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Climate Change Hero

Climate Change Blog

  • 20
  • August
  • 2019

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European Union Supplemental Guidance on Climate-Related Disclosures

In June 2019, the European Commission published its Guidelines on Non-Financial Reporting: Supplement on Reporting Climate-Related Information (the Supplement). While not binding, the Supplement was designed to assist companies in complying with the European Union’s (EU) Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD). The Supplement also considered a variety of existing standards and frameworks; however, it particularly underscores its integration of the recommendations from the Task-Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD).

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  • 15
  • August
  • 2019

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MSCI Launches Climate Indexes

On June 20, 2019, MSCI Inc. (“MSCI”) announced the expansion of its suite of indexes for institutional investors and wealth managers with the introduction of new indexes specifically focused on climate (the “Climate Indexes”).

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  • 18
  • July
  • 2019

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Rhodium Group Report — Capturing Leadership: Policies for the U.S. to Advance Direct Air Capture Technology

Direct Air Capture (DAC) is a chemical process by which carbon dioxide (CO2) is removed directly from the air. Researchers highlight DAC research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) as a means to mitigate climate change and limit the increase in global temperature. In its 2018 report, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that global emissions of CO2 had to reach net-zero between 2045 and 2055 to limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

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  • 12
  • July
  • 2019

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Increasing Climate Disclosure Mandate in the United Kingdom

Earlier this month, the United Kingdom (“UK”) indicated that it is considering rules to require disclosure of certain climate-related risks. On July 2, the government released its Green Finance Strategy, which discusses the UK’s strategy for accomplishing its goals of net zero emissions by 2050. Among the actions discussed is a consideration of mandatory climate reporting.

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Glencore the Latest to Commit to Climate Action 100+ Initiative

Glencore PLC, the British-Swiss multinational trading and mining company, is one of the latest to commit to take steps in line with investor initiative Climate Action 100+. In what some are calling a potential tipping point in shareholder engagement on climate issues, Glencore committed to cap coal production at current levels, prioritize investment in commodities supporting low-emissions technology, and continue to disclose climate-related risks and opportunities in line with the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

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S&P Launches Forward-Looking ESG Benchmark

On April 12, 2019, S&P Global Ratings (S&P) announced the launch of “ESG Evaluation,” a new benchmark designed to evaluate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors. The new benchmark is separate from S&P’s credit ratings and is an aggregate of two components: a quantitative data-driven assessment of a company’s current ESG performance and a qualitative review of how a company is prepared to mitigate future ESG risks and take advantage of opportunities following discussions with the company’s senior management and board of directors.

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  • 21
  • June
  • 2018

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NGOs Push for Battery Storage As BACT at California Gas Plant

On May 29, 2018, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups filed a petition for review with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to challenge the federal Clean Air Act (CAA) Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) Permit issued by EPA Region 9 for the Palmdale Energy Project (PEP). While the nature of the project has evolved over time (PEP was originally supposed to be a hybrid natural gas plant and solar facility), the final PSD permit for the project approves the construction of a 645 megawatt (MW) combined cycle natural gas-fired power plant. PEP’s PSD permit also authorizes the facility to construct duct burners to produce additional electricity during peak demand periods. As originally proposed, the co-located solar facility would have fulfilled this role; however, the project developer changed designs based on the increased deployment of solar energy in California, reducing the need for daytime peak load assistance. With potential peak demand times projected to be more common in the evening, a co-located peaker solar facility was no longer thought to be the best option for the facility’s design.

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  • 31
  • May
  • 2018

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  • Eric Holdsworth

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The Edison Electric Institute ESG/Sustainability Reporting Template: A Model For Other Industries

EEI’s member companies are leading the transformation to a lower-carbon economy through major capital investments in cleaner energy and smarter energy infrastructure. For example, since 2007, the mix of resources used to generate electricity in the United States has changed dramatically, with more than one-third of the nation’s electricity now coming from non-emitting resources. In addition, EEI member companies have undertaken a wide range of initiatives over the last 30 years to reduce, avoid, or sequester emissions, and, in 2017, power sector carbon dioxide emissions were 27 percent below 2005 levels. EEI’s member companies have also been at the forefront of ESG/sustainability reporting, being amongst the first industries to undertake sustainability and climate reporting.

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The Sustainability Report Heard Round the World?

On March 9, 2018, UBS filed a Form 6-K with the SEC enclosing its EU-required corporate sustainability report. This filing marks a significant moment in the rapidly changing world of environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) disclosures as it effectively declares climate and sustainability reporting to be material. As we have noted previously, increasing investor demands for information on ESG topics, including climate change, has rapidly blurred the line between financial and non-financial disclosures.

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  • 30
  • April
  • 2018

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Natural Disaster: Social Insurance in an Era of Climate Change

V&E lawyers Margaret Peloso and Kristen Miller examine whether and how social insurance programs should be redesigned in order to better address the environmental disasters caused by global climate change in a recent article published in The Environmental Forum. The article briefly explores the current role of social insurance programs in managing environmental risk, before assessing the strain these programs will experience as climate events become increasingly extreme and frequent. 

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SEC Staff Permits “Micro-Management” Argument to Exclude Climate Change Proposals

During the 2018 proxy season, the SEC has been taking a more nuanced, company-friendly approach to certain climate change and environmental protection shareholder proposals. Specifically, the Commission recently concurred with the exclusion of several climate change shareholder proposals on the grounds that they sought to “micro-manage” the company under the “ordinary business” exception to Rule 14a-8.

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ExxonMobil Releases Climate Change Report, Following Similar Reports by Chevron, Shell, and Others

In response to a shareholder proposal that received a majority vote in 2017, ExxonMobil released Energy & Carbon Summary: Positioning for a Lower-Carbon Energy Future, a report outlining the potential impacts of climate change on ExxonMobil’s business through 2040.

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