A Plain Dealer article examines the new legal specialty of global warming law. The speciality was fueled by a recent Supreme Court decision which held that the EPA may regulate greenhouse gas emissions. See Massachusetts v. EPA (Apr. 2, 2007), Case No. 05-1120. Cleveland law firm McMahon DeGulis specializes in this area, and advises clients on federal, state and local regulations regarding carbon pollution. There are many other legal issues involved, such as how the risks associated with climate change can be insured.
Lawyers specializing in this new area can help answer legal questions concerning carbon "credits". At the Chicago Climate Exchange, businesses can buy and sell greenhouse gas units. Companies that are under their quota of carbon pollution may sell these credits, and companies that have exceeded their quota can buy them. Countries who have adopted the Kyoto Protocol require companies that have exceeded their standards to buy carbon offsets. The United States may adopt this "cap and trade" system. There are many legal issues involved in carbon trading, such as what kind of property rights attach to a credit.
See Global-Warming Threat Can Pose Legal Risks, and Firms See a Niche by Alison Grant, The Plain Dealer, May 16, 2007; What's at Issue, The Plain Dealer, May 16, 2007.