The Greenhouse Gas Protocol (“GHG Protocol” or “Protocol”)—a leading standard setter for measuring and managing corporate greenhouse gas emissions, borne of a partnership between World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)—has opened stakeholder surveys concerning the revision of its Corporate Accounting and Reporting Standard, Guidance on Scope 2 Emissions, and the Scope 3 Standard and Scope 3 Calculation Guidance.

Continue Reading Corporate Carbon Counting Under Scrutiny—Comments Requested on Pending Updates to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol

On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law, directing a record $370 billion toward clean energy investments.

Yesterday, the White House released a 182-page guidebook to the IRA entitled Building a Clean Economy.  John Podesta, Senior Advisor to the President for Clean Energy Innovation and Implementation, explains in his introduction that the guidebook “provides a program-by-program overview of the Inflation Reduction Act, including who is eligible to apply for funding and for what purposes.”  In the coming weeks and months, the Administration will provide further updates on www.CleanEnergy.gov.

See here for our post providing an overview of the major energy provisions in the IRA.

On December 14, 2022, during an open Commission meeting, the Federal Trade Commission voted unanimously to issue a Federal Register notice requesting comments on the efficacy of the Green Guides.  The initial request for comments seeks input on whether to retain, modify, or rescind the Guides.  The notice was published in late December, marking the beginning of a 60-day comment period that ends on February 21, 2023.

Continue Reading FTC Launches Green Guides Review, 60-day Comment Period Closes February 2023

Today, the IRS released Revenue Procedure 2022-42 to address the reporting requirements for vehicle manufacturers and sellers.  These reporting requirements are prerequisites for purchasers’ eligibility for clean vehicle tax credits under Sections 25E, 30D, and 45W.  Section 30D(d)(3) requires that a manufacturer enter into a written agreement to become a qualified manufacturer, which requires periodic written reports to the IRS.  Similarly, Section 30D(1)(H) requires that the person who sells a vehicle furnish a report to purchasers and the IRS.

Continue Reading IRS Releases Reporting Requirements to Determine Eligibility for Clean Vehicle Tax Credits

The European Union (“EU”) has passed the world’s most far-reaching mandatory environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) reporting regime.

The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”) will apply to an initial group of large EU companies from 2024 and gradually extend its reach to smaller companies over the course of the following four years. It is ultimately expected to apply to more than 50,000 companies incorporated, listed, or doing business in the EU. Notably, from 2028 the CSRD will apply to non-EU parent companies that generate more than EUR 150M of net turnover in the EU and have at least one EU subsidiary subject to the CSRD (or a local branch of a certain size). (See Appendix for a table with detailed information on the CSRD’s application thresholds and dates.)

Continue Reading EU Mandatory ESG Reporting Takes Shape: CSRD is Passed and EFRAG Adopts Draft ESRS

Last week the European Commission published its long-awaited proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (“Proposed Packaging Regulation” or “proposed Regulation”), and a Plastics Communication on an “EU Policy Framework on Biobased, Biodegradable and Compostable Plastics” (“Plastics Communication”).  The Proposed Packaging Regulation is intended to replace the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive 94/62 (“Packaging Directive”) and to ensure that all packaging marketed in the EU/EEA is fully recyclable or reusable by 2030.  If adopted, the Proposed Packaging Regulation’s new requirements and restrictions will have a significant impact on industry, distributors, and consumers.  The European Parliament and Council must now consider the proposed Regulation for adoption through the so-called “ordinary legislative procedure,” which will allow for the introduction of amendments and is likely to take at least 18 months.  

This blog post highlights the main changes and new requirements that the Proposed Packaging Regulation would introduce, and outlines the principal recommendations of the Commission’s Plastics Communication.

Continue Reading The Commission unveils its proposal for a Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation, and provides recommendations on Biobased, Biodegradable and Compostable Plastics

As noted in our COP27 recap, this year’s climate summit in Sharm el-Sheik involved both the historic creation of a fund to compensate countries most impacted by climate change, as well as lost opportunities to adopt more ambitious and accelerated climate mitigation commitments.  Perhaps hidden between these headlines, President Biden announced an initiative with significant implications for federal contractors.  Under this proposal, the United States would become the first country to require major government suppliers and contractors to set science-based emissions reduction targets aligned with the Paris Agreement.  It would also require contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate risks. 

This initiative—the proposed Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule—would have wide-reaching impacts if ultimately finalized.  Collectively, the proposed rule would cover about 86 percent of the federal government’s supply chain GHG impacts and 86 percent of federal annual spending.  To put this in perspective, in the last fiscal year alone the United States purchased $630 billion in goods and services.

The comment period for the proposed Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule closes on January 13, 2023.  The proposed compliance requirements for major contractors would start two years after publication of a final rule.  If promulgated, this rule may be challenged in court along the lines of the Biden Administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for federal contractors.  

Continue Reading US Government Proposes Rule Requiring Major Federal Contractors to Disclose Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Establish Science-Based Emissions Reduction Targets

The United Nations annual climate change conference—officially known as the 27th Conference
of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (“UNFCCC”), or COP27 for
short—held in Sharm el Sheik, Egypt, finally concluded early Sunday morning, more than 24
hours late.

COP27 was held amidst the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine and the consequent economic
turmoil, including Europe’s scramble to secure non-Russian gas. It was previewed by a
UNFCCC report which concluded that on its current trajectory the world faced warming of
between 2.5 and 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and accompanied by a new
report from the International Energy Agency’s 2022 World Energy Outlook, which concluded
that the world needed to spend at least $4 trillion annually to tackle climate change from now
until 2030.

Against this challenging backdrop, COP27 was never going to be straightforward. But those
difficulties were compounded by divisions between the developing and developed world over
the priorities that should form the focus for COP27. Those divisions manifested themselves
most clearly in tensions before, during, and at the conclusion of the Conference over the issue
of “loss and damage.” This acrimony overshadowed almost all other aspects of the COP, which
will nonetheless be viewed as historic for being the first COP to not only place the loss and
damage issue on the official agenda, but for its creation of a separate fund to compensate
countries most impacted by climate change. But loss and damage aside, the broader picture
that emerged from COP27 was one of lost opportunities to adopt more ambitious and
accelerated climate mitigation commitments in response to the dire scientific warnings about the
impact of rapid global warming on the planet. In particular, efforts calling for a phase down of all
fossil fuels were ultimately unsuccessful in the Summit’s final agreement and highlighted the
mismatch between the pace of global emissions reduction commitments and that which is
needed to avoid the most disruptive climate impacts.

Continue Reading COP27: A Flawed Though Still Consequential Climate Summit

Negotiations over the text of the final Declaration appear to have not progressed significantly since yesterday. The issues holding up progress now are the same issues that had been identified at the outset as key: loss and damage; mitigation gaps (weak NDCs); the $100 billion in climate finance promised to developing countries from 2020; and the doubling of the proportion of the $100 billion going to adaptation projects. The dual Egyptian Foreign Minister and COP President called on delegates to find solutions—though normally the responsibility for moving text forward lies with the host country.  

Continue Reading Highlights from Cop 27: Solutions Day

COP 27 was electrified yesterday by the speech of President-elect Lula of Brazil. Promising to reverse the deforestation of the Amazon and commenting that Brazil is already a global agricultural giant without the need to clear any more rainforest, he called on wealthy nations to make good on their COP 15 pledge to set aside $100 billion per year for adaptation and demanded additional funding for loss and damage, noting that the countries least responsible for climate change were those currently suffering from it the most. He also underlined the importance of international partnerships, including the recent agreement between Brazil, Indonesia, and the Congo to work together on conservation.

Continue Reading Highlights from COP 27: Biodiversity Day