Climate Change

Climate change has become one of the most pressing environmental issues in California and the nation, and the law is rapidly evolving to address it. SMW has represented public agencies and community groups in the ongoing development of regulatory programs to control greenhouse gas emissions, in litigation, and in addressing climate change in environmental impact documents. Firm members are frequently asked to speak at conferences about climate change mitigation and adaptation policy and have published articles on those subjects. Examples of the firm’s climate change work include the following:

Los Angeles County
  • Stockton General Plan: After initiating a CEQA challenge to the City of Stockton’s 2035 General Plan, the firm negotiated a landmark settlement agreement with the City and the California Attorney General, which requires the City’s preparation of a Climate Action Plan, including specific policies and programs to meet greenhouse gas reduction targets within the City.
  • Marin County: The firm advised the County in updating its Countywide Plan, which received national recognition for its innovative policies on climate change, and in preparing the Environmental Impact Report for the Plan, which included both analysis and mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32): The firm assisted in the drafting of this historic legislation and has represented clients in California Air Resources Board proceedings to develop regulations under the Act.
  • Clean Air Act Litigation: The firm filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the National Council of Churches in support of the petitioners in Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007), in which the Supreme Court invalidated the EPA’s refusal to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles under the federal Clean Air Act.
  • Forest Project Protocol: SMW represented the Pacific Forest Trust in the development of state guidelines for calculating greenhouse gas emission reductions from forest conservation projects.
  • City of Richmond: The firm is advising the City on design and implementation of a leading-edge greenhouse gas restriction for the Chevron Richmond Refinery.