Air Quality and Climate Change

As part of the European Green Deal ambitions, the proposal encourages sustainable consumption through additional incentives to repair products to reduce waste and emissions.

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

On 22 March 2023, the European Commission (Commission) adopted a new proposal on common rules promoting the repair of goods (the Proposal). The Proposal seeks to deliver on the environmental targets outlined in the European Green Deal, specifically regarding sustainable consumption, by increasing consumer incentives to repair products rather than replace them, especially after a product’s legal guarantee under the EU’s Sale of Goods Directive has expired. The Proposal will therefore aim to create growth in the market for refurbished products, furthering the Green Deal ambition of promoting a circular economy.

The proposals form part of the Green Deal Industrial Plan and aim to scale up technology and materials for the energy transition.

By Paul A. Davies, Beatrice Lo, JP Sweny, Alexander Buckeridge-Hocking, Michael D. Green, and James Bee

On 16 March 2023, the European Commission (Commission) formally proposed two legislative initiatives and announced the development of a European Hydrogen Bank as part of its program to enhance the EU’s competitiveness in green technologies and support its transition towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The Plan aims to “simplify, accelerate and align incentives to preserve the competitiveness and attractiveness of the EU as an investment location for the net-zero industry”[1].

By Paul A. DaviesMichael D. Green, and James Bee

On 1 February 2023, the European Commission (Commission) presented a proposal for a Green Deal Industrial Plan for the Net-Zero Age (the Plan). The Plan forms part of the European Green Deal adopted in 2019, which sets out the EU’s green transition ambitions and climate targets towards reaching net zero by 2050. The Plan sits alongside other Green Deal initiatives, including the “Fit for 55” package of policies (which seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% from 1990 levels by 2030), as well as REPowerEU (introduced to reduce reliance on imported fossil fuels and provide clean and affordable energy).

The Plan is designed to support the scaling up of the EU’s net zero manufacturing capacities and installation of sustainable products and energy supplies, whilst also enhancing the competitiveness of Europe’s net zero industry. This Plan is particularly relevant in light of the US Inflation Reduction Act in the US, which aims to mobilise over $360 billion by 2032[2], and recent concerns in relation to energy security and energy prices in the EU.

The plan accelerates already ambitious climate goals for California and charts a course to carbon neutrality by 2045.

By Joshua Bledsoe, Jen Garlock, and Brian McCall

On December 15, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted its Final 2022 Scoping Plan for Achieving Carbon Neutrality (Final Scoping Plan). Assembly Bill (AB) 32 requires CARB to develop and update every five years a scoping plan that describes the approach California will take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to combat climate change. AB 32 originally set a target of reducing emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. After California met this goal, Senate Bill (SB) 32 strengthened the state’s GHG reduction target to at least 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. California committed to even greater targets this year with adoption of AB 1279, which directs the state to become carbon neutral no later than 2045.

The 2020 wildfire season alone released more carbon dioxide than what California reduced through years of emission cuts.

By Marc Campopiano and Joshua Bledsoe

California is a recognized leader in climate policy, but a wildfire crisis is threatening to unwind progress towards the state’s ambitious climate goals. In 2006, with the passage of AB 32, California set a then-unprecedented target of reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) to 1990 levels by the year 2020. Having achieved this goal, California dramatically upped the ante with the passage of SB 32, requiring a 40% reduction of GHGs, and again earlier this year with AB 1279, which requires the state to become carbon neutral by 2045 or earlier. Despite notable progress to date, a recent university study found that GHGs emitted from California’s 2020 wildfire season alone equated to more than double of all the GHG reductions the state achieved since 2003.[1]

California continues to push toward its statewide carbon-neutrality goals.

By Arthur F. Foerster and Joshua Bledsoe

On August 25, 2022, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) unanimously approved regulations that require all new 2035 and later passenger vehicles to be zero-emission vehicles. The agency’s “Advanced Clean Cars II” regulations require manufacturers to deliver an increasing percentage of zero-emission vehicles each year, starting with 35% of new vehicle sales for cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs in 2026, and ramping up each year to reach 100% new vehicle sales by 2035.[1]

Governor Newsom introduces five ambitious proposals that could alter California’s climate policy for years to come.

By JP Brisson, Nikki Buffa, Marc Campopiano, Jennifer Roy, Michael Dreibelbis, Aron Potash, and Alicia Robinson

On August 12, 2022, California Governor Gavin Newsom submitted five climate proposals (the Climate Proposals) to the California legislature in the waning days of California’s legislative cycle. In his statement following the transmittal, Newsom explained that “[w]e’re taking all of these major actions now in the most aggressive push on climate this state has ever seen because later is too late.”[1]