The EU’s Green Capitalism Takes Shape: Taxonomy Screening Criteria and Corporate Sustainability Reporting

The European Commission has presented a package of key enabling legislation on sustainable finance (the “Sustainable Finance Package”).  This includes the much-awaited first technical screening criteria under the Taxonomy Regulation — outlined in the Taxonomy Climate Delegated Act (“TCDA”) — and a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (“CSRD”), which significantly revises and expands on the existing Non-Financial Reporting Directive’s remit and disclosure rules for corporates. While the former is directly aimed at financial institutions and investors, and the latter at large and listed entities, the package has broader implications for all corporates.

Sustainable Finance Package: Context and Comment

The Commission’s intention with its Sustainable Finance Package is twofold: (1) in the short term, to set a clear regulatory framework to encourage investments that will contribute to a sustainable and inclusive economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and (2) in the long term, to ensure the transition to a carbon neutral EU economy by 2050, in accordance with the 2020 European Climate Law.  Following the adoption of the EU Taxonomy Regulation (explained further below), the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, and the Benchmark Regulation, which enhances the transparency of benchmark methodologies, the Commission has in this legislative package laid out the next building blocks for its envisioned sustainable finance ecosystem.

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Kids and a Sustainable Future

This is the eleventh in our series on the “ABCs of the AJP.”

America’s kids are the beneficiaries of many of the provisions of President Biden’s Jobs Plan, and several of the proposals would benefit them and their caretakers specifically.  Children have become a focus point of discussions about climate change, because absent intervention they are poised to inherit a world that suffers from its negative effects without having contributed meaningfully to the emissions that bring it about.  This has been a central narrative of the long-running Juliana litigation, for example.  The Biden Administration has also recognized the intergenerational inequity of climate change in other policy initiatives, for example in its ongoing efforts to revise the social cost of greenhouse gases. Continue Reading

Jumpstarting A Cleaner, More Resilient Economy With Jobs

This is the tenth in our series on “The ABCs of the AJP.”

Jobs, unsurprisingly, are at the heart of the Biden Administration’s ambitious, multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan.  After all, the plan also goes by the name The American Jobs Plan (“AJP”).  Each of the sweeping goals of the AJP—from addressing climate change, to developing a resilient electricity grid, to competing with China over clean energy supply chains—promises to create thousands of new jobs. Continue Reading

Infrastructure Reimagined: From Roads and Country to People and Planet

This post is the ninth in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

Virtually every president since Franklin D. Roosevelt has pursued a national “infrastructure” project of some kind.  From the New Deal and the Federal-Aid Highway Acts, which created today’s interstate highway, to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the federal government has made significant investments toward a “system of public works,” a standard definition for the word “infrastructure.”  In this way, the AJP is just the latest major infrastructure initiative, even if the proposed amounts for modernizing surface transportation, airports, and waterways are unprecedented. Continue Reading

Hastening the Hydrogen Economy

This blog is the eighth in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

The latest Energy Transition technology now attracting massive investment and policy attention is “green hydrogen” produced using renewable energy to separate hydrogen from water that can be used both for bulk energy storage and then used to fuel gas-fired power plants or hard-to-abate sectors such as manufacturing, shipping and long-haul trucking.   President Biden’s American Jobs Plan matches that level of investment and attention by proposing 15 decarbonized hydrogen demonstration projects in distressed communities and by including hydrogen among an additional $15 billion increase in funding for climate R&D priorities.  The AJP also includes an expansion of production tax credits for energy storage, that has led to the introduction of at least one bill — SB 1017 – endorsed by the American Clean Power Association proposing a $3/kg tax credit for green hydrogen. Continue Reading

Grid Modernization and Greenhouse Gases

This blog is the seventh in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

Grid Modernization and Resiliency

Grid modernization and resiliency are critical and intertwined issues that only grow more important as climate change increases the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. As the Biden Administration notes in its American Jobs Plan fact sheet, recent power outages in Texas took a tremendous human and economic toll, and power outages generally cost the country $70 billion dollars a year in lost productivity. In light of that figure, the American Jobs Plan’s proposed $100 billion dollar investment in grid modernization may be too conservative. When factoring in health and environmental benefits, the return on investment for an improved grid looks to be extraordinarily robust. Continue Reading

Finding the Common Ground for Forests

This blog is the sixth in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

One of the key underpinnings of the case for climate legislation is the idea that natural and working lands will suffer without swift and meaningful action. President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) proposes to “protect and, where necessary, restore nature-based infrastructure – our lands, forests, wetlands, watersheds, and coastal and ocean resources.” But what should that look like? And how will the new administration find common ground with lawmakers who fear that forest conservation can only come at the expense of rural communities and the industries that rely on these resources? Continue Reading

Ending Environmental Injustice with Infrastructure Investment

This blog is the fifth in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) would mobilize $2.2 trillion in investment to address climate change and create jobs for Americans. According to the White House, “unlike past major investments, the plan prioritizes addressing long-standing and persistent racial injustice,” in part by “target[ing] 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities.” These investments would give life to the President’s “Justice40 Initiative,” established by his January 27, 2021, Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad (EO). Continue Reading

Distributed Energy Resources

This is the fourth in our series on “The ABCs of the AJP.”

The White House’s recent announcement of the American Jobs Plan (AJP) highlights the establishment of a “$27 billion Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator to mobilize private investment into distributed energy resources.”  While distributed energy resources (DERs) are only mentioned once in the announcement, they figure to play an important role in the Administration’s overall goals. Continue Reading

The Climate Crisis and China

This blog is the third in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

An animating principle of President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (AJP) is the urgency to address climate change.  But a cross-current is competition with China.  This comes through not as subtext, but as the stated purpose.  According to the White House, “the President’s plan will unify and mobilize the country to meet the great challenges of our time: the climate crisis and the ambitions of an autocratic China.”

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