The U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2454 (“ACES”), by a narrow margin on June 26, 2009. This is the first piece of major environmental legislation to pass either body of the Congress in 20 years. The main purposes of ACES is to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”) that contribute to global warming by, among other things, implementing a carbon “cap and trade” system, encouraging development of renewable energy sources, requiring a carbon capture and sequestration program for coal-fired energy sources and imposing energy efficiency standards. The legislative process has now moved to the U.S. Senate which is taking up its own climate change regulation. The leaders of the House and Senate have expressed the intention to have a vote on final legislation by the end of 2009. The final form of any legislation will no doubt be different in some respects from ACES. However, since ACES is … [Read more...] about Understanding the Federal Climate Change Legislation: The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, H.R. 2454
Greenhouse gases climate change
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) on September 22, 2009 released final regulations that require a large number of facilities, manufacturers and product suppliers in the United States to keep track of and report to EPA their emissions of greenhouse gases (“GHGs”). EPA has estimated that these regulations (the “GHG Reporting Rule”) will apply to the sources of approximately 85% of all GHG emissions in the United States. The GHG Reporting Rule will be effective 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The recordkeeping requirements will commence on January 1, 2010, with GHG emissions reports to be filed (for most covered facilities and operations) annually starting in 2011.Background of the GHG Reporting RuleEPA under the Bush Administration declined to regulate carbon dioxide (the principal GHG) as an air pollutant under the Clean Air Act for a number of reasons, including uncertainties in climate science, the … [Read more...] about EPA’S FINAL GREENHOUSE GAS REPORTING RULE: A KEY PIECE OF THE EMERGING FEDERAL REGULATORY REGIME ON CLIMATE CHANGE
Yet again, climate law watchers – those who want greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions further reduced, as well as those who would be most affected by additional air regulations – are holding their breath, waiting for the Supreme Court to issue its decree. Four years ago, such watchers waited with bated breath as the high court considered the issue of whether GHG emissions from vehicles could be regulated under the Clean Air Act. The result? The seminal April 2, 2007 Massachusetts v. EPA decision, which shifted the regulatory landscape in the U.S. by paving the way for greenhouse gas emissions to be regulated for the first time. Because of the Massachusetts decision, vehicle manufacturers and large utilities and manufacturers – including entities who never have been subjected to air restrictions before – now face regulation of their GHG emissions. The regulatory landscape has vastly changed. Now … [Read more...] about Can I Sue My Neighbor Under Nuisance Law for Contributing to Climate Change? The Supreme Court’s AEP vs. Connecticut: A Case of “What Will Kennedy Decide”?
In a much-publicized decision in 2007, the Supreme Court ruled that the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is authorized to regulate greenhouse gases (GHGs) through the Clean Air Act. Massachusetts v. EPA, 549 U.S. 497 (2007). A slew of recent cases have rejected plaintiffs’ attempts to assert common law claims for damages based on the consequences of past emissions of GHGs. The courts generally have found that USEPA has occupied the role of regulating GHGs, and challenges to the agency’s actions must be brought through the appropriate administrative channels. As the Supreme Court weighs whether to grant certiorari in the Coal. for Responsible Regulation, Inc., et al. v. EPA, No. 09-1322 (D.C. Cir. June 26, 2012), the case that addresses four USEPA GHG rules, the Supreme Court may have difficulty in changing course from the idea that GHGs should be regulated pursuant to the Clean Air Act.Comer v. Murphy Oil et al., No. 12-60291 (5th Cir. May 14, … [Read more...] about Is Regulation of Greenhouse Gases Through the Clean Air Act Becoming “Too Big to Fail”?
The US Government Accountability Office (GAO), the federal government’s non-partisan internal auditor, has jumped into the climate change fray, arguing that the federal government must improve how it is addressing the effects of climate change, in addition to and irrespective of any actions taken to prevent or reverse it. In two reports issued earlier this year, the GAO describes shortcomings in federal efforts to address the “significant financial risks” from climate change and recommends both macro and micro level changes to address these risks. The first of the two reports is the biennial update to GAO’s list of federal programs and operations at “high risk” for waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement or needing broad-based transformation (High Risk List). The High Risk List was originally compiled in 1990 and is released at the start of each new Congress to help in setting oversight agendas. An issue is added to the High Risk List if … [Read more...] about US Government Accountability Office (GAO) Advocates for Increased Attention on Adapting to the Effects of Climate Change
In part II of our Air Update we address the following recent developments related to the regulation of greenhouse gases:Massachusetts became the ninth—and most recent—state to adopt stricter air standards under the RGGI. We wrote about New York’s adaptation earlier this year.European Parliament froze the number of pollution allowances in order to increase the prices of carbon credits on Europe’s Emissions Trading System.The Chinese Government released its first climate change adaptation strategy, which provides strategies for coping with the effects of climate change (but not strategies to avoid it).Stanford survey shows most Americans believe in climate change and want the government to do something about it.Massachusetts Amends Regulations to Further Reduce Carbon EmissionsOn December 6, 2013, Massachusetts became the latest member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (“RGGI”) to adopt new regulationsseeking to reduce carbon … [Read more...] about Air Regulation Update – Part II Re: Greenhouse Gases
I. IntroductionIn 2009, the heads of the national science academies in the U.S., UK, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Italy, China, South Africa, and Russia signed a joint statement stating that climate change is anthropogenic and is occurring at a much faster rate than previously anticipated.[i] Despite the serious environmental and public health effects the planet is due to face as a result of climate change, the U.S. has yet to fully mobilize and address climate change.For the most part, climate change has been framed as an environmental problem. It has become more political with time, and has also become a legal and economical problem. Climate change cannot only be a problem for environmentalists because it will affect the entire population. Paul Epstein, a doctor and one of the authors ofChanging Planet, Changing Health recalled a trip to Rio de Janeiro for what would later become the first Earth summit. At the summit, one of the delegates asked him and … [Read more...] about Reframing Climate Change: A Public Health-based Climate Change Framework
During his recent visit to China, President Obama reached a “historic” agreement with China regarding each country’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs) to combat climate change. President Obama announced the United States would strive for a more aggressive goal of reducing GHGs by 26-28% by 2025, surpassing the previous goal of cutting GHGs by 17%. However, with both houses of Congress coming under Republican control in 2015, the prospects of federal legislation addressing climate change are remote. Therefore, the President must rely upon the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to continue to lead federal efforts to address climate change through rulemaking. EPA recently issued two rulemaking actions targeting the oil and gas industry.On November 13, 2014, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed a prepublication version of proposed regulations that would require oil and gas operators to collect and report additional GHG emission data. EPA-HQ-OAR-2014-0831; … [Read more...] about Expect More Regulation of Methane & GHGs (Greenhouse Gases)
On Tuesday, President Obama described his administration's plans for addressing climate change in a speech at Georgetown University. "The question is not whether we need to act," said the President. "The question is whether we will have the courage to act before it's too late." Not surprisingly, the centerpiece of his climate change proposal is reducing carbon dioxide missions from power plants. Under its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule, the EPA has been collecting emissions data since 2010. In his speech, Obama challenged EPA to develop carbon dioxide emission standards for existing coal and gas-fired plants by 2015. EPA is then expected to require emissions reductions under its GHG Tailoring Rule, which subjects greenhouse gases (GHG) to permitting under the Clean Air Act. The Tailoring Rule has been in effect since the start of 2011, but EPA has not -- up to this point -- required significant reductions in GHG emissions through … [Read more...] about President Obama Outlines Approach for Addressing Climate Change
India has been declared the worst hit country by climate change at the conference in Peru on climate change. The report released at the conference took note of the natural disasters faced by India. The two weeks of talks in Peru are intended to deliver a draft text to be adopted in Paris next year that will commit countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions without compromising the economic development of poor countries. USA and China have that they would work together to cut carbon pollution. Under the deal, China committed to cap its output of carbon pollution by 2030 or earlier and to increase its use of zero emission energy to 20% by 2030. The US agreed to reduce its emissions by between 26% and 28% from their 2005 levels by 2025.All eyes are now on the delegation from India the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. India is a signatory to the Rio Declaration. Further Article 48 A of the Constitution of India says the state shall endeavor to protect the … [Read more...] about Issues of Climate Change: on the international and National Agenda, NGT has sought a response from the Centre, States and Union Territories about the measures adopted to check climate change