Climate law & policy symposium opens door to new green opportunities

DETROIT, MI--Miller Canfield's recent "International Climate Law & Policy Symposium" has shed new light on issues surrounding the often controversial issues of climate change. Event presenters, which were comprised of opinion leaders, global corporate executives and university and government officials, demonstrated how green technologies and energy efficiency are becoming huge job and money producers impacting every business and organization.

"Companies and communities that seize these opportunities first, will do the best," said Shannon Fisk, symposium keynote speaker and climate law counsel at the Chicago office of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He provided several examples of how relatively small steps can produce huge changes in carbon footprint, such as the NRDC's steps toward improving the efficiency of vending machines, which if used nationwide, could save the equivalent of a 700-megawatt power plant.

A study by consulting firm McKinsey shows the U.S. could cut its greenhouse gas emissions from seven to 28 percent at a cost of $50 per ton or less, and 40 percent of those reductions would be a net savings from energy efficiency.

Richard J. Plewa, senior vice president and director of the Office of Corporate Sustainability at Comerica Bank, said the bank's decision to pursue sustainable practices has resulted in both decreased operating costs and corporate kudos on various lists of socially responsible businesses.

Miller Canfield's Mark J. Bennett, senior counsel, climate change practice team leader and symposium chairman said, "I was very pleased that we accomplished our goal in creating an interactive dialogue of all of the leading stakeholders in the climate change debate. We were able to integrate the perspectives of the business community, public interest groups, universities and government agencies in an open and honest dialogue. This resulted in further understanding of how 'win-win' solutions can be achieved in this area."

The symposium, which was hosted at Wayne State's Law School on April 14, attracted more than 125 attendees.

Bennett and symposium organizers will be analyzing the event's attendance and feedback in the coming weeks to determine how other similar programs may be offered in the future.

Miller Canfield's Climate Change team, comprised of lawyers throughout Michigan, as well as in Chicago, New York, Toronto, Mexico and Shanghai, advises clients from a global perspective and uses multi-disciplinary expertise to address and resolve new green issues, including research and development on carbon finance, renewable-energy corporate formation and green building and sustainable development. For more information, visit www. millercanfield. com/climatechange.

Published: Thu, Apr 29, 2010