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.
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
ESG and sustainability disclosure and reporting requirements for listed and non-listed companies are rapidly taking shape. As announced at COP26, there is now an International Sustainability Standards Board (“ISSB”) tasked with encouraging global uptake of ESG reporting standards. In the EU, the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (“EFRAG”) is the body tasked with developing mandatory sustainability and ESG reporting standards under the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”). Both the ISSB and EFRAG have each recently published ESG and sustainability disclosure and reporting “prototypes”. These prototypes are important pieces to an emergent reporting regime that is very likely to become critical commercially—if not mandatory—for many companies. There are also encouraging signs that what has until recently been a relatively disjointed set of standards, is beginning to come together under a more harmonized agenda and institutions.
This blog presents an overview of some of the detailed climate-related disclosure and reporting metrics covered by the ISSB and EFRAG climate prototypes, and highlights critical considerations for companies as more detailed and mandatory ESG and sustainability reporting frameworks begin to take shape.…
As the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (“COP”) in Glasgow has drawn to a close, with seemingly mixed messages and a somewhat ambiguous conclusion, it is worth reflecting on the overall trajectory of the climate issue, societal expectations, and the accomplishments that — with time — Glasgow is likely to represent. COP26 highlighted the fragility of the planet, as well as the fragility of the global consensus-based United Nations approach to protecting it. It highlighted the sweep of global climate-induced challenges and the scale of transformation needed to address them. With rising temperatures has come a rising global focus on climate and a far greater set of emerging societal expectations for meaningful responses by government and the private sector. Despite the risk that the global agreement forged in Glasgow is seen by climate activists as all talk and no action — what they referred to as “blah, blah, blah” — I believe that a number of features will endure as important accomplishments.
Continue Reading Report from Glasgow COP26: Assessing the United Nations Climate Conference
This is the twenty-first in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”
President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) sets an ambitious goal of “achieving 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035.” To accomplish this, the AJP proposes significant investments in grid modernization, transmission infrastructure, offshore wind, and energy storage, as detailed by our prior posts. Whether these investments – carrots, if you will – will be sufficient to drive down emissions in all states and achieve the 2035 target, in the absence of an enforceable clean electricity standard (CES), remains uncertain. Equally uncertain is the pathway for Congress to enact a CES.
Continue Reading Using Carrots and Sticks to Unleash the Potential for Clean Utilities
This is the twentieth in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”
As discussed in an earlier post, the American Jobs Plan adopts an expansive definition of “infrastructure” to address systemic inequities and benefit society as a whole. However, the AJP also addresses what is typically called “core infrastructure” by proposing substantial investments to repair and modernize our nation’s roads, highways, bridges, airports, ports, and railways. As with other aspects of the AJP, the President’s investments seek to address climate and sustainability concerns and the creation of American jobs by, among other things, using sustainable and innovative building materials that are made in America.
Continue Reading Tackling Transportation, Traffic, and Transit Troubles
This blog is the nineteenth in our series, “The ABC’s of the AJP.”
Increasing grid-scale energy storage in the United States is a critical part of infrastructure development. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) would place investments in energy storage at the center of his goals of achieving a net-zero electricity sector by 2035 and making the electricity grid more resilient. These investments would also support the Administration’s efforts to secure an end-to-end domestic supply chain for high-capacity batteries and the critical minerals that go into them.
Continue Reading Scaling Energy Storage Solutions and Securing Supply Chains
The European Commission is currently discussing a draft of a proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (“CBAM”) Regulation that it is expected to present on July 14, 2021. A CBAM was already announced in the European Commission’s Communication for a Green Deal and is intended to protect the EU’s domestic industry that is at risk of carbon leakage—to create a level playing field—and to serve as a policy tool to encourage third countries to reduce their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions.
Continue Reading Twelve Things to Know About the Upcoming EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism
This is the 18th in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”
In August 2020, a wildfire broke out along Route 70 in Glenwood Canyon, a major thoroughfare across the Rocky Mountains in central Colorado. The fire quickly burned through vegetation on either side of the canyon, loosing rocks that shut down Route 70 for two weeks. As the fire spread, it temporarily shuttered the Shoshone Generating Station, a hydroelectric power station that controls water flow in the upper Colorado River, and forced residents of several communities to evacuate to Glenwood Springs, a nearby town of 10,000. By the time the fire was put out in December, it had burned over 30,000 acres and cost over $30 million to contain.
Continue Reading Readying for Resilience through Infrastructure
This post is the 17th in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”
President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) sends strong signals in support of carbon capture and sequestration as an important tool to achieve the President’s ambitious decarbonization objectives.
Continue Reading Qualifying Carbon Capture and Storage under 45Q: How Biden’s Infrastructure Plan and Congressional Action May Provide a Realistic Role for CCS in Achieving Net Zero