The Climate Report - Fall 2017
U.S. Regulatory and Litigation Developments
Fulfilling a promise of the 2016 Trump campaign, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to rescind the Clean Power Plan for existing electricity generating units, based on a revised interpretation of the Agency's authority under the Clean Air Act provisions originally used to authorize the Plan. However, EPA stopped short of completely repudiating the greenhouse gas endangerment finding and other legal underpinnings of the Plan, suggesting that EPA may eventually propose a less-expansive alternative.
The California Air Resources Board has begun implementing its Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, which outlines a range of options, including regulations, incentives, and other market-supporting activities, to accelerate emission reduction measures in California, with a focus on anthropogenic black carbon (soot), methane, and hydrofluorocarbons.
Clean Energy and Climate Change Issues for Management
The investor group Ceres is asserting that company boards must be sustainability-competent to achieve long-term financial performance goals, increase the company's competitive advantage and also meet their fiduciary responsibilities to the company.
S&P Dow Jones Indices, a provider of investable and benchmark indices to the financial markets, has become the first such provider to publically publish carbon metrics for many of its equity indices, including the S&P Global 1200, S&P 500®, and Dow Jones Industrial Average®. The data will be posted online monthly alongside S&P Dow Jones Indices' standard financial data.
To facilitate electric vehicle use, the governors of seven western states have agreed to establish a framework for an electric vehicle "corridor" stretching from New Mexico to Montana. From the private sector, a group of ten global companies have launched "EV100," an initiative to integrate electric vehicles into their corporate fleets by 2030 and/or install charging stations for customers and employees.
Climate Change Developments Beyond the U.S.
The nonbinding nature of national commitments under the Paris climate change accord provides national legislatures with flexibility in devising measures to combat climate change. Dissatisfied Dutch and Belgian citizen groups have already brought legal challenges against their governments seeking commitments to larger greenhouse gas emission reductions, and a group known as Plan B has threatened the UK government with similar legal action.
The French National Assembly has taken the first step to adopting an energy-related bill that would phase out conventional and unconventional fossil fuel exploration and production in France and French territories by 2040.
The UK government has published its Clean Growth Strategy, setting out how it aims to meet its obligations under the Climate Change Act 2008. Highlights of the Strategy include investments in low-carbon innovation and the promotion of walking and cycling, a ban on the sale of combustion engine vehicles after 2040, and financial support for the transition to ultra-low-emission vehicles.
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