Climate Change and Carbon Markets Practice

Climate change law and governance is a new and distinct area of legal practice. The novel requirements of the international legal regime have catalyzed exchanges between multiple legal practice areas, including tax, environmental, energy, commercial and administrative law as well as between climate scientific, technical and economic disciplines. This has driven a demand for regional and domestic legal and regulatory climate change responses and specialist expertise. Our practice was established in recognition of this evolving legal landscape; the increasingly complexity of climate change, carbon and environmental legal matters; and, the importance of climate and sustainability considerations for the future development of the African continent. For this reason, our advice draws on our extensive and multi-disciplinary legal expertise and reflects the cross-sectoral, dynamic and international nature of our work.

Since the year 2000, we have been responsible for some of the most significant climate and carbon legal work in South Africa and the Southern African sub-region. This area of law remains the backbone of our practice, and we continue to provide a full range of climate change, climate finance, carbon markets and carbon finance legal and strategic advice to the public and private sectors. We have assisted in the drafting of national climate change legislation; provided advice on emerging climate change policy frameworks; provided support and capacity building to national delegations participating in the international climate change negotiations; and provided climate change legal advice in related regulatory fields such as water and energy laws. We are invited members of a group of assembled by the UNFCCC’s Regional Collaboration Centre regarding carbon markets in the East African Community, (Kampala, Uganda) and we are also members of a number of climate change and carbon market related national bodies.

Environmental Legal Practice

At Climate Legal, we continue our historically strong general environmental legal practice, with our combined expertise representing more than 20 years of private sector legal experience. We are knowledgeable in all areas of environmental law, and have an in-depth understanding of the technical, scientific, business and operational aspects which underpin its implementation. We provide legal and strategic advice to a broad array of clientele including regional bodies, governments, project developers, financial institutions, communities, civil society and other stakeholders on a wide array of environmental media and issues. Specifically, we have expertise in the law and regulation applicable to water; air quality; waste management; environmental impact assessments; contaminated land; biodiversity and access and benefit sharing, protected areas; biosphere reserves; hazardous substances; the coastal zone and the marine environment. We also have particular expertise in the environmental laws applicable to power generation; oil and gas; mining; industrial and agricultural developments.

We have extensive experience in water law including the provision of advice on legislative reform to regional and national institutions; groundwater management; acid mine drainage; liability in shared catchments; the setting of water quality objectives and pollution thresholds; compliance directives; water tariffs and levies; water use licensing and regulatory advice regarding best practice water management. We have also worked with national bodies and industry in relation to a broad range of waste related matters, including advice to municipalities on alternative waste management and regulation; waste to energy facilities; mining residues and storage facility design; waste exemptions and exclusions; waste management systems and information management; and, the regulation of landfills.   Our expertise goes beyond environmental matters to include the community and social considerations of development, including advising on the concerns of interested and affected parties, social impact assessments, and mechanisms for benefit sharing.