The day started with the gloomy release of the Global Carbon Project Report which concluded that 2022 was the highest ever emitting year, with increased coal use in India and increased airline use in the U.S. as the main culprits. UN projections are that global emissions must peak by 2025 and halve by 2030 if the world is to meet the 1.5 degree ambition agreed at the Paris COP in 2015 (emissions in 2022 are more than 5% higher than in 2015).

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Decarbonization Day

After the opening two days of COP27 – which were focused on the High Level Segment (HLS) dedicated to Heads of State and Government – today, November 9, was the first day of the ‘main COP’ with the opening of negotiations on official texts and agreements. Reports are that the opening phases of the talks are positive. Appropriately, given tensions earlier this week over financing for loss and damage, today was billed as Finance Day.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Finance Day  

Yesterday, November 8th, was the second day of the ‘High Level Segment for Heads of State and Government’ with a focus on their speeches and declarations. The real business of COP will begin in earnest today when most of the senior politicians have departed.

Financing for Climate Loss and Damage in Vulnerable Countries

Climate loss and damage is quickly emerging as the key point of contention at this COP and foreshadows a more tense meeting than last year’s in Glasgow. This issue has been moving up the agenda and recent extreme climate events have increased the perceived urgency around this topic, particularly for vulnerable countries.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Financing Takes Center Stage

COP 27 began in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, yesterday. It begins inauspiciously, set against the global impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting food and energy insecurity and dramatic price rises which have pushed climate change down domestic political agendas across the world and increased demand for new sources of fossil fuel to reduce reliance on Russian gas.  By the same token, the Russian aggression creates a lever that presents COP 27 with a rare, perhaps unique, opportunity to accelerate the energy transition. 

Furthermore, since the effects of climate change are non-discriminatory, the need to tackle it is a genuine global need: a visionary take on COP 27 is that it could offer a ‘safe haven’ for international dialogue and collaboration where world leaders can find effective pathways forward on food, energy, nature and security. However, the augurs are not positive . . .

Billed as the ‘Implementation COP’ it was designed to require countries to improve their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to reducing climate-change inducing emissions. However, the tussle over the agenda, which began at 1300 on Saturday and did not conclude until midday on Sunday, suggests that the alternative name for this COP – The African COP – is more appropriate and that the focus and key to its success lies elsewhere.

Continue Reading What to Expect from COP 27

In October 2022, the International Sustainability Standards Board (“ISSB”) met to discuss comments received and future work pertaining to the ISSB’s proposed disclosure standards for Disclosure of Sustainability-related Financial Information (“Draft S1”) and  Climate-related Disclosures (“Draft S2”).

The ISSB’s reconsideration of topics addressed in its proposed disclosure standards provides insight into the progress the ISSB is making towards the development of a global baseline of sustainability-related standards.  Additionally, the ISSB’s clarification of certain proposed disclosure standards might also inform the key debates that jurisdictions worldwide are deliberating as they consider and finalize their mandatory climate-related disclosure requirements. Below we summarize the ISSB’s background; key topics discussed during the October meetings; and the ISSB’s “next steps” with respect to the finalization of the Drafts.

Continue Reading International Sustainability Standards Board Updates: Progress Towards A Global Baseline

One of the Inflation Reduction Act’s (IRA) notable features is the creation of a Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).  This fund could create a mechanism to quickly disburse up to $27 billion to clean energy technologies, without undergoing the sometimes laborious reviews required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  IRA § 60103. 

Continue Reading Inflation Reduction Act Sets the Stage for a National Green Bank

The environmental justice provisions included in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (“IRA”) continue the Biden Administration’s commitment to environmental justice.  The administration has already demonstrated a consistent desire to build environmental justice into its programs through programs such as the Justice40 Initiative.  This initiative directs 40% of the climate change, sustainability, and other

The transportation sector constitutes the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) takes significant steps to transition the U.S. vehicle fleet to zero-emissions technology.  The proposed legislation takes a multi-faceted approach in doing so: it not only provides incentives for increased consumer use of electric vehicles, it also promotes domestic zero-emissions vehicle manufacturing. 

Continue Reading Inflation Reduction Act Shows Strong Support for the Electric Vehicle Sector and Domestic Supply Chains

On March 3 and 14, 2022, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (“EFRAG”) published its most recent set of Working Papers on the future of the EU’s European Sustainability Reporting Standards (“ESRS”). The ESRS will establish dozens of sustainability-related disclosure requirements that will be mandatory for thousands of EU companies under the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”) (see our blog on the CSRD as background). Companies subject to the CSRD will be required to include these disclosures in their annual reports, and these disclosures will need to be audited. Importantly, this is the first time EFRAG has provided significant detail regarding reporting standards for topics that fall under the “S” pillar of the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) framework. The European Commission is currently aiming to have the CSRD and ESRS apply from January 2023, with initial reports due in 2024, and EFRAG will hold public consultations on its draft reporting standards in the coming months.

Continue Reading European Reporting Standards for the “S” in ESG: EFRAG’s New CSRD Disclosure Requirements for Workers and Human Rights Take Shape