Making it legal

Many law firms are actively engaged in making the fight against global warming a legal imperative. Firms such as the U.S.-based Baker & McKenzie offer to help government clients worldwide develop climate change laws and regulations. Firms also offer services on carbon markets, carbon-offset projects, and trading emissions. The legal framework for such projects, even those outside government regulations, requires careful drafting.

$tWs But beyond the services they offer, law firms are businesses like any other. They have an impact through the energy they use and the paper waste that they produce when they work with clients on important issues. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American Bar Association have partnered up to address climate change issues through a voluntary program. They created the Law Office Climate Challenge (www.abanet.org/environ/climatechallenge). The program has over 60 law firms signed on to one of three commitments:

I Buying renewable energy I Lowering the amount of waste produced I Cutting office energy use by at least 10 percent

All the actions in this simple and effective program can help reduce the law profession's carbon footprint.

Farming and forestry are uniquely posed to make a difference in the fight to stop global warming. Like all industries, they can cut back on their greenhouse gas emissions by improving their energy efficiency and moving to sustainable energy sources. But what makes them truly exceptional is that they can actually increase how much carbon dioxide is absorbed from the natural greenery and soils under their management. Talk about a global warming one-two punch! How agriculture and forestry use the land has created a third of global greenhouse gas emissions — which means that these industries can become a huge part of the solution to climate change.

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