Climate Change & Trade in Pollutants

Climate Change & Trade in Pollutants

Climate change and global warming are now a very high international and national priority issue, and constitute a major concern in the field of environmental protection and environmental law. 

Recognition of greenhouse gas emissions as a direct cause of global warming and the realization that this warming is of very serious consequences for man and the environment have actually become common knowledge and within the judicial and scientific consensus. One of the major causes of greenhouse gas emissions is a wasteful use of energy. Israel passed a law aimed at conservation as well as efficient and economical use of energy sources. Multiple regulations have been installed under the law, while the industries carry a heavy load of practical obligations to implement the rules and reduce industrial energy consumption. Another aspect of reducing energy consumption relates to the field of green building, in terms of the quality of construction and building materials, and the building insulation aimed at saving energy and power. In Israel this subject is under the Israeli Standard 5281 and in the world we find different well-known LEED ICC - 700 standards. We can advise you optimally how to prepare accordingly. 

The Clean Air Act which defines the term "air pollutant" states that this definition includes any substance that causes or may cause climate change. This setting along with the blanket prohibition on pollutant emissions that may cause unreasonable high air pollution completely changes the legal situation in Israel and imposes for the first time a legal duty to actively strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Israel's legal position on global warming is also affected by international ity environmental law. Our familiarity with International agreements, with the Climate Change Convention of 1992 and with the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 which regulates the trade in emissions of greenhouse gases and the rules implementing this trade in the world, will enable us to accompany you to register projects for carbon reduction - CDMs - first at the national committee mechanism for clean development and then at the Secretariat of the UN Convention, to prepare for the issue of emissions trading and to make assessments through other mechanisms, or take preparatory measures in view of future carbon taxation and local restrictions on air pollutant discharge. 

Since the ability to demonstrate compliance with the threshold to enter the CDM mechanism will also depend on the duties imposed under the laws, permits and licenses such as the Clean Air Act, or the business license stipulations, our familiarity with Israeli environmental legislation will be used to carry out a preliminary assessment of the project feasibility. 

International environmental law does not consist only of the law found in treaties but also of environmental law practices. A practice is created when most countries in the world consistently behave in a certain way. Customary rules obligate all countries regardless of whether a particular country has acceded or signed the agreement. In other words practice, when recognized as such, becomes automatically part of the legal system in the world.

Concerning greenhouse gases we can say that an international custom was created by countries of the world to take into account the legislation, judgments and the conduct of daily decision making processes relating to climate change considerations. Examples are numerous environmental impact statements with reference to issues of greenhouse gas emissions, planning committees which condition granting building permits with planting of replacement trees, demand for carbon adsorption at the same rate or more when seeking to carry out a plan which requires to cut down trees.

We also witness the development of enforceable commercial negotiations when participating in international tenders, which show the overall policy of accurate inventory of greenhouse gas emissions and realistic plans for reducing emissions. Investment funds, stock exchange authorities and insurance companies are other factors that require corporations to take part in the infrastructural issue, both through the transmission of accurate information about emissions and the damage caused and through programs to reduce emissions. 

All the above, together with the claims filed nowadays against the world environmental authorities and against companies ("Climate Change Claims") on the grounds of lack of carbon emission regulations and of causing environmental damage, cannot leave the industries that emit greenhouse gases indifferent and in a business-as-usual state. Our firm has extensive experience in supporting, advising and representing corporations, among the largest of the kind, in preventive assessments and internal compliance processes in response to environmental risks, which can affect them and their directors strategically.