Seth Jaffe

Seth Jaffe

Foley Hoag LLP

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If a Climate Change Report Falls in the White House, Does Anyone Hear It?

This week, the National Academy of Sciences Committee tasked with reviewing the Climate Science Special Report, issued by the Obama administration, basically blessed it. They had some comments, but I’ve been through the NAS...more

3/20/2017 - Climate Change Information Reports National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Trump Administration

Investors Don’t Think That Climate Change Is A Hoax: Black Rock Is Losing Its Patience

Black Rock, which manages more than $5 trillion in assets, has released a statement on how it “engages with climate risk.” The statement has three main elements. ...more

3/14/2017 - BlackRock Climate Change Investors

Climate Change Will Increase Peak Energy Demand By More Than We Thought: More Storage, Perhaps?

In an interesting study just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors predict that climate change will have a more significant impact on peak energy demand than had previously been...more

2/10/2017 - Clean Air Act Climate Change Energy Sector Energy Storage Renewable Energy Sustainability

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

2/9/2017 - Carbon Emissions Carbon Taxes Climate Change Energy Sector EPA Greenhouse Gas Emissions Legislative Agendas

Does MassDEP Have Authority to Regulate Electric Generating Emissions Under Section 3(d) of the GWSA? I’m Not So Sure.

As I have previously noted, I sympathize with the difficulties faced by MassDEP in trying to implement the SJC decision in Kain. However, that does not mean that MassDEP can simply take the easy way out. After rereading...more

12/6/2016 - Climate Change DOE Electric Generation Suppliers Energy Policy Global Warming Solutions Act Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP RGGI

DEP Is Trying to Implement Kain. How Are They Doing?

When the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in Kain that § 3(d) of the Global Warming Solutions act requires MassDEP to promulgate emission limits for multiple source categories, requiring declining annual emissions enforceable in...more

11/21/2016 - Clean Energy Climate Change Global Warming Solutions Act Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP RGGI

Let the Environmental Trade Wars Begin!

While speculation is rampant regarding just far President Trump will go to roll back progress on climate change in the United States, Nicolas Sarkozy has fired what might be called a metaphorical shot across Trump’s bow. In...more

11/15/2016 - Carbon Taxes Climate Change Presidential Elections Trump Administration

A Reminder of the Progress We’ve Made

Given how easy it can be to get discouraged about progress in addressing climate change, I think it’s helpful periodically to remember how much progress the U.S. has made in fighting air pollution. It thus seemed useful to...more

11/8/2016 - Air Pollution Climate Change

It’s Foreseeable That More Species Will Be Listed Under the ESA Due to Climate Change

The drumbeat of cases, either approving agency action under the ESA – or reversing agency refusal to act – due to habitat alteration resulting from climate change continues to grow. In February, the 9th Circuit reversed a...more

10/25/2016 - Climate Change Endangered Species Endangered Species Act (ESA) ESA Listings US Fish and Wildlife Service

FWS Goes Back to Square One On Listing the Wolverine. It’s Not Going to Be Any Easier This Time Around.

As we noted in this space in April, Judge Dana Christensen vacated the Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to withdraw its proposed listing of a distinct population segment of the North American wolverine as threatened under...more

10/19/2016 - Climate Change Critical Habitat Endangered Species Endangered Species Act (ESA) ESA Listings US Fish and Wildlife Service

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

10/13/2016 - Carbon Emissions Clean Energy Climate Change Coal Energy Policy Global Warming Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower Renewable Energy Solar Energy Wind Power

Massachusetts Innovates Again, This Time With New Climate Change Litigation

As an MIT grad and loyal resident (Go Sox!), I’m always happy to see stories about Massachusetts’ role in the innovation economy. Last week news arrived of more innovation in Massachusetts – this time on the legal front. ...more

10/5/2016 - Climate Change Exxon Mobil FEMA Flooding Rising Sea Levels Water Pollution

Stop the Presses: Nuclear Power Still Does Not Emit Greenhouse Gases

On Monday, the TVA announced that Watts Bar Unit 2 had successfully completed what is known as its final power ascension test. It is now producing 1,150 MW of power in pre-commercial operation. Though EnergyWire did report...more

10/5/2016 - Climate Change Dams Energy Sector Greenhouse Gas Emissions Hydropower Nuclear Power

Governor Baker’s Executive Order on Change: Good News; Still Work To Be Done By MassDEP

Last Friday, Governor Baker issued Executive Order 569, “Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth.” EO 569 will advance climate policy in Massachusetts in a number of important ways. It also...more

9/19/2016 - Climate Action Plan Climate Change Executive Orders Global Warming Solutions Act Governor Baker Greenhouse Gas Emissions MassDEP Oil & Gas

The Antarctic Ozone Hole Is Healing. Full Stop.

An article published Friday in Science reports that the Antarctic ozone hole is healing.  As the article notes, there was some previous evidence about global improvement in stratospheric ozone levels, but this is the first to...more

7/5/2016 - Climate Change Energy & Climate Debates EPA Ozone

I Have Seen the Future and It Is Hot and Wet

The City of Boston has just released its “Climate Projections Consensus.” It’s not a pretty picture. Here are the lowlights...more

6/24/2016 - Climate Change Global Warming Rising Sea Levels

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 (NSPS) 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

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