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The Conservative Uphill Slog for a Carbon Tax

Earlier this week, the Climate Leadership Council rolled out The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends (note the absence of the “T” word in that title!). It’s a serious proposal and, if we lived in a world of facts, rather...more

Transportation CO2 Surpasses Power Sector CO2: Good News or Bad?

Last week, DOE announced that transportation sector CO2 emissions in the US exceeded power sector CO2 emissions for the first time since 1978. Why? The combination of increasing vehicle miles traveled in the transportation...more

What a Surprise! Increased Renewal Energy Decreases GHG Emissions.

On October 12, 2016, the Energy Information Administration reported that “Energy-related CO2 emissions for first six months of 2016 are lowest since 1991.” The EIA gave three reasons for the drop in CO2 emissions. ...more

Chevron Deference Lives! EPA’s Boiler Rule (Mostly) Survives Review

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit largely upheld EPA’s Boiler MACT rule. The industry challenges were a complete washout. The environmental petitioners won one significant victory and a number of smaller ones....more

Minnesota May Not Prohibit Power Sales That Would Increase Statewide CO2 Emissions. Why Not? Pick Your Reason.

If you needed any further proof that energy law is very complicated, Wednesday’s decision in North Dakota v. Heydinger should convince you. The judgment is simple – the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a Minnesota...more

Big Changes With LIttle Fanfare: The FHWA Proposes to Use GHG Emissions as a Performance Measure

This week, the Federal Highway Administration issued a Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking to promulgate performance measures to be used in evaluating federal funding of transportation projects. The requirement for performance...more

A Substantive Due Process Right to Climate Change Regulation? What’s a Lonely Apostle of Judicial Restraint To Do?

Late last week, Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin concluded that the most recent public trust case, which seeks an injunction requiring the United States to take actions to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations to 350 parts per...more

NSR Enforcement Staggers On: A Split Decision in Missouri

Given EPA’s recent run of defeats in its NSR enforcement initiative, it’s probably breathing a sigh of relief over last week’s decision in United States v. Ameren Missouri, regarding Ameren’s Rush Island coal-fired power...more

Massachusetts Updates Its Climate Song: I Can Get By With A Little Help From My (Canadian) Friends

Earlier this week, Massachusetts released its updated Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020. The headline for the press release was “Massachusetts on Track to Meet 25% Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target for...more

Does the Paris Agreement Provide EPA With Authority Under the CAA To Impose EconomyWide GHG Controls? Count Me Skeptical

In a very interesting article, Michael Burger of the Sabin Center and his co-authors suggest that, following the Paris climate agreement, § 115 of the Clean Air Act provides authority for EPA to develop economy-wide GHG...more

The Paris Agreement: Ac-cent-tchu-ate The Positive

So COP21 resulted in an agreement. What’s a poor in-the-trenches lawyer to make of it? I think it’s pretty clearly a major step forward and reflects much more substantive progress than might have been expected. For a very...more

The Clean Power Plan. Is Better Good Enough? Is More Defensible Defensible Enough?

So the Clean Power Plan is out. It’s difficult to be pithy about such a big, sprawling, mess, other than to say that it’s probably about as good as it could be, though that may not be enough. Here are a few items that have...more

Two Strikes and Oklahoma’s Out (For Now): Another Challenge to the Clean Power Plan Is Rejected

On Friday, Judge Claire Eagan dismissed Oklahoma’s latest challenge to EPA’s Clean Power Plan. Yes, that plan. The one that hasn’t been promulgated yet....more

The Problem With Relying on Energy Efficiency to Reduce Emissions? People

The connection between energy use and emissions of air pollutants, including GHGs, is uncontroversial. It is also widely, if not universally, accepted that there is a lot of low-hanging fruit in energy efficiency. I agree...more

What is the Social Cost of Carbon? And Who Bears Those Costs?

As I noted last year, there has been significant criticism of the Integrated Assessment Models used to calculate the social cost of carbon. An article published this week in Nature Climate Change (not free), attempts to...more

1/15/2015  /  Carbon Emissions , Climate Change

I’m Still a Cockeyed Optimist When It Comes to Climate Change

Last week, NRG Energy announced plans to reduce CO2 emissions 50% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. And this reduction is not from a 1990 or 2005 baseline; it is from 2014 emissions. NRG’s statement indicated that it had already...more

News Flash: Cap-and-Trade Remains the Most Efficient Way to Reduce Emissions

Notwithstanding Congressional gridlock on climate change legislation, cap-and-trade remains the tried and true efficient method for reducing air emissions. Although the acid rain provisions of the Clean Air Act are the most...more

EPA Proposes to Eliminate Affirmative Defenses for Excess Emissions During Startups, Shutdowns, or Malfunctions — Get Ready for...

This past April, the D.C. Circuit struck down the part of EPA’s cement kiln rule that would have provided an affirmative defense to civil penalties for excess emissions resulting from unavoidable malfunctions. As we noted at...more

Still Using Economic (and Safety) Arguments to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Massassachusetts Enacts Gas Leak Legislation

As I noted last year, there has been a concerted effort on the part of those fighting climate change to emphasize economic issues in connection with their policy proposals. That post concerned Senator Markey’s efforts to...more

More on EPA’s GHG Rule: I Am NOT Going To Set Odds on Whether the Rule Would Survive Judicial Review

Last week, in posting about EPA’s Clean Power Plan, I noted that some potential plaintiffs might face standing obstacles in seeking to challenge the rule, assuming it is promulgated as proposed. Today, I take a (very)...more

EPA May Be Regulating GHGs, But Private Litigation Still Looks to be On Shaky Ground

In a case of interesting timing, three days after EPA announced its proposed GHG rules for existing facilities, the D.C. Circuit affirmed dismissal of a case seeking an injunction against EPA and other federal defendants...more

EPA’s GHG Rule: The Really Big Picture View

As some folks may have heard, EPA proposed emission guidelines for GHG emissions from existing generating units on Monday. Obviously, the rule is a little too complicated to summarize in one blog post, though I’ll try to post...more

The RGGI Annual Report for 2013: Do We Finally Have a Real Market for Allowances?

Potomac Economics has released the Annual Report on the Market for RGGI CO2 Allowances for 2013. Based on the data in the report, it appears that a functioning market for CO2 allowances is finally developing. What’s the...more

What’s the Difference Between ExxonMobil and Shell When It Comes To Climate Change? What’s A Trillion Tons (or Tonnes) Among...

Earlier this week, I posted about ExxonMobil’s shareholder disclosure. The bookend to ExxonMobil’s disclosure is the release of the Trillion Tonne Communique by the Prince of Wale’s Corporate Leaders Group. The Communique...more

ExxonMobil Admits Climate Change Is Real. It also Imposes an Internal Cost on Carbon. Still Not Enough to Get Any Love From the...

Last week, in response to shareholder requests that it disclose information regarding how climate change might affect it in the future, ExxonMobil released two reports, one titled Energy and Climate, and one titled Energy and...more

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