Cornerstone Climate Month: Training and Insights on Climate and the Law

01 May 2024 to 31 May 2024


Over 25 expert speakers





The risks and opportunities from climate change are relevant to clients across all legal sectors. In an era where the impacts of climate change are increasingly felt, the legal community has a pivotal role to play.

Recognising the urgent need for specialised training in these areas, Cornerstone Climate Month offers a suite of events covering many aspects of climate change and the law.

Designed to upskill and inform, this event is for anyone in the legal profession seeking to deepen their understanding of environmental law and its relevance to their practice.

Click ‘programme’ below to view the full training schedule.

What’s on Offer?

For a nominal fee of £10 plus VAT, participants will gain access to an exceptional lineup of at least 10 hours of online training and access to an in-person event, plus follow-up written resources. Topics covered in this training include:

  • Climate Change: The Basics
  • UK Progress towards Net Zero
  • The Energy Transition
  • Carbon Capture, Use and Storage
  • Climate Litigation in the Civil Courts
  • Greenwashing and Ecocide
  • ESG and Real Estate
  • Green Finance
  • Climate in Planning Policy and Plan Making
  • Development Management: Climate as a Material Consideration
  • Retrofitting Existing Buildings
  • Ecocide
  • The Right to Protest
  • Human Rights and Climate Change

These topics will be delivered by barristers with expertise across Cornerstone Climate’s disciplines, with some sessions also including distinguished external speakers.

Join Us

Cornerstone Climate Month is an unmissable opportunity for legal professionals to enhance their understanding and capacity to address the critical challenges of our time. With up to three webinars a week throughout May, and supplementary resources, this event promises to be a cornerstone in climate training for the legal sector.

Register here.

  • Programme

    Introduction to Climate Change and the Law: the Basics

    01 May 2024, 10:00 am to 11:00 am

    What is “net zero”? Is there such thing as “climate law”? How does national policy plan for the climate emergency?

    Harriet Townsend, Jack Barber and Verity Bell will introduce the key definitions, principles and frameworks involving climate change and the law, with a view to answering some of the questions you feel like you should know the answer to but have been too afraid to ask!

    Policy-making: How to Plan for Net Zero

    07 May 2024, 10:00 am to 11:00 am

    The recent Salt Cross Garden Village judicial review found that an Inspectors’ Report watering down the net zero policies in a draft Area Action Plan was unlawful.

    Josef Cannon KCRuchi Parekh and Jack Barber will analyse the decision, both as to its interesting procedural aspects but also as a jumping-off point to consider how we can plan for a net-zero future, exploring the kinds of policies that might be appropriate for inclusion in development plan documents.

    Climate Change as a Material Consideration: Dead Letter or Burning Issue?

    09 May 2024, 10:00 am to 11:00 am

    In this presentation, Cornerstone Climate members explore the relevance of climate change to decision-making in planning law. They will cover a range of topics including:

    • requirements of the NPPF and other Government policy statements
    • the evolving legal position according to the English courts
    • recent appeal decisions in which inspectors have had to confront this thorny but significant issue

    With: Ryan Kohli, Alex Williams, and Rowan Clapp

    Criminal and Regulatory Responses to Climate Change: Ecocide and Greenwashing

    10 May 2024, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

    This session covers two rapidly developing areas of response to climate change in the criminal and regulatory arenas. Ecocide means unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge that there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long-term damage to the environment being caused by those acts. The session will cover:

    • The meaning of ecocide and how it might work in practice as a crime, including as a corporate crime;
    • Proposals in England, Wales and Scotland, to introduce ecocide as a new criminal offence;
    • Steps taken in Europe, including Belgium becoming the first state to recognise ecocide as an international crime and the vote by the EU to criminalise the most serious cases of environmental damage that are “comparable to ecocide”;
    • The work at international level to include ecocide within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court

    Greenwashing is the term applied to environmental claims, usually made by companies and organisations in the course of their promotional activities or in their corporate reporting, which wrongly create the impression that a product or service has a positive environmental impact or no impact on the environment. This has rapidly become a significant regulatory issue. The session will cover:

    • The development of new rules in the UK and Europe, addressing greenwashing, both in legislation and through steps by regulators;
    • Decisions in the UK by the Advertising Standards Agency (banning misleading green claims); the Competition and Markets Authority (taking enforcement action against greenwashing, particularly in the fashion industry) and the Financial Conduct Authority’s proposed package of new measures;
    • Anti-greenwashing complaints to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development UK National Contact Point.

    With: Gerard Forlin KC and Estelle Dehon KC

    The Energy Transition: Renewables

    13 May 2024, 10:00 am to 11:00 am

    A key aspect of addressing climate change is decarbonising the system of energy production. This webinar will introduce the energy transition, will ask what counts as a renewable technology and will provide an overview of the legal and regulatory issues in the UK around rolling out the technology.

    It will cover:

    • wind (onshore and offshore, fixed and floating);
    • solar (ground and building mounted);
    • tidal (stream and barrage);
    • geothermal; and
    • the contested renewables – nuclear and biomass.

    With: Estelle Dehon KC, Ryan Kohli and Olivia Davies

    UK Progress Towards Net Zero

    15 May 2024, 10:00 am to 11:00 am

    This training session will examine the government’s strategies on achieving net zero, examining how these strategies are interconnected and their overall adequacy in addressing the challenges of sustainability. This session will provide a thorough analysis of the government’s approach to the Net Zero Strategy (NZS), highlighting key policies and initiatives designed to propel the UK towards its climate goals.

    Gain insights into the coherence of current strategies and explore expert opinions on whether these plans are sufficient for meeting the  targets set forth.

    This webinar is essential for environmental professionals, policy makers, academics, and anyone interested in the effectiveness of national strategies aimed at combatting climate change.

    With: James Findlay KC, Nina Pindham and Rob Williams

    Power to the People: getting renewable energy from source to user

    20 May 2024, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Join us for an informative training session where we explore developments in the UK’s energy infrastructure with a focus on the National Grid’s pioneering efforts. Discover the current progress of the ‘Holistic Network Design’ and what the future holds beyond 2030. Dive into the critical topics of offshore transmission networks, including comprehensive reviews and route planning, alongside the newly updated suite of Energy National Policy Statements.

    Learn about the essentials of obtaining a Grid Supply Point, and the pivotal roles played by UK Power Networks in enhancing our grid’s efficiency and reliability. Additionally, we’ll discuss the transformative impact of Interconnectors and Multi-purpose Interconnectors on our energy landscape. The session will also cover the strategic considerations behind onshore routing and the advantages of undergrounding.

    With: Michael Bedford KC, Jonathan Clay, Asitha Ranatunga, and Olivia Davies

    Carbon Capture and Storage, including Nature Based Solutions

    21 May 2024, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm

    This session will introduce what “Carbon Capture and Storage” (CCS) and “Carbon Capture, Use and Storage” (CCUS) mean. It will cover:

    • how CCS and CCUS work, including various capture, transport and storage techniques;
    • the different applications of CCS and CCUS, including to electricity generation, oil and gas production and direct removal of carbon from the atmosphere;
    • the intersection with Nature Based Solutions, including how certificates of storage can be sold (inter)nationally.

    Finally, it will touch on some of the controversies that surround CCS and CCUS.

    Estelle Dehon KC will be joined by Professor Stuart Haszeldine (Professor of Carbon Capture and Storage, School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh)

    From Old to Gold: Policies, Plans, and Challenges in Retrofitting

    22 May 2024, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Join us for crucial training dedicated to the UK’s approach to retrofitting and energy efficiency, particularly within heritage assets. This session will unpack the national policies impacting retrofitting, delve into funding challenges, and explore how the industry is responding to these pressing issues.

    Learn about the innovative approaches local planning authorities (LPAs) are integrating into their local plans to promote energy efficiency and discourage unnecessary demolition. We will assess the effectiveness of both existing and emerging policies as tools for sustainable development. Special attention will be given to the unique challenges faced by heritage assets, including historic dwelling houses, and the specialised strategies required to preserve these valuable structures while enhancing their energy efficiency.

    This webinar is a must-attend for professionals in the construction and heritage conservation sectors, policymakers, and anyone interested in the intersections of sustainability, policy, and historic preservation.

    With Paul Shadarevian KC, Clare Parry and Emma Dring

    Climate Basics #2: The International Perspective

    23 May 2024, time TBA

    Join Jack Parker and Legal Response International for this training session that complements our first climate change basics session. Where our first session focuses on UK dimensions, this session with international climate experts will examine the international perspective.

    Financing the Green Transition

    28 May 2024, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm

    Does the global financial architecture need fundamental reform in order to finance the green transition, as many have argued? We will look at this through an equitable lens, focusing on Africa. African nations must be at the centre of reforms and global regulations and agreements cannot legitimately be shaped absent their input.

    In particular, there are calls for lower-income countries to have sufficient access to concessional finance through the World Bank’s IDA and reform of unsustainable debt, which is stopping many developing countries from investing in climate and conservation measures. We will host a panel of leading financial sector lawyers to discuss what can be done about it, including innovative lawyering where regulatory architecture hasn’t kept up with the necessary pace of change.

    With Nina Pindham plus guests

    Climate Change and the “Right” to Protest

    29 May 2024, 11:00 am to 12:00 pm
    This session will examine the extent of freedoms of speech and assembly and their restriction by injunctive remedies, Public Spaces Protection Orders and other civil and criminal powers.

    Litigating Climate Change in the Civil Courts: recent developments and future battlegrounds

    29 May 2024, 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm

    Looking beyond planning challenges, recent times have seen increasingly innovative efforts to enforce climate obligations via the civil courts, in the UK and abroad. Litigators, GCs and activists are intensely focused on just what the future might hold for such claims, a question the recent BIICL Report sought to provide an answer to.

    Alistair Cantor and David Welsh will review some of the exciting developments seen in UK and foreign civil courts to date, before looking forward to where we might see civil climate litigation move next and who might prove the victor on these battlegrounds of the future.

    ESG, Real Estate and Climate Change

    Date and time TBA

    This session will look into the regulation of rentals from an ESG perspective. More information to follow.

    Human Rights Implications of Climate Change

    30 May 2024, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

    We end Climate Month with a hybrid event with some in-person places. Our panel will consider climate change from a human rights perspective, and explore the wider implications of recent ECHR judgments that address critical intersections between climate change and human rights, including the ground-breaking judgment in Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz v Switzerland given on 9 April 2024.

    Join us for the drinks reception following this event, where you’ll be able to meet members of Cornerstone Climate and other participants in this month of learning. In-person tickets are made available to Climate Month delegates on a first come, first served basis.