Is BlackRock Starting to Walk the Walk?

Climate risk is investment risk.

So says BlackRock.  And when you manage $8.7 trillion, people tend to listen to what you say.  I’ve been noting for some time that BlackRock’s statements seemed to presage increasing shareholder activism with respect to climate.  And yet there have been skeptics.  As noted in ClimateWire last week, BlackRock’s actions have not always seemed to match its rhetoric.… More

DOER Releases Proposed Procurement Process for Clean Peak Energy Certificates

On January 22, 2021, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”) released a proposed procurement process for clean peak energy certificates. See our former posts on the clean peak standard final regulations and implementation for more information on the program. DOER is accepting comments on the proposed procurement process until February 19, 2021, and a DOER summarized Questions and Answers document is available here.… More

Supreme Court to Decide Eminent Domain Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review a case that will have far-reaching consequences for interstate pipeline projects.

The case, PennEast Pipeline Co. v. New Jersey, involves a FERC-approved natural gas pipeline that would pass through New Jersey and Pennsylvania. PennEast invoked the federal government’s eminent domain power under the Natural Gas Act to claim easements over New Jersey-owned lands.… More

Biden Faces Challenges at Home as U.S. Rejoins Paris Agreement

As promised, President Biden has recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate agreement. He’s also undertaken sweeping executive action to undo the previous administration’s environmental rollbacks. But after four years of lagging behind the rest of the world, the U.S. will face significant challenges in achieving meaningful emissions reductions without new legislation. And that means a tough road ahead working with an evenly divided Senate and moderates in Biden’s own party from states that remain dependent on fossil fuels.… More

Make a U-Turn and then Full Speed Ahead: Clean Air

Within hours after being sworn into office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order (“EO”) that teed up a slew of clean air issues as top environmental priorities. The Biden administration signaled its plan to unwind four years of environmental and energy policies marked by aggressive deregulation and sidelining efforts to combat climate change.

Although only allotted a short paragraph in the EO,… More

It’s the Externalities, Stupid — Climate Edition

Among the important provisions of President Biden’s Executive Order on Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis is the requirement to review and revise estimates of the social cost of carbon (and nitrous oxide and methane).  The order establishes a working group, co-chaired by the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, the Director of OMB, and the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. … More

There’s a big difference between mostly dead and all dead.

Sometimes, “mostly dead” is just a pause before successfully storming the castle.  On January 14, Governor Baker vetoed the climate bill that passed the Massachusetts Legislature on January 4 with overwhelming support (see our posts here, here, and here).  I couldn’t resist the Princess Bride reference, but despite the veto, it is probably a stretch to refer to the bill as even “mostly dead.”… More

Incoming SEC Chairman Likely To Push For More ESG Disclosure

In a recent post, we examined the growing clash within the SEC over whether to mandate and standardize disclosure by public companies of business impacts and risks associated with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) concerns.  Some at the SEC pushed for more standardized, comparable, and reliable disclosure of issuers’ exposure ESG risks.  Others, including former Chairman Jay Clayton, pushed back, arguing that current disclosure rules, which  already require companies to disclose material risks,… More

Massachusetts Legislature Passes Property Tax Reform for Solar, Wind, Energy Storage and Fuel Cells

As has been discussed in several posts here, on January 4, 2021, a conference committee of the Massachusetts House and Senate has issued a wide ranging “omnibus” energy bill “An Act creating a next-generation roadmap for Massachusetts climate policy (S2995).” The bill still awaits Governor Baker’s signature. Among the many features of the legislation, it would make several significant changes to Massachusetts law regulating cities and towns taxation of wind,… More

Major Climate Bill Recommits Massachusetts to Climate Goals

On January 4th, as the legislative session came to a close, both houses of the Massachusetts legislature passed “An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy.”  My colleague, Seth Jaffe, posted on the act yesterday, when the details of the bill first came out, focusing on the climate and economic impacts.  There is no doubt that this act will significantly shape Massachusetts’s path towards a net-zero future.… More