March 2009

The First Salvo: Steadfast Insurance Company Moves for Summary Judgment in the First Climate Change Coverage Lawsuit

March 29, 2009 21:04
by J. Wylie Donald
We wrote in an earlier blog (Nov. 4, 2008) that the climate change coverage wars had begun when Steadfast Insurance Company sued The AES Corporation concerning coverage for the Native Village of Kivalina v. ExxonMobil Corporation climate change liability lawsuit.  Steadfast has charged into the fray; it filed its motion for summary judgment on March 5.  The insurer seeks judgment that there is no coverage because 1) the emission of carbon dioxide is not an "accident", as required by th...

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EPA accelerates action on climate change regulations

March 24, 2009 09:11
With only two months behind it since President Barack Obama took office and even less time since Lisa P. Jackson became the Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the federal government has launched several significant climate change regulatory developments pending that, taken together, will reverse course and authorize climate change regulations even before the 111th Congress has a chance to act on the issues. The key climate change regulatory initiatives underway are as fo...

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NAIC Acts to Require Climate Change Disclosures - But Without Any Standards

March 18, 2009 19:42
by J. Wylie Donald
Yesterday, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners voted to require all insurers collecting more than $500 million in premium to make certain disclosures regarding the effect of climate change on their businesses. Some of you might be saying, "Finally."  Others may be critical that not enough is being said.  Beyond dispute, however, is that climate change disclosure is now in the mainstream. The NAIC joins, among others, environmental groups such as CERES and Friends o...

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Fears of a Canadian Oil "Sand Storm" Are Overdone

March 10, 2009 14:27
by J. Wylie Donald
by Paul Cellucci  Forecasts of inevitable conflict between Canadian oil sands development and U.S. (and Canadian) carbon concerns, as expressed in this week's Wall Street Journal ("Sand Storm" by Hyun Young Lee, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123620661145533445.html) strike me as unrealistic. When I became Ambassador to Canada, the two countries had already been working for years to harmonize policies, and the working groups have continued working to this day. In fact, it seems pretty c...

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Green Building Insurance - Unique?

March 6, 2009 14:04
by J. Wylie Donald
One can often tell when a subject has hit the mainstream by the trend in courses and webinars one finds in one's email. By that metric, green construction is now front and center. Two emails greeted me this week. One addressed best practices for "green" leases, the other was more general and took on "green" construction in its entirety. I scanned through the materials looking for information on insurance. One brief mention indicated that the "unique" issues would be addressed. That piqued my...

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The business case for the development of renewable energy projects, from biodiesel and ethanol to wind, solar, and distributed generation, is more compelling than ever as tax and regulatory incentives combine to attract investments. Emerging issues in environmental law and increasingly recognized principles of corporate social responsibility are encouraging public companies to voluntarily reduce greenhouse gas emissions, install clean energy alternatives, and invest overseas in projects under the Kyoto Protocol to respond to climate change concerns.

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