The Climate Report I Fall 2019

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Climate Change Regulatory Issues & Updates

French Parliament Adopts Ambitious Energy-Climate Law

In what is viewed as a major step toward the country becoming carbon neutral by 2050, the French Parliament has adopted the "Energy-Climate" law, which sets the framework, ambitions, and targets of French climate policy for the next 30 years. In particular, the law aims to reduce France's dependence on fossil fuels and to develop renewable energies.


Mexico's Carbon Market Pilot Program

Mexico's Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales, or "SEMARNAT") published in the Federal Official Gazette, a national carbon market pilot program, for the purpose of establishing the preliminary basis for the operation of the country's first carbon market. 


Update on the EU's Efforts to Finance Sustainable Growth

The European Union's plan to incentivize sustainable development and combat "greenwashing"—the omission or inaccurate disclosure of climate-related information—has taken shape in the form of a far-reaching draft Taxonomy Regulation, proposed to create an immediately enforceable classification system, or "taxonomy," of sustainable finance terms and metrics throughout the EU.


Climate Change Litigation Issues & Updates

California and Other States File Lawsuit Challenging Federal Regulations that Preempt State Automobile Emissions Standards

California has joined 21 other U.S. states, the District of Columbia, the people of Michigan, and the cities of New York and Los Angeles in a lawsuit challenging federal regulations preempting state automobile emissions standards. The action is in response to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's and Environmental Protection Agency's "One National Program Rule." 


Applications for New South Wales Coal Project Planning Approval Affected by Climate Change Factors in Different Ways

The New South Wales Independent Planning Commission—as the consent authority for state significant development applications in New South Wales, Australia—has recently considered three coal project applications. A greenfield site application was refused while two brownfield developments were approved with conditions. Now a change in law is proposed to limit the types of conditions that may be imposed on such projects in the future.


Ninth Circuit Affirms BIA Approval of California Wind Project

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the Bureau of Indian Affairs' approval of an industrial-scale wind facility in Southern California. The decision paves the way for this renewable energy project to move forward, but also affirms that renewable energy projects face challenges under the National Environmental Policy Act.


Climate Change Transactional Issues & Updates

Will FERC's New PURPA Regulations Have a Chilling Effect on Renewable Energy Development?

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") has proposed changes to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978, potentially bringing significant changes to renewable U.S. energy development. FERC will accept comments on the proposed changes until December 3, 2019.


Continued Uncertainty for Domestic, Commercial-Scale Offshore Wind

The Vineyard Wind project, an 800-megawatt wind farm off the shore of Massachusetts, may be the test case in determining whether commercial-scale offshore wind power developments can clear regulatory hurdles and become a flourishing industry in the United States.


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