Trees damaged by bark beetles slow their uptake of CO2 for up to a century

As noted in prior posts, bark beetles damage large forest areas, often killing or causing the death of 50% to 80% of mature trees. As these trees decompose, they release CO2, adding to the atmospheric burden of GHG's. New research has identified additional climate repercussions from beetle outbreaks...

The solar cycle is decreasing the impact of GHG emissions, but probably only for the near-term

The sun's activity waxes and wanes on a cycle that averages roughly 11 years, though cycles as short as nine years and as long as 14 years have been observed. Chinese astronomers were already tracking the sun's activity using sunspots more than 2,000 years ago; the modern record of solar output...

Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law: Global Agencies Launch Project to Promote Energy Efficient Buildings in East Africa

By J. Cullen Howe, Environmental Law Specialist, Arnold & Porter LLP In May 2011, the Global Environment Facility, in collaboration with two United Nation agencies (the U.N. Environment Program and the U.N. Human Settlements Program), announced a project to promote building energy efficiency...

Marten Law: Under Attack, EPA Defers Greenhouse Gas Permitting for Biomass Projects

By Dustin Till, Associate, Marten Law Group PLLC "With its greenhouse gas regulatory program under attack from Congress, and facing significantly reduced funding for climate change programs, EPA has proposed new rules that will temporarily defer-and possibly exempt-greenhouse gas permitting...

U.S. Supreme Court finds that statutory law of CAA displaces Federal common law and state tort law on issue of GHG emissions

Several States, a city, and land trusts filed federal common law public nuisance claims against various power companies; they requested that the court set CO2 emission limits. In American Electric Power Co. et al v. Connecticut et al , 2011 U.S. LEXIS 4565 (6/20/11), the U.S. Supreme Court addressed...

Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law: Department of Energy Will Use Full-Fuel-Cycle Analysis When Determining Energy Conservation Standards for Appliances

By J. Cullen Howe, Environmental Law Specialist, Arnold & Porter LLP On August 18, 2011, the Department of Energy said in a policy statement (Energy Conservation Program for Consumer Products and Certain Commercial and Industrial Equipment: Statement of Policy for Adopting Full-Fuel-Cycle Analyses...

Penguin decline may turn on presence or absence of krill, not the loss of sea ice per se

Researchers have been following the penguin population off the tip of the West Antarctic Peninsula since the 1970's. Winter air temperatures in the region have climbed a significant 5 to 6 degrees Celsius in recent decades with a concomitant loss of sea ice; this region is one of the fastest warming...

Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing: Recent Controversy and Litigation

By J. Cullen Howe, Environmental Law Specialist, Arnold & Porter LLP There is a continuing controversy over Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, which provides loans for improving energy efficiency in buildings. Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing has been challenged in...

Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law: Urban Green Council Releases Report Finding That Green Codes Task Force’s Recommendations Have Reduced Greenhouse Gas Emissions And Saved Energy

By J. Cullen Howe, Environmental Law Specialist, Arnold & Porter LLP On February 2, 2012, the Urban Green Council released a report finding that New York City is on track to meet its goal of lowering carbon emissions, energy consumption, and waste by following recommendations of the Green Codes...

Acidification of Oceans May Affect the Brains of Fish

Yesterday's post noted some of the adverse consequences that are likely to arise from acidification of oceans. Another recent study shows that such acidification can influence the behavior of fish because of impacts on their brains; the response of nerve cells can be reversed as acidifying seawater...

Obama Administration Finalizes Historic 54.5 mpg Fuel Efficiency Standards

Consumer Savings Comparable to Lowering Price of Gasoline by $1 Per Gallon by 2025 WASHINGTON, DC - The Obama Administration has finalized groundbreaking standards that will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light-duty trucks by Model Year 2025. When combined with previous...

Columbia Law School Center for Climate Change Law: GHG Protocol Releases New Corporate GHG Reporting Standard

In April 2013, the GHG Protocol, a partnership between the World Resources Institute and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, released new guidelines to account for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in both upstream and downstream corporate activities. Previously, GHG Protocol developed...

Proposed Federal Strategies to Reduce Methane Emissions

While energy conservation, reducing fossil fuel combustion to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, is important to combat climate change, another GHG of importance is methane (CH 4 ), which is 21 times more potent than CO 2. CH 4 emissions do not derive from combustion, but instead from natural decomposition...

Obama To Slash Emissions From Power Plants

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its long awaited proposed greenhouse gas (GHG) emission standards to slash carbon emissions from existing power plants, the largest industrial source of GHG emissions in the US. The rule, if upheld by the Supreme Court, will require existing...

Supreme Court Affirms In Part, Reverses In Part Clean Air Act Ruling

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (Mealey's) The U.S. Supreme Court today reversed in part and affirmed in part a District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruling as to whether the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could require companies emitting greenhouse gases (GHGs) to obtain permits for...

Federal Government Proposes New Air Pollution Regulations

The federal government has proposed a major set of new air pollution regulations to reduce industrial-source air pollution, starting with performance standards for the cement sector and two equipment types: gaseous-fuel-fired non-utility boilers/ heaters and stationary spark-ignition gaseous-fuel-fired...

EPA Appears to Have Green Light to Develop Regulations on Utility Power Plant Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Efforts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gas emissions just cleared a significant hurdle through a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, which appears to give the agency a green light to move forward with its development of a regulatory regime concerning utility...

Supreme Court Ruling Means Some Facilities Will No Longer Trigger Greenhouse Gas Permitting Requirements

In a highly anticipated decision issued June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court held that USEPA cannot require a stationary source to obtain a Prevention of Significant Deterioration (PSD) or Title V permit on the sole basis of its potential to emit greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, however,...

Supreme Court Rejects Premise For GHG Tailoring Rule, But Largely Maintains EPA’s Authority To Set GHG Emission Limits

By Deborah E. Jennings , Catherine B. Campbell , and Andrew B. Schatz In a split decision, the United States Supreme Court confirmed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from new and modified stationary sources that are required to obtain...

What Does Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions as Described by EPA in the “Tailoring Rule” Have to Do With the Clean Air Act?

UARG v. EPA (Tailoring Rule Litigation) This summer, Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court [lexis.com subscribers may access Supreme Court briefs and the opinion for this case] on the question of whether EPA motor vehicle greenhouse gas regulations necessarily automatically...