Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ALI-ABA April 15th Conference Call on Adaptation

ALI-ABA Forum on Strategic Adaptation to Climate Change Offers Opportunities for Environmental Community

Philadelphia, PA……The American Law Institute-American Bar Association is jointly sponsoring a 90-minute audio webcast addressing strategic adaptation to climate change on April 15, 2009 from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET. This program was designed for attorneys and business professionals who seek opportunities to gain a competitive advantage in business transactions through the use of cost-effective and forward-thinking approaches to climate change adaptation. 

Experts on the April 15, 2009 forum include: 


  • Ari G. Altman, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Washington, D.C.

  • Carl Bruch, Senior Attorney and Co-Director, International Programs, Environmental Law Institute, Washington, D.C.

  • John D. Echeverria, Director, Environmental Law and Policy Institute, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.

  • E. Donald Elliott, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, Washington, D.C.; Adjunct Professor, Yale Law School and Georgetown University Law Center

  • Mary Kelly, Vice President, Rivers and Deltas, Environmental Defense Fund, Austin, Texas

  • Charles A. Menzie, Ph.D., Principal Scientist and Practice Director, EcoSciences, Exponent, Inc., Alexandria, Virginia


The following topics will be addressed:


Disaster Coverage and Related Maladaptation: Mr. Echeverria will discuss past or current government programs that may have led to maladaptation to climate change (e.g., flood and wind insurance), as well as potential policy changes that may better incentivize corporate investments that take into account climate change.


Water Scarcity Considerations: Ms. Kelly will discuss the issue of water scarcity as it may affect industry. In many areas of the country, models predict that climate change could exacerbate water scarcity and allocation issues. In some areas of the country, the challenge is compounded by population growth and other changes in demand

patterns, as well as water laws and institutions that were designed largely in the early 20th century. Ms. Kelly’s presentation will briefly lay out the scope of the issues and discuss possible solutions for more flexible water management and allocation that could help meet these challenges.


Zoning, Building Codes, and Property Transactions: Mr. Bruch's presentation will examine ways that climate change may drive the change of zoning laws, building codes, and property transactions, particularly in coastal zones. Considering the significant risks and uncertainty, the use of adaptive management will also be considered.

Mr. Bruch will also highlight some of the potential challenges, including takings claims.


The Challenges of Climate Change in Business: Mr. Elliott will discuss the challenges that private companies face in adapting to climate change and the regulatory regimes (both those already in place and anticipated) to address climate change, based on a recent review of their SEC disclosures. This includes physical exposure (storm damage and supply chain issues), changing factor prices for energy, water and other inputs, as well as regulatory, reputational, and litigation exposures and strategic and market opportunities. He will then outline steps that some leading companies can take to plan for and address these challenges and opportunities.


Risk and Economic Modeling: Mr. Menzie will discuss his work in risk and economic modeling, with an emphasis on estimating potential costs faced by companies in varying industries due to climate change.

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