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Federal Agencies Join White House in Outlining Principles for Voluntary Carbon Markets

On May 28, multiple federal agencies in conjunction with the White House published a Joint Policy Statement that laid out the principles for the further development of future, high-integrity voluntary carbon-credit markets.

The 12-page Joint Statement of Policy and New Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets was co-signed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Agricultural Secretary Thomas Vilsack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Senior Advisor for International Climate Policy John Podesta, National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, and National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi.

The Joint Statement …

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Ecological catastrophy

ITLOS Issues Historic Advisory Opinion on Climate Change and International Law

On May 21, 2024, the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) published what has been deemed as an “historic” and “unprecedented” advisory opinion on climate change, international law, and on state obligations regarding climate change. Sought by the international organization called the Commission of Small Island States (COSIS), the historic nature of this opinion comes from the fact that this is the first time an international tribunal has issued an opinion clarifying the international law obligations on states binding them to protect …

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With Mounting Litigation from Multiple Courts, SEC Stays its New Climate Disclosure Rules

Last month, our readers will recall that we reported on some pushback raised regarding the new climate disclosure rules promulgated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requiring publicly traded registrants to provide certain climate-related information in future registration documents and annual reports (the “Final Rules”).

As SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said in a press release announcing the new disclosure rules, the Final Rules were meant to “reflect the Commission’s efforts to respond to investors’ demand for more consistent, comparable, and reliable information …

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Close-up of pumping unit in mountainous oil field

New California Bill Aims to Restore Local Governments’ Ability to Limit or Ban Certain Oil and Gas Extractions

As reported to our readers in August 2023, the California Supreme Court in Chevron U.S.A., Inc. v. County of Monterey, (2023) Cal. LEXIS 4349, struck down a Monterey County initiative that would have banned oil and gas drilling and imposed stiff restrictions on oil and gas developments in the county. The decision brought an end to nearly 7 years of litigation concerning Chevron’s San Ardo Oil Field with its over 530 million in estimated ultimate recovery of oil is California’s eight-largest oil field.

A new …

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New Zealand Supreme Court Allows Private Plaintiff’s Novel Climate Change Tort Claim to Go to Trial

The Supreme Court of New Zealand recently removed some significant roadblocks to bringing private law claims against major corporate greenhouse (GHG) emitters with a decision made in the case of Smith v. Fonterra.

The decision marks what is seen as one of the first occasions where a court in common law recognized the possibility that private lawsuits can be used to challenge the greenhouse emissions of a privately held company.

In its unanimous decision, the New Zealand court overturned a lower court’s earlier decision …

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California Air Resources Board Receives Legal Challenge to the State’s New Climate Disclosure Laws

Last week, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was named as a defendant in a new U.S. District Court, Central District of California lawsuit challenging California’s two new climate disclosure and financial reporting laws introduced late in 2023 — Senate bills SB 253 and SB 261.

The case is Chamber of Com. Of the U.S. v. Calif. Air. Res. Bd., C.D. Cal., No. 2:24-cv-00801, complaint 1/30/20. The basis for plaintiffs’ lawsuit claims the two new laws unconstitutionally require disclosure by qualifying public and privately held …

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Money roll and judges hammer on wooden table

Environmental and Transportation Regulation Violators Should Expect to Pay More in Civil Penalties in 2024

Both the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency finished 2023 by issuing new rules that increase the maximum civil penalties for violating certain regulations. For the EPA, those regulations include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and Toxic Substances Control Act. For the DOT, the maximum civil penalty increases affect regulations contained within, among others, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Hazardous Materials Regulations, and the Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards.

For a little background as to why this is happening, …

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COP28 Starts Out with a Bang by Creating a Fund Aimed at Helping Vulnerable Countries

On the first day of the two-week United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties, more commonly referred to as COP28, delegates reached a landmark agreement to formerly create a Loss and Damage Fund, a rescue and rehabilitation effort to support especially vulnerable countries dealing with the irreversible and costly effects of climate change.

First suggested in 1991 by the small island nation of Vanuatu, the fund is aimed at encouraging the wealthy and major polluting nations to assist poorer states harmed by …

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Pollution Factory Smoke in Air with Sky Bad for the Environment

California Enacts First of Its Kind Legislation Requiring Climate Emissions Information

Earlier this month, California Gov. Gavin Newsom enacted into law two bills, both of which will — for the first time in any U.S. state — require large companies doing business within the state to release a wide array of climate emissions information. Specifically, on October 7, Newsom signed into law Senate Bills (SB) 253 and SB 261, which affect both private and public businesses and their accountability towards what carbon footprint they are making in the state and their climate-related financial risks.

These new …

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New York City Planning Commission Approves Zoning Changes Aimed at Meeting City’s Climate Goals

On September 11, 2023, the New York City Planning Commission (CPC) approved the first of several rezoning proposals from Mayor Eric Adams aimed at reducing carbon emissions to reach the city’s climate goals. Specifically, New York has set the year 2050 as the target date by which it hopes to reduce its carbon emissions by 80 percent. The rezoning proposal, called the “City of Yes for Carbon Neutrality,” includes 17 citywide zoning changes that are designed to remove “barriers to greener energy, buildings, and water …

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