Posts tagged #Carbon Emissions

Far-Reaching Decision: Appeals Court Finds Carbon Offsets Ensure Integrity

In a recent decision by a California Appeals court, the appellant, (Our Children’s Earth Foundation; (Appellant)), challenged the State Air Resources Board’s (Board) use of carbon offsets within its Cap-and-Trade program and more specifically, its method for establishing that the offsets achieve the requirement of “additionality.” That’s a loaded sentence so let’s start from the top.

In a sophisticated Cap-and-Trade system like California’s, regulated entities are given a number of options for meeting emission reductions targets. Offsets are one such option.  Instead of undertaking on-site emission reduction projects within the emissions cap, emitters may choose to purchase emissions reduction credits generated by projects undertaken outside of the emissions cap. The design of such policy works because emissions—regardless of whether they are released by a coal-fired power plant in Ohio or through the cutting of timber in Indonesia—all enter the same global atmosphere. Therefore, a reduction of emissions made by a wind turbine in Maine can be equivalent in global climate impact to emission reductions made by a solar array in Arizona. Because of this, a power plant in California could chose to purchase emissions reduction credits from an afforestation project in Massachusetts, while maintaining the integrity of the emissions cap based in its home state. But the catch is that the carbon reduction represented by each offset credit must have integrity. And that’s the heart of this suit.

Posted on March 18, 2015 .

U.S. and China Announce New Targets for GHG Emissions

The big news out of Beijing today is that President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have reached an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for both nations. The agreement is likely more significant in form than in substance. 
The announcement includes the following targets: 

  • China has agreed to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 (or sooner) and aims to have 20% of its power generated by non-fossil fuel sources by the same date.
  • The U.S. has agreed to ratchet up its current emission target from 17% below 2005 levels by 2020 to 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025.

Update on EPA's Clean Power Plan

Yesterday, EPA announced the comment period for its draft regulation of existing power plants under § 111 (d) of the Clean Air Act would be extended.  The comment period will now remain open until December 1, 2014.  Opinions vary on why EPA extended the comment period, but it seems safe to say that if additional time helps agencies at both the state and federal level and those submitting comments arrive at a more agreeable rule, the time is well spent. 

For those interested, Legal Planet, a collaboration between two leading law schools has compiled a wealth of information on the Rule that can be found here


EPA Region I to Discuss Clean Power Plan in Portland

Portland didn’t make the short list of official hearing locations (Atlanta, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Pittsburgh (where all speaking slots were apparently full)) but it appears the Natural Resources Council of Maine has invited Region I Administrator, Curtis “Curt” Spalding, to Portland to discuss the Agency’s new regulations under § 111(d) of the CAA. While this doesn’t appear to be an official hearing (it’s not listed on EPA websites) it does present an opportunity to hear more about the CAA regulations and make comments or ask questions directly to the Region 1 Administrator. The event is being held Wednesday, August 6 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Lee Auditorium in the Wishcamper Center of U.S.M.  

EPA Clean Power Plan

After much anticipation, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced the roll out of the new “Clean Power Plan” today (speech can be seen here). The draft Rule regulates greenhouse gas emissions from existing sources under § 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. It will take some time to digest the complexities of the Rule (after all, it’s 645 pages long), but here are the highlights of what we know at this point: