That portion of the power sector that includes the combustion of fossil fuels in electric generating units (EGUs) is the largest stationary source of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the United States and was responsible for emitting 25 percent of the overall domestic carbon emissions in 2021.
Air Emissions Climate Change & Sustainability
Net Zero Ever More Problematic: Global Coal-Fired Power Capacity Went Up in 2022 / China’s Increase Overpowers the Rest of the World
In a report released April 5, 2023, the Global Energy Monitor (GEM) produced its’ ninth annual survey of the “coal plant pipeline.” While the amount of planned coal-fired power plant capacity in developing countries fell by 23 gigawatts (GW), China’s planned capacity overpowered that reduction by over five times, i.e., 126 GW.
Released on March 20, 2023, the Climate Change 2023: Synthesis Report was prepared by 93 authors and is based on the work of hundreds of scientists in the sixth assessment cycle of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC publishes comprehensive scientific assessments every six to seven years. The previous Fifth Assessment Report was completed in 2014 and provided the main scientific input in 2015 to The Paris Agreement.
On January 23, the Center for Biological Diversity made good on its threat to sue EPA for its approval of Colorado’s State Implementation Plan (SIP) amending the state’s programs for New Source Review and Air Pollution Emission Notices. See Petition for Review filed in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals here.
U.S. Council on Environmental Quality Issues Climate Change Guidance for NEPA Reviews of Clean Energy Projects
In the January 9 Federal Register, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published updated Guidance on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change for the assessment and disclosure of climate impacts related to agency environmental reviews conducted pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NEPA review focus of the guidance is federal agency permitting for clean energy and other infrastructure projects and is designed to provide more clarity and predictability for conducting agency reviews. The guidance highlights existing tools and best practices.
Climate Adaptation Plans – Will Words Be Translated to Actions? COP27, U.S., State, and Local Action Plans
Clients will have to adapt to the certainty of increased regulation at the international, federal, state and local levels to meet the aggressive carbon-reduction goals set by governmental authorities. John Doerr in his recent book “Speed & Scale, An Action Plan for Solving our Climate Crisis Now” summarizes the actions he submits that politicians, industries and investors must undertake to reach net-zero by 2050. He begins his blueprint for action with an admonition from his 15-year-old daughter voiced at a dinner he hosted in 2006 after a screening of An Inconvenient Truth: “Dad, your generation created this problem. You better fix it.”
Following up on President Biden’s 2020 Climate Change Executive Order 14008 issued in his first week in office, EPA Administrator Michael Regan issued a policy statement on May 26, 2021 that directed all EPA offices to update their 2014 Climate Implementation Plans to:
First came the whistleblowers’ letter from Colorado state agency staff to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of the Inspector General (OIG). The EPA’s OIG referred the matter to EPA’s Region 8 office for review. Then came the Troutman Report requisitioned by the Colorado Attorney General.
The compromise – the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 – was announced on July 27, 2022, by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and by a 51:50 party-line vote survived the August 6-7 “vote-a-rama” gauntlet in the full Senate. Calling it the “single biggest climate investment in U.S. history,” with a goal of reducing carbon emissions in the U.S. by up to 40% by 2030, the legislative summary says the bill will:
Companies that store hazardous waste liquids with organics or other volatile and light vapors should ensure that the tanks, containers, and equipment used at those facilities satisfy the RCRA Organic Air Emission Standards in Subparts AA, BB, and CC under 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265. Over the past month, EPA has announced at least five separate penalty enforcement actions for air emission violations under the Subpart BB and Subpart CC standards. EPA promulgated the RCRA hazardous waste air emission standards to reduce the release of air emissions and organic vapors into the atmosphere from hazardous waste tanks, containers, equipment, and process vents, to prevent ozone precursors and other air toxics.