Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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The Global Warming Solutions Act Requires MassDEP to Promulgate Declining Annual GHG Emissions Limits for Multiple Sources: ...

On Tuesday, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled that MassDEP had violated the Global Warming Solutions Act by failing "To promulgate regulations that address multiple sources or categories of sources of greenhouse gas emissions,...more

5/18/2016 - Climate Change Global Warming Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP

EPA’s Final Methane Rule: Fighting Climate Change Up to January 20, 2017 — And Beyond

Dylan Thomas said “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Obama’s EPA is taking that advice to heart, pushing forward aggressively on its climate change agenda, even as January 2017 approaches. On Thursday, EPA issued its...more

5/17/2016 - Climate Change EPA Methane New Source Performance Standards Oil & Gas

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

4/14/2016 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Due Process Public Trust Doctrine Waters of the United States

Climate Change and the ESA: Protecting the Wolverine in the Face of Uncertainty

Under the Endangered Species Act, a species is “threatened” when it is “likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future.” As scientists continue to predict that climate change will alter habitat over the...more

4/7/2016 - Climate Change Endangered Species Act (ESA) ESA Listings US Fish and Wildlife Service

Water Turning To Blood; Flies; Hail? How About Water-borne Illness, Extreme Weather, and Actual Plague?

Passover starts later this month. Just in time, the U.S. Global Change Research Program has given us an updated list of plagues. What’s fascinating is that the new list actually bears a certain similarity to the biblical...more

4/7/2016 - Climate Change Information Reports Public Health

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

1/22/2016 - Canada Carbon Emissions Clean Energy Climate Change Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower

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

1/21/2016 - Administrative Authority Carbon Emissions Clean Air Act Climate Change EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Paris Agreement Reciprocity Rules

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

12/16/2015 - Carbon Emissions Climate Change Paris Agreement

Some Hard Truths About Addressing Climate Change

On November 23, 2015 Boston Globe had an op-ed by Joshua Goldstein and Steven Pinker concerning some “Inconvenient Truths for the environmental movement.” I’m sorry to say that I agree with pretty much every word of it. Why...more

11/24/2015 - Climate Change Economic Development Nuclear Power Renewable Energy Renewable Fuel

Washington Has A Public Trust Obligation to Address Climate Change — So What?

Last week, a trial judge in Washington State, in Foster v. Washington Department of Ecology, ruled that the Public Trust Doctrine requires the State of Washington to address climate change more aggressively. Greenwire’s...more

11/24/2015 - Arbitrary and Capricious Climate Change Environmental Litigation Greenhouse Gas Emissions Public Trust Doctrine

What Success Means For COP21

If you want to know what how a rational optimist defines success for COP21, take a look at Rob Stavins’s latest post. Here’s his “Paris Scorecard” for what success will look like...more

11/18/2015 - Climate Change Financing Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) Kyoto Protocol Reporting Requirements Transparency

Does the Impact of Climate Change on Financial Markets Have Anything In Common with Same-Sex Marriage?

A few months ago, I asked whether climate change nuisance and public trust litigation might have something in common with litigation challenging bans on same-sex marriage. The idea was that both types of litigation seemed...more

11/16/2015 - Climate Change Financial Markets Hedging Investment Portfolios Sustainability

Alaska Needs to Drill For More Oil — It’s All the Fault of Climate Change

According to the BBC, Alaska Governor Bill Walker has concluded that more drilling for oil is necessary in order for Alaska to have the funds necessary to pay to mitigate the costs of climate change in Alaska. Such costs...more

10/14/2015 - Alaska Arctic Drilling Climate Change Governor Walker Mitigation Oil Reserves Relocation Assistance Well Drilling

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

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