Thursday, December 03, 2009

Draft Cap-and-Trade Regulations

CARB's new very preliminary draft cap-and-trade regulations are now available on CARB's website. The draft regulations have placeholders for many of the most important provisions, such as how allowances will be distributed, how many will be auctioned and how many will be freely distributed. And CARB has not yet made a decision whether to include industrial emitters of less than 25,000 MTCO2e in the initial cap-and-trade phase from 2012 to 2015. CARB's overview summary provides a schedule for the promulgation of the regulations, which are scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2012.


Monday, November 02, 2009

Final GHG Reporting Regulations Published

On October 30, 2009, EPA published its final greenhouse gas reporting regulations in the Federal Register. The regulations are described below in my September 28 post.


Monday, October 19, 2009

District Court Allows Katrina Victims to Pursue Climate Change Lawsuit

In Comer v. Murphy Oil USA, residents along the Gulf Coast filed suit against numerous energy companies claiming defendants' business activities contributed to global warming that contributed to the destruction of their properties during Hurricane Katrina. J. Dennis rules that plaintiffs have standing to assert their public and private nuisance, trespass, and negligence claims, and that none of these claims presents nonjusticiable political questions. But plaintiffs' unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation, and civil conspiracy claims must be dismissed for prudential standing reasons.

-Morgan Gilhuly and Chris Jensen

Monday, September 28, 2009

New GHG Reporting Requirements

On September 22, 2009, EPA issued final greenhouse gas reporting regulations. The text of the regulations, and some explanatory materials are available here.

In general, the regulations apply to certain industry categories and to generators of more than 25,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent GHGs. Reporting is, for the most part, based on emissions from a specific facility (not an entire company) but there are exceptions, for example for automobile manufacturers. Certain industry categories (petroleum refineries, cement manufacturing) are required to report regardless of the threshold; other industries that were proposed for inclusion in draft regulations have been exempted (e.g., electronics manufacturing), and agricultural emissions are mostly exempt. Most building owners will not be required to report emissions from boilers and facility equipment because those sources, even for a large building, are unlikely to meet the 25,000 metric ton threshhold. Similarly, virtually all state and local government facilities are likely to fall below the reporting threshhold. EPA estimates that the reporting regulations will cover 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from the United States.

Reporting will be required starting January 1, 2010, with the first report due March 31, 2011.

EPA's website has a list of frequently asked questions that help to answer some of the questions about applicability of the regulations, but this rule is just the beginning in what will likely be a more comprehensive set of reporting regulations.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Second Circuit Reinstates States' Nuisance Suits

The Second Circuit has reversed a district court decision and reinstated a nuisance suit, under the federal common law, against electric power providers brought by several states and environmental organizations. A copy of the decision is available here. The Second Circuit panel originally included Justice Sotomayor, but because of her elevation to the Supreme Court the two judges remaining on the panel decided the matter themselves.


Friday, June 19, 2009

New Pew Update to IPCC

And here's a new Pew Center report, updating the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report on the effects of climate change. There's no good news here.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

White House Report on Climate Change

Thirteen federal agencies have published a new report on the impacts from global climate change. The key findings from the report, in very general form, can be found here. This report does not provide a prescription for legislative action, but its factual findings will support proponents of Waxman-Markey and other legislative action.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Scoping Plan

The California Air Resource Board's Climate Change Scoping Plan is available here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

EPA Endangerment Finding

EPA signed proposed endangerment and cause or contribute findings today.  The proposed findings and the technical backup are available here.  A sixty day comment period will begin when the proposed findings are published in the Federal Register.  EPA is also holding two public meetings on the proposed findings.  The west coast meeting will be held in Seattle on May 21.  


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Rumors About An Endangerment Finding

There are more rumors that an endangerment finding for greenhouse gases is imminent. Here's the latest from one of the New York Times' blogs.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Warming costs for California

Here's a summary of the Climate Action Team's latest estimates of the cost of climate change for California:,0,4184482.story The final report is due out at the end of March.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

New Federal GHG Reporting Rules Announced

Its only March and the new administration is already laying the groundwork to address climate change. EPA proposed a rule today that requires mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from large sources.

The rule would require that suppliers of fossil fuels or industrial greenhouse gases, manufacturers of vehicles and engines, and facilities that emit 25,000 metric tons or more per year of GHG emissions submit annual reports to EPA. The gases covered by the proposed rule are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases including nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) and hydrofluorinated ethers (HFE).

The preamble to the Rule, which hasn't yet been published in the Federal Register, is at:

The press release, announcing the rule is at:!OpenDocument


Sunday, February 08, 2009

The End of California Agriculture?

U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu reportedly said this week that climate change could mean "no more agriculture in California."  While Chu was referring to a worst-case scenario, in which the Sierra snowpack would be reduced by 90 percent, this a stark comment from a cabinet official.