Friday, January 25, 2008

Follow The Money....It Stinks Of Global Warming

And if you wonder where your money is going....this article may provide a clue. If you think doctors rake you over the coals......taking your last cent....consider lawyers.....

Lawyers Embrace U.S. Global-Warming
Practice at $700 an Hour
Lawyers are becoming some of the best-paid environmentalists. Twenty of the 100 highest-grossing U.S. law firms have started practices advising companies on climate change, according to a Bloomberg survey of the firms' Web sites. The attorneys help clients finance clean-energy projects and lobby Congress, typically billing $500 to $700 an hour.

Firms including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Heller Ehrman and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton joined the global warming cause as real-estate and structured-finance attorneys lost jobs to the worst U.S. housing slump in 27 years. The move into climate-change law is gaining traction as Congress considers a mandatory carbon market to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

``Since the elections last November, climate change has had a higher profile as a political issue,'' said Paul Gutermann, co- leader of Washington-based Akin Gump's group, which comprises 50 of the firm's 1,023 attorneys. Gutermann's team is helping clients including PG&E Corp. push U.S. lawmakers to establish a market that uses so-called carbon credits to penalize heavy polluters financially.

Senators John Warner and Joseph Lieberman introduced a bill inspired by Europe's carbon market, and attorneys predict some legislation will pass after President George W. Bush, who opposes mandatory caps on emissions, leaves office in a year. Global warming, driven by heat-trapping gases, is causing Arctic ice to melt and sea levels to rise, a United Nations panel of scientists said last year. International reaction has sparked interest in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, making energy use more efficient and adding to non-polluting power sources.

Baker & McKenzie, a Chicago-based firm with 3,335 lawyers, was a pioneer, creating a climate-change group a decade ago. It became profitable after two years, said Richard Saines, who heads the U.S. part of the practice. The 60-lawyer team brought in estimated revenue of $15 million to $20 million in 2007, Saines said. The firm's total revenue in 2006 was $1.52 billion, according to the trade magazine American Lawyer. ``We saw this as one of the key international-law issues that would affect U.S.-based multinationals,'' Saines said. ``And that is now the case.'' ....Climate-change attorneys also advise private-equity firms and hedge funds on clean-energy projects.

Worldwide investments in sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar and water power rose 43 percent to $70.9 billion in 2006, according to a UN report. Wind Projects In the U.S., more than $4 billion was invested in wind projects alone, according to Chadbourne's Zaelke, who specializes in financing and developing wind farms.

One of Zaelke's clients, John Deere Renewables, has invested more than $500 million since 2005 in community wind farms in seven states. The company, part of the financial services arm of Des Moines, Iowa-based Deere & Co., gets advice on supply agreements, project development and tax structures, said David Drescher, general manager of John Deere Wind Energy. "They've been to a lot of wind farms", Drescher said.More


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