Environment, Land & Resources

Sustainability Organisations Publish Draft Climate-Related Disclosure Standards

Posted in Environmental Regulation

Consortium provides prototype climate-related financial disclosure standards, following earlier pledge to collaborate.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

A group of leading sustainability and integrated reporting organisations has published a paper addressing standards for reporting on enterprise value and presenting prototypes of climate-related financial disclosure standards (the Paper). The co-authors include the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), the Climate Disclosure Standard Board (CDSB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) (the Organisations). The Organisations released the paper on 18 December 2020, several months after pledging to collaborate to provide market guidance on sustainability standards. Continue Reading

FCA Enhances Climate-Related Disclosures for Listed Companies

Posted in Environmental Regulation

New rule will require listed companies to state whether they have made disclosures in accordance with the TCFD.

By Paul A. Davies, Nicola Higgs, Chris Horton, and Michael D. Green

On 21 December 2020, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) confirmed in a published Policy Statement[1] (the Statement) that it will introduce a new Listing Rule (the Rule) requiring premium listed companies to state whether they have made disclosures pursuant to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, and if not, why.

The Rule comes in response to the FCA’s March 2020 Consultation Paper, under which the FCA sought to enhance climate-related disclosures by listed issuers and to clarify existing disclosure obligations. The Rule is a forerunner to the UK’s plan to fully align corporate disclosure with the TCFD by 2025. The Statement sets out that “better disclosure about organisations’ exposure to climate change risks and opportunities will lead to more informed pricing and drive investment towards greener projects and activities”, helping support net zero emissions ambitions. The FCA is hopeful that the implementation of TCFD-aligned disclosures will pave the way for an eventual international standard for corporate reporting that is also integrated with financial reporting. Continue Reading

European Commission Launches Consultation on Health and Safety at Work

Posted in Environmental Litigation

The consultation seeks to establish a strategic framework aimed at ensuring high standards of protection for workers.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 7 December 2020, the European Commission (EC or the Commission) launched a public consultation (the Consultation) on the new EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work for 2021-2027 (the Framework). The Consultation follows a Roadmap adopted by the EC in October 2020 and builds on the feedback received following the Roadmap’s consultation and regarding occupational safety and health (OSH) factors. Continue Reading

EPA Updates Aftermarket Defeat Device Enforcement Policy

Posted in Environmental Regulation, Uncategorized

EPA provides more detailed guidance on aftermarket safe zones while continuing to drive forward enforcement initiatives.

By Arthur F. Foerster

In 2019, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its “National Compliance Initiatives” (NCIs) for years 2020-2023. EPA sets NCIs for what the agency believes are “the most serious environmental violations.”[1] One of those NCIs is to eradicate aftermarket defeat devices on emissions control systems for vehicles and engines. In the last few years, EPA has dedicated increased enforcement resources to pursue those who violate the defeat device and tampering prohibitions found in Section 203(a)(3) of the Clean Air Act (CAA).[2] Even with the pandemic, EPA has resolved more than twenty aftermarket “defeat device” and tampering enforcement cases.[3] EPA personnel recently released a report that estimates emissions controls have been removed from more than 550,000 diesel pickup trucks in the last decade, resulting in more than a half-million excess tons of oxides of nitrogen (NOx).[4] EPA’s enforcement efforts are expected to continue. Continue Reading

UK to Establish Net Zero Emissions Trading Scheme

Posted in Air Quality and Climate Change, Power, Oil, Gas and Minerals

The newly published Energy White Paper establishes a domestic trading scheme and sets out plans to clean out energy. 

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 14 December 2020, the UK Government published its Energy White Paper (the Paper). The Paper builds on previous green economy plans, setting them “in a long-term strategic vision, […] consistent with net zero emissions by 2050”.

The Paper further details ambitions unveiled by the Prime Minister in mid-November, in his Ten Point Plan. Moreover, the Paper sheds more light on previously established initiatives, such as the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, previously set into law through the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020. Continue Reading

UK Climate Change Committee Publishes its 6th Carbon Budget

Posted in Environmental Regulation

The report lays down policies aimed at fostering carbon neutrality in the UK by 2050 and supporting Paris Agreement pledges.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 9 December 2020, the UK Climate Change Committee (the Committee) published its 6th Carbon Budget (the Budget), as required under the Climate Change Act. The Budget provides ministers with advice on the volume of greenhouse gases the UK can emit during the period 2033-2037 and also contains policies designed to place the UK on track to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Budget comes in the context of the UK bolstering its climate ambitions ahead of hosting the COP26 in Glasgow next year, as the Prime Minister has recently committed to cutting emissions by at least 68% from 1990 levels by 2030. The Government also published a ten-point plan aimed at boosting the green economy. Continue Reading

California Legislature Cannot Limit Judicial Review of Certain Power Projects

Posted in California, CEQA, Power, Oil, Gas and Minerals

California appeals court decision increases the potential for CEQA challenges to power plant projects under the CEC’s jurisdiction.

By Marc T. Campopiano, Charles C. Read, and Kevin A. Homrighausen

In Communities for a Better Environment v. Energy Resources Conservation & Development Commission, the California First District Court of Appeal recently held that the State Legislature violated the California Constitution by limiting the scope of judicial review for California Energy Commission (CEC) decisions involving power plant siting to the California Supreme Court. Although the California Constitution gives the Legislature express authority to limit the scope of judicial review for California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) decisions, the court found there is no similar authority regarding appeals of CEC decisions.

The Supreme Court has rarely, if ever, agreed to hear CEQA challenges of CEC power plant decisions. Now, developers seeking to construct new power plants or modify existing power plants under the CEC’s jurisdiction may see an increase in legal challenges — including California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) challenges — in California’s trial courts. As a result, CEQA challenges to power plants may closely resemble other land use challenges in the state. Continue Reading

European Commission Reports on Climate Change Progress

Posted in Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

A new report shows headway in reducing greenhouse gases and details the latest climate change policy developments.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 30 November 2020, the European Commission (EC) adopted the EU Climate Action Progress Report Kick-starting the journey towards a climate-neutral Europe by 2050 (the Report). The Report, which is produced annually, details recent developments in EU climate policy and progress made by the EU and its Member States. The EC’s Directorate-General for Climate Action compiles the Report based on data provided by Member States under the Climate Monitoring Mechanism Regulation. Continue Reading

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