 F.3d at 1186; accord Ctr. for Law & Educ., 396 F.3d at 1160; see also Fla. Audubon Soc’y, 94 F.3d at 664–65 (“[A] procedural-rights plaintiff must show not only that the defendant’s acts omitted some procedural requirement, but also that it is substantially probable that the procedural breach will cause the essential injury to the plaintiff’s own interest.”). We think the Appellants have done so here because the local pollution that causes their members’ aesthetic and recreational injuries follows inexorably from the decision to authorize leasing on the West Antelope II tracts. ,,, The Appellants may challenge each of the alleged inadequacies in the FEIS because each constitutes a procedural injury connected to their members’ recreational and aesthetic injuries: Their members’ injuries are caused by the allegedly unlawful ROD and would be redressed by vacatur of the ROD on the basis of any of the procedural defects identified in the FEIS.”

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A recently released study demonstrates a relationship between the man made effects on global warming and changes in patterns of precipitation. A news release summarizes the findings of a new study issued by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory noting that the study:

“…observed changes in global (ocean and land) precipitation are directly affected by human activities and cannot be explained by natural variability alone. … Emissions of heat-trapping and ozone-depleting gases affect the distribution of precipitation through two mechanisms. Increasing temperatures are expected to make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier (thermodynamic changes); and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns will push storm tracks and subtropical dry zones toward the poles.”

-Steven Silverberg

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The conservation group, Scenic Hudson has developed maps demonstrating the potential impacts of sea level rise along the Hudson River. Noting that over the last century the river has risen about one foot, the Scenic Hudson’s site indicates the river is expected to rise by as much as another six feet over the next century.

Scenic Hudson has created what it calls the “Sea Level Rise Mapper.” It explains the Sea Level Rise Mapper may be used as “a tool for communities and stakeholders to create visualizations of future scenarios of sea level rise.”

-Steven Silverberg

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Silverberg Zalantis LLP and Bank New York Wealth Management are co-sponsoring a program on the Legal Implications of Climate Change presented by the Westchester Women’s Bar Association, the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation and the Hudson Valley Smart Growth Alliance. The program, to be held on October 20, 2011, will feature Michael B. Gerrard, Esq. the Director of the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University School of Law. Details of the program and registration information are available on the Westchester Women’s Bar Association Website.

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We received notification that our Blog has been nominated for consideration by LexisNexis as one of the top 50 Environmental & Climate Change Blogs. Today we received the following from LexisNexis.

“For the first time, the LexisNexis Environmental Law & Climate Change Community is honoring a select group of blogs that set the online standard for our practice area. I’m pleased to notify you that Climate Change Attorney Blog is one of the nominated candidates for the LexisNexis Top 50 Environmental Law & Climate Change Blogs for 2011.

We are asking our online community for their input on our list of nominees, and also welcome comments from your readers. If you’d like to request their support for your nomination, please ask them to comment on ELCCC’s announcement post at the following link:”.

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The British Antarctic Survey released what it has called the “first comprehensive review” of the Antarctic climate. In a press release describing the report it is noted that the findings include information on the “impact and consequences of rapid warming of the Antarctic Peninsula and the Southern Ocean; rapid ice loss in parts of Antarctica and the increase in sea ice around the continent; the impact of climate change on Antarctica’s plants and animals; the unprecedented increase in carbon dioxide levels; the connections between human-induced global change and natural variability; and the extraordinary finding that the ozone hole has shielded most of Antarctica from global warming.”