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Climate Policy Update – September 26, 2022

Good evening! This is Akin Gump’s weekly policy bulletin on climate change policy and regulatory developments, providing information on the major climate policy headlines from the past week and upcoming climate-related events and hearings. :

National

Joe Biden on Senate Ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (White House) President Biden praised the Senate for ratifying the Kigali Amendment, which “will progressively reduce the global production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), super-polluting chemicals that number in the hundreds to thousands times more powerful than carbon dioxide”.

Climate reports get EPA help as Wall Street rules battle (Bloomberg Act) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should ‘standardize corporate climate action commitments and emission reduction plans and make them more transparent’ as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) completes the crafting its “rules for public companies to report their emissions and progress on climate goals, prompting threats of lawsuits from Republicans and corporate interests.”

Salesforce Launches a Marketplace for Carbon Offsets (Bloomberg) Salesforce is launching “a marketplace for carbon credits that will bring together offset providers and rating agencies, with the aim of reducing confusion about legitimate offerings.” When launched, the marketplace will have approximately 90 projects available.

Lawmakers want to change the licensing bill. Will they succeed? (E&E News) As Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) seeks to pass an authorizing reform bill, other Senate Democrats are pushing for changed language. Of note, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) expressed a desire to change the text “for a gas pipeline that crosses his state.” Additionally, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) “wants to accelerate offshore wind projects.” Across the aisle, Republicans are concerned about “granting new powers to the nation’s top energy regulators.” However, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has held a test vote and intends to wrap up the authorization bill with a continued resolution.

Regan launches EJ Office as a step towards maintaining vows of fairness (E&E News) EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced the creation of a National Office of Environmental Justice and Civil Rights on Saturday, September 24, 2022. The new Office of External Environmental Justice and Civil Rights (OEJECR) will be elevated to the highest levels of the agency and will be responsible for providing technical assistance to communities and enforcing civil rights laws. The goal is to infuse the principles of equity and environmental justice into everything the agency does. It comes after Congress gave the EPA $100 million for an environmental justice program earlier this year.

Bloomberg takes on the plastics industry (E&E News) Michael Bloomberg announced the launch of an $85 million campaign to build resistance against plastic production in places like the Southern Gulf and Appalachia by blocking more than 120 petrochemical projects and promoting more aggressive rules. Bloomberg presented the campaign as an effort to address the climate crisis and expand environmental justice work.

State

During Climate Week NYC, Governor Newsom highlights California’s climate leadership on the world stage (Governor Newsom) During Climate Week, Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) touted the adoption of the California Climate Commitment and met with various climate leaders.

California’s latest power grid problems are just the start (Politico) Despite Governor Gavin Newsom’s assurance that recent power outages are not indicative of the breakdown of California’s power grid, “the growing demand for electricity and the fickle nature, for now, of greener technologies such as wind and solar make it difficult to progress toward the state-mandated goal of a 100% emissions-free grid by 2045.”

International

Compare carbon taxes and renewable energy incentives (Forbes) While clean hydrogen producers are generally supportive of the new clean hydrogen production tax credit in the Cut Inflation Act of 2022, producers “were concerned about the rules proposed by the European Commission which they believe could stifle production. The commission wanted to classify hydrogen as fully renewable and eligible for subsidies and other incentives only if it is produced by renewable electricity.”

UN chief: ‘Tax fossil fuel profits for climate damage’ (BBC) Ahead of the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on polluters to ‘pay for the impact of climate-related events’ .

World Bank chief under pressure after White House condemns his ‘climate denial’ comments (The Guardian) Last week, New York Times journalist David Gelles asked World Bank President David Malpass if he accepted climate science, to which Mr Malpass replied “I don’t even know no, I’m not a scientist and that’s not a question.” Now Malpass faces criticism from the White House and other world figures for what they see as his refusal to acknowledge the human role in the climate crisis.