This is the fourteenth in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

President Biden’s American Jobs Plan (“AJP”) seeks to assist the development of advanced nuclear power generation as part of a more general goal of developing advanced energy technologies. The AJP states that doing so will help the United States achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2035 and net-zero emissions by 2050. Continue Reading Nuclear Power – Can Advanced Technology Make this Baseload Power Source be the Lowest Cost, Low Carbon Solution?

This post is the 13th in a series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

As made clear by its name, the Biden Administration intends for its “infrastructure” plan to be a jobs plan.  As is also apparent from the Administration’s proposal, it views requirements to ensure that goods are actually made in America as critical to creating new American jobs.  According to the White House, “by ensuring that American taxpayers’ dollars benefit working families and their communities, and not multinational corporations or foreign governments, the plan will require that goods and materials are made in America.”  Such rules should also help give the United States a boost in its competition with other countries, particularly China. Continue Reading Made in America: Spurring Domestic Job Creation and Production Through Buy America Rules and Beyond

This blog is the twelfth in our series, “The ABCs of the AJP.”

Power lines, strung between high-voltage transmission towers, are etched across the American landscape. Yet the United States’ current transmission infrastructure is outdated and inefficient, plagued by bottlenecks and weak interconnections across regions, which limit the grid’s ability to integrate renewable generation and its overall resilience. Improving and expanding the Nation’s transmission infrastructure is therefore central to the American Jobs Plan’s (AJP) grid modernization, decarbonization and job-creation goals. Continue Reading Lines, Labor and Leveraging Capital: How the AJP Would Upgrade Transmission Infrastructure

The European Commission has published a proposal for a Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (2021/0104) (“CSRD”), which forms just one part of a comprehensive package of sustainable finance measures (see our blog here).  The Commission has put forward these measures in response to demand for stronger and wider sustainability reporting standards, over and above what the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive currently provides.  The CSRD seeks to mandate sustainability reporting and assurance through the amendment of existing EU laws, including the Transparency Directive, the Accounting Directive, and the Audit Directive.  More fundamentally, according to the Commission, it will move the EU one step closer to realizing its aim of having sustainability reporting be “on a par” with financial reporting, in terms of attached weight and importance.  This is reflected in the change of terminology used in the CSRD proposal, from a focus on “non-financial” information reporting, to “sustainability”.

We cover below the background and detail, but in summary, these are the key elements of the CSRD proposal that corporates should be aware of:

  • Scope: The CSRD reporting requirements will apply to all large EU companies and all listed companies, including listed small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”). This is estimated to cover around 49,000 companies.
  • Reporting: The so-called “double materiality” principle remains, but in-scope companies will now have to report according to mandatory sustainability standards. Simpler and “proportionate” standards will apply to listed SMEs.
  • Audit: The CSRD will require, for the first time, a general EU-wide audit (assurance) requirement for sustainability information.
  • Digitization: The sustainability information must be published in companies’ management reports — and not separately reported — and the information will need to be digitized or “tagged” so it can be incorporated into a planned European Single Access Point.
  • Timing: If the proposal is adopted and standards can be agreed in line with current ambitious estimates, large in-scope companies must comply from financial years starting on or after 1 January 2023, publishing reports from 2024; whilst SMEs have to comply from 1 January 2026.

Continue Reading The EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive Proposal: What Companies Need to Know

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.

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

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 Kids and a Sustainable Future

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 Jumpstarting A Cleaner, More Resilient Economy With Jobs

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 Infrastructure Reimagined: From Roads and Country to People and Planet

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 Hastening the Hydrogen Economy

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 Grid Modernization and Greenhouse Gases