Proposed regulations clarify FEOC restrictions and clean vehicle tax credit compliance for manufacturers aiming to produce eligible EVs.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Jim Cole, Eli M. Katz, Qingyi Pan, Rob Thompson, J. Dylan White, and Sam Wong

As countries around the world accelerate the transition to clean energy, the race to gain shares in the electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing market is intensifying, with global sales of EVs rising 31% in 2023.[1]

To facilitate increased

New report raises social cost of carbon estimates, surpassing previous estimates by more than 250%.

By Joshua Bledsoe, Kevin Homrighausen, and John Detrich

On December 2, 2023, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a final report that substantially increases estimates of the social cost of greenhouse gases (GHG), including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide (collectively, SC-GHG). The report describes SC-GHG as “the monetary value of the net harm to society from emitting one metric ton of that GHG into the atmosphere in a given year.”[1] The new estimates are intended to serve as a tool for decision-makers, aiding in the cost-benefit analysis of actions that would reduce or increase GHG emissions. Indeed, federal agencies are expected to use the estimates in future rule-makings and in the environmental review of forthcoming projects.

Goods imported into the UK from countries with a lower or no carbon price will face a levy by 2027.

By Paul A. Davies, Michael D. Green, and James Bee

On 18 December 2023, the UK government announced a proposal for a new carbon border adjustment mechanism (UK CBAM). The announcement follows extensive consultation earlier this year on possible measures to mitigate carbon leakage risks and aims to support the UK’s decarbonisation efforts.

The UK has made a number of decarbonisation commitments including reaching net zero by 2050. These commitments to decarbonise can be undermined by “carbon leakage”, in which production of goods and associated emissions move from a jurisdiction with more ambitious climate policies (which add costs to carbon-intensive processes) to another jurisdiction with less ambitious policies, resulting in an overall negative impact on the carbon intensity of the processes/goods themselves. The UK CBAM (or other form of carbon tax) seeks to address this issue by aiming to put a fair price on the carbon emitted during the production of certain carbon-intensive goods entering the UK.

The agency’s two recent actions introduce enhanced restrictions on hydrofluorocarbons and provide a series of compliance dates for industry stakeholders.

By Stacey VanBelleghem and Jennifer Garlock

On October 5, 2023, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two rules, one final and one proposed, to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 (AIM Act). The agency’s recent actions represent major steps in the Biden administration’s goal to significantly reduce HFCs over the next decade.

HFCs are a group of chemical refrigerants and potent greenhouse gasses (GHGs), commonly used in foam products, cooling systems, aerosols, and fire suppressants. International focus on managing these compounds sharpened in the 1980s, when countries agreed in the Montreal Protocol to shift global markets away from the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) — the then dominant strain of refrigerant and aerosol chemicals — toward HFCs. Although HFCs are less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, they have global warming potential (GWP) values (a figure that allows comparison of relative climate impact of a GHG) hundreds or thousands times higher than carbon dioxide (CO2), which has a GWP equal to 1. In 2016, nearly 200 countries adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol agreeing to a global phasedown of production and use of HFCs. The US ratified that amendment on October 31, 2022.

The second version includes guidance on metrics and how companies can conduct dependency and impact evaluation.

By Paul A. DaviesMichael D. Green, Austin J. Pierce, and James Bee

On 28 June 2022, the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) released version 0.2 of its framework for nature-related risk and opportunity management and disclosure (the Framework). The announcement builds on the release of the first iteration in March 2022, which was broadly received positively by market participants in a public feedback process hosted on the TNFD website.

The TNFD was established to develop a risk management and disclosure framework for organisations to report and act on evolving nature-related risks, with the ultimate aim of supporting a shift in global financial flows away from nature-negative outcomes and toward nature-positive outcomes. As the name may suggest, the TNFD has based much of its fundamental structure, including many aspects of the core disclosure recommendations, on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). The TNFD hopes that the Framework will therefore have the market impact that the TCFD recommendations have had in the climate space, and provide a basis by which companies can represent their natural capital-linked risks and opportunities in a clear and comparable manner for investors.

The action marks the clearance of another significant hurdle toward BOEM’s offshore wind lease sales in federal waters offshore California, anticipated to occur this fall.

By Nikki Buffa, Jennifer K. Roy, Janice M. Schneider, Brian McCall, and Julie Miles

In the first half of 2022, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has moved swiftly toward the first offshore wind lease sales in California, currently anticipated to occur in the fall. BOEM has identified a total of five proposed leases across two areas — the Humboldt Wind Energy Area (WEA) and the Morro Bay WEA. In April 2022, BOEM issued a Consistency Determination for the Morro Bay WEA — as required by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Federal Consistency Regulations — and, just last week, the California Coastal Commission (the Commission) conditionally concurred with this determination.

CARB addresses California’s increasingly severe climate impacts.

By Joshua T. Bledsoe and Kevin Homrighausen

On May 10, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its Draft 2022 Scoping Plan Update (Draft Scoping Plan) for public review and comment. Assembly Bill 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, requires CARB to develop and update every five years a scoping plan that describes the approach California will take to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to achieve the goal of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Senate Bill 32 subsequently strengthened the state’s GHG emissions reductions target to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Latham & Watkins’ first post in this series discusses CARB’s Proposed Scenario to achieve the state’s GHG targets, which adopts a carbon neutrality target for 2045. The second post discusses how the Cap-and-Trade Program features in the Draft Scoping Plan. The third post discussed how California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Program factors into the state’s GHG reduction goals and how the LCFS Program may be amended in the near future. This fourth and final post describes how the Draft Scoping Plan responds to some of California’s most significant climate impacts, like wildfires, drought, and extreme heat.