Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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Do Climate Change and Same-Sex Marriage Have Anything in Common?

Recent events have me pondering this question. Most notably, in two court decisions last week, courts ordered the State of Washington and the government of the Netherlands to take more aggressive action against climate...more

6/29/2015 - Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Emissions Nuisance Standing

Majority Support for a Carbon Tax?

What are the politics of climate change? A new poll done by Stanford University and Resources for the Future suggests that the public may be more ready to regulate carbon taxthan has previously been thought. When asked if...more

4/16/2015 - Carbon Taxes Climate Change Polling

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

Cole Porter Was Right: The Economic Cost of Climate Change

There has already been significant discussion of the economic impacts of climate change. Damage from catastrophic events, the cost to build adaptation measures such as sea walls; these have all been examined. ...more

12/17/2014 - 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

11/25/2014 - Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Carbon Taxes Climate Change Energy Policy

Massachusetts Climate Adaptation Policy: How Broad Will It Be?

Yesterday, I suggested that Massachusetts EOEEA may not have authority to issue its “MEPA Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy.” However, since I also conceded that Massachusetts courts are unlikely to agree with...more

11/19/2014 - Climate Change Energy Policy

Environmental Impact Analysis — The Impact of a Project on the Environment or the Impact of the Environment on a Project?

Traditionally, environmental impact analysis, under NEPA and state analogs, has focused on the impacts that a proposed project may have on the environment. In Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental...more

11/18/2014 - Climate Change Environmental Assessments Environmental Policies NEPA

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

10/23/2014 - Appeals Cap-and-Trade Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change Energy Energy Policy EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Atmosphere Is a Public Trust. So What?

The last frontier of citizen climate litigation has been state-based litigation alleging that states have a public trust obligation to mitigate climate change. As I have previously noted, I’m skeptical that these cases are...more

10/2/2014 - Climate Change Environmental Policies EPA Public Trust Doctrine

83% of a Loaf Is Better Than None: The Supreme Court Affirms EPA’s Authority to Regulate “Anyway Sources”, But Rejects Regulation...

The Supreme Court affirmed EPA’s authority to subject 83% of greenhouse gas emissions to its PSD and Title V Operating Permit programs. However, EPA’s rationale for the rule did not fare so well, and EPA does not have...more

6/25/2014 - BACT Clean Air Act Climate Change Environmental Policies EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Permits Power Plants SCOTUS Title V Utilities Sector Utility Air Regulatory Group v EPA

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

4/14/2014 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Exxon Mobil

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

4/7/2014 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Exxon Mobil Oil & Gas

Governor Patrick Announces Climate Change Preparedness Initiatives: Not Everyone’s On Board

On Tuesday, Governor Patrick announced a series of climate change preparedness initiatives, including about $50 million in funds for a variety of programs. Before summarizing the plan, I’ll note that Massachusetts appears to...more

1/16/2014 - Carbon Emissions Climate Action Plan Climate Change Disaster Preparedness Environmental Policies Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Cape Cod TMDL Litigation; CLF Is Still In There Swinging

In September, I noted that Judge Mark Wolf had dismissed CLF’s law suit challenging EPA’s approval of the TMDLs for the Cape Cod embayments, ruling that CLF did not have standing. CLF, as is its wont, is not going gentle...more

11/8/2013 - Climate Change EPA TMDL

And You Thought Ending Flood Insurance Subsidies Would Be Difficult? Try Persuading a Politician to Support “Managed Coastal...

Earlier today, I posted about the political difficulties inherent in reforming flood insurance programs to avoid subsidizing those who choose to live in coastal areas subject to flooding. When even Democratic legislators...more

11/4/2013 - Climate Change Coastal Real Estate Easements Flood Insurance Subsidies

More on the Adaptation Front: Comprehensive Climate Planning Is Coming To Boston

If you are still wondering whether municipalities are serious about planning for climate change, the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s announcement this week of its new draft Guidelines for the inclusion of planning for...more

11/1/2013 - Climate Change Infrastructure Municipalities Urban Planning & Development

Yet More on the Adaptation Front: Where You Stand Depends on Whether Your Property Is Underwater

A story in E&E Daily on October 30 highlighted the difficult choices – including political choices – that are going to have to be faced in the process of adapting to climate change. The story noted that a number of...more

11/1/2013 - Climate Change Flood Insurance Flood Zones Flooding National Flood Insurance Program

EPA Issues Revised Draft NSPS for Carbon Emissions From New Power Plants: It’s All About Technology Forcing

Last Friday, EPA reissued its draft NSPS addressing carbon emissions from new power plants. It’s not actually that different from the prior proposal, which would have required all new fossil-fuel plants to meet a 1,000 lbs...more

9/24/2013 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Energy Policy EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Power Plants

Integrated Assessment Models of the Social Cost of Carbon: False Precision Is More False Than Precise

For those who both believe in the reality of climate change and dream of a day when Congress might get past gridlock and address the issue, the critical question is how to price carbon emissions to reflect the external costs...more

8/23/2013 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Making Economic Arguments to Reduce GHG Releases: Senator Markey Releases a Report on Methane Leaks From Gas Distribution Lines

Two years ago, when I participated in a D.C. fly-in with a renewable energy group, we were instructed not to use the words “climate change.” Instead, we were told to focus on “growing the clean energy economy.” The push to...more

8/2/2013 - Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Emissions Oil & Gas Pipelines Renewable Energy

The President Issues His Climate Action Plan: Not Much Mention of Congress

President Obama yesterday released his Climate Action Plan, together with a Memorandum concerning EPA’s issuance of rules governing carbon emissions from new and existing power plants under the Clean Air Act. At a certain...more

6/26/2013 - Barack Obama Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change EPA Power Plants

Which Comes First, Innovation or Regulation?

Two seemingly unrelated stories in Wednesday’s trade press got me thinking – always dangerous – about the relationship between regulation and innovation. The first story, from Daily Environment Report, noted that House...more

5/31/2013 - Carbon Capture and Sequestration Climate Change EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Proposed Legislation Technology

Not a Good Week for Private Climate Change Litigation: The Supreme Court Denies Review in Kivalina

It has not been a good run for plaintiffs in private climate change litigation. As we noted last week, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal in Comer v. Murphy Oil. Now, on Monday, the Supreme Court denied...more

5/23/2013 - Climate Change SCOTUS

Not a Shining Moment For Congress: Two Leading Economists Note the “Sordid History” of Cap-and-Trade Legislation

I have previously blogged about how strange our politics has become, when cap-and-trade programs, previously touted by conservatives and viewed skeptically by environmentalists as a “license to pollute,” somehow become for...more

3/12/2013 - Cap-and-Trade Climate Change

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