Environment, Land & Resources

FRC Launches Consultation on the Future of Corporate Reporting

Posted in Environmental Regulation

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council aims to develop a principles-based framework for corporate reporting.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published a discussion paper, “A Matter of Principles — The Future of Corporate Reporting,” that aims to “provide thought leadership for the future of corporate reporting and explore ideas for a new model, challenging the status quo”. The paper, published on 7 October 2020, builds on previous independent reviews and reform proposals by the FRC. Continue Reading

Medicare Seeks to Ensure Repayment in Toxic Tort and Personal Injury Settlements

Posted in Environmental Litigation

Companies and their attorneys risk monetary penalties and DOJ enforcement if they fail to ensure that toxic tort and personal injury plaintiffs reimburse Medicare.

By Christine Rolph, Taiga Takahashi, and Holly Bainbridge

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has filed numerous enforcement actions against defendant companies and law firms based on an alleged failure to reimburse the government for its share of personal injury and toxic tort settlements, pursuant to the Medicare Secondary Payer Act (MSP Act), as amended by Section 111 of the Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007.[1] Medicare now seeks to enhance its enforcement of penalties for non-compliance, proposing a rule that implements the MSP Act’s reporting requirements. Under the MSP Act, inaccurate reporting of settlements, judgments, or other payments made to Medicare beneficiaries may result in a civil monetary penalty up to US$1,000 per day per Medicare beneficiary.

The new rule, if finalized, would provide guidance on how and when penalties should be assessed, as well as facilitate increased government monitoring of compliance. The clear message to all parties in toxic tort and personal injury litigation is to investigate whether any plaintiffs are Medicare recipients and, if so, to ensure full compliance with the reporting and reimbursement requirements in the MSP Act. Continue Reading

China Pledges to Become Carbon Neutral by 2060

Posted in China

President Xi Jinping promises to reduce carbon emissions in speech before the UN General Assembly.

By Paul A. Davies, Michael D. Green, R. Andrew Westgate, and Jacqueline J. Yap

On 22 September 2020, during a speech before the UN General Assembly, President Xi Jinping announced China’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060 and reaffirmed China’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to peak its carbon emissions by 2030. China is the world’s largest greenhouse gas (GHG) polluter and emitted approximately 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2018, according to the Global Carbon Project. Given this, China’s commitment to become carbon neutral by 2060 would significantly reduce global GHG emissions and set the stage for China’s development of a green economy. Continue Reading

European Commission Updates 2030 Climate Target to Cut Emissions by 55%

Posted in European Environmental and Public Law

The Commission’s 2030 Climate Target Plan sets out required actions for a number of sectors.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 17 September 2020, the European Commission (Commission) presented its 2030 Climate Target Plan, which calls for a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target of at least 55%, compared to 1990 levels; sets out required actions for a number of sectors; and identifies key changes to be made to existing legislation.

To announce the 2030 Climate Target Plan, the Commission released a Communication, a synopsis report that analyses responses to previous consultations, and an impact plan. Continue Reading

Climate Assembly UK Publishes 2050 Net Zero Target Recommendations

Posted in Environmental Regulation, European Environmental and Public Law

The UK citizens’ assembly identifies overarching principles and makes specific recommendations for achieving the environmental goal.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green


The Climate Assembly UK has published its report on how the UK can achieve its statutory target for net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The report, which was released on 10 September 2020, followed more than a month of weekend meetings (some of which took place remotely due to the pandemic). Participants underwent a three-stage process of learning, discussion, and decision-making.

Comprising 108 members of the public, the citizens’ assembly was commissioned in June 2019 by six Select Committees of the House of Commons, including the Environmental Audit and Business Energy and Industrial Strategy. The House of Commons sponsored the initiative, with two philanthropic organisations providing additional funding and not-for-profit organisations organising the assembly

Continue Reading

California to Require 100% Zero-Emission Passenger Vehicle Sales by 2035

Posted in California, Environmental Regulation

The Governor has issued an Executive Order with sweeping implications for the oil and gas industry and others.

By Jean-Philippe Brisson, Joshua T. Bledsoe, Nikki Buffa, and Brian F. McCall

On September 23, 2020, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Executive Order N-79-20, which will have sweeping implications for the oil and gas industry, automakers, low-carbon fuel producers, the logistics industry, and public transit agencies, among others (the Executive Order). Newsom announced the Executive Order against the backdrop of what he called “simultaneous crises,” none of which he argued is more impactful and forceful as the climate crisis. The press conference included Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board (CARB), standing before a small fleet of zero-emission vehicles.

In what will likely be viewed as the most far-reaching measure, the Executive Order requires all passenger vehicle sales starting in 2035 to have zero emissions — a mandate that essentially bans sales of new internal-combustion-powered passenger vehicles in California. As discussed below, the Executive Order raises several significant issues. Continue Reading