Global Warming and Climate Change are the main, if not the only, topics of debate in the environmental regulatory world these days. While there may not be complete agreement on the science and consequences of global warming, how quickly the effects will be manifested in the loss of the glaciers and the rise of the oceans or how best to solve global warming issues, there is one aspect of global warming that everyone agrees on—for the foreseeable future, global warming will be the main focus of new regulatory initiatives in the world and particularly in the United States. This regulatory reality has prompted the idea for the Baker Hostetler Climate Change Primer.

From the Kyoto Protocol to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative to Carbon Trading and Clean Air Act Litigation, there are numerous initiatives and regulatory programs at multiple levels of national and international government. Understanding what is in existence and what is likely to be enacted is critical to strategic business planning. The ambitious goal of the Climate Change Primer is to provide a very high level overview of the key regulatory programs and litigation in this area. We hope that upon review of the information contained in this primer, the reader will have a general understanding of Climate Change sufficient to answer the following questions:

  1. What is Global Warming and what are the main causes?
  2. What are the key existing regulatory programs in place at the International, Federal and State level to combat global warming?
  3. What are the primary proposed regulations being developed and what are the key differences among them?
  4. What is the status of key litigation regarding Global Warming and what impact could that have on the regulated community?

We hope that the Climate Change Primer can be a first step in understanding the very complicated world of Global Warming regulation.