greenhouse gas emissions

EPA’s action finalizes aggressive emission reduction targets for certain subcategories of fossil fuel-fired power plants, based on implementation of carbon capture and sequestration.

By Stacey L. VanBelleghem, Karl A. Karg, and Phil Sandick

This post is the first in a series on four key power plant rules that the Environmental Protection Agency recently released. It discusses the rule to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from certain electric generating units.

On April 25, 2024, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

The framework claims to set the “gold standard” for companies to contribute to the net zero transition while emphasising ambition, action, and accountability.

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

The UK Transition Plan Taskforce (TPT) launched its transition plan disclosure framework (the Framework) at the London Stock Exchange on 9 October 2023. The Framework encourages businesses to create transition plans for a low greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions economy. It also seeks to help companies and financial institutions create consistent and comparable disclosures on their climate transition plans.

While initially voluntary, the Framework is expected to become mandatory for certain entities in the UK through incorporation into regulatory frameworks.

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

The CBAM would seek to mitigate carbon leakage through the imposition of a levy on carbon-intensive imports into the EU, while free allowances under EU ETS would be phased out.

On 13 December 2022, negotiators from the European Parliament and European Council reached a provisional and conditional agreement on the terms of the EU’s carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM).

The CBAM was initially proposed by the European Commission in July 2021 as part of its “Fit for 55” package of policies. The measure seeks to address and mitigate the risk of “carbon leakage” from the EU, which refers to the risk that the EU’s greenhouse gas reduction efforts will be offset by increasing emissions outside of its border through the relocation of production to non-EU countries with less ambitious emissions reduction policies.

The CBAM would impose a levy on in-scope goods that are imported into the EU. Importers of such goods would be required to pay an amount equal to the cost of the emissions allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) that would have been necessary to pay to produce that good in the EU.

The president’s executive order aims to use the US government’s procurement power to achieve “carbon pollution-free electricity” by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050.

By Jennifer Roy and Julie Miles

On December 8, 2021, President Biden issued an Executive Order on Catalyzing Clean Energy Industries and Jobs Through Federal Sustainability (EO), which aims to set the federal government — the largest purchaser in the country with an annual purchasing power of $650 billion — on a path to net zero emissions by 2050. The EO establishes the following policies as part of a whole-of-government strategy.

The start of trading represents a significant opportunity for businesses able to achieve meaningful reductions.

By Paul A. Davies and R. Andrew Westgate

Nearly four years after China’s national emissions trading scheme (ETS) was announced in late 2017, trading of emissions quotas officially commenced on July 16. The start of trading represents a significant step in China’s adoption of market-based mechanisms for addressing climate change, while also signifying a major opportunity for businesses able to achieve meaningful reductions.

More than 4.1 million tonnes of Chinese Carbon Emission Allowances (CEAs) traded on the first day at a price of RMB52.78 (or US$7.42) per tonne — an amount that was in line with analysts’ expectations for launch. Although this price is significantly below the prices of allowances in the EU ETS (€52.89 per tonne on July 16) or California (US$18.80 per tonne at the May 2021 auction), it is close to the allowance price in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) — a cap-and-trade program covering 11 states on the east coast of the United States (US$7.97 per tonne at the auction held on June 2, 2021). Like China’s ETS in its initial phase, the RGGI covers only power plants. Since the launch, prices have largely held steady, although volume fell significantly after the initial flurry of activity.