Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council proposes greenhouse gas reporting rule for contractors
State Department launches new climate-focused initiatives
Energy Secretary signs memorandum of understanding on zero-emissions heavy-duty vehicles
EPA proposes new "social cost of carbon"
estimate
Governor Hochul announces approval of major offshore wind transmission line
California Air Resources Board issues "aggressive measures" to combat climate change
California approves desalination plant


This article outlines pertinent legal and policy climate change developments in the United States during the past week.(1)

Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council proposes greenhouse gas reporting rule for contractors

On 14 November 2022, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council proposed a rule that will impact nearly all federal contractors. Specifically, the proposed rule will establish annual reporting requirements for greenhouse gas emissions whereby the level of required reporting will depend on a contractor's revenue from federal contracts. Major and significant contractors will be compelled to report scope one and two emissions. Major contractors, however, will be required to report scope three emissions as well.

State Department launches new climate-focused initiatives

On 18 November 2022, the State Department launched various climate-focused initiatives, including:

  • the Clean Energy Demand Initiative;
  • the Net Zero World Initiative;
  • the Zero Emissions Vehicle in Emerging Markets Initiative;
  • the Just Energy Workforce Transition; and
  • the Global Memorandum of Understanding on Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles.

Moreover, the Department indicated that the United States would:

  • expand the United States-Association of Southeast Asian Nations Climate Solutions Hub;
  • support advanced nuclear zero emissions solutions for Ukraine and the European Union;
  • provide regulatory and grid support to India;
  • empower the youth as clean energy leaders;
  • scale up the global climate action platform; and
  • bolster the collective 2030 zero emissions vehicle goal.

Energy Secretary signs memorandum of understanding on zero-emissions heavy-duty vehicles

On 17 November 2022, US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding, outlining that the United States will only sell and produce zero-emissions medium- and heavy-duty vehicles by 2040. Ahead of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, a group of lawmakers highlighted that while medium and heavy trucks represent just 10% of vehicles, they account for 28% of total on-road greenhouse gas emissions.

EPA proposes new "social cost of carbon" estimate

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed a new estimate for the social cost of carbon emissions, a metric that has been questioned in court (for further details, see "Climate policy update: methane emissions, social cost of carbon, climate week and more"). The EPA proposed increasing the interim value of $51 per metric ton of carbon dioxide to $190 per metric ton. The agency is requesting public comments on the estimate.

Governor Hochul announces approval of major offshore wind transmission line

On 17 November 2022, the New York State Public Service Commission approved a transmission line that will "deliver electricity from the Sunrise Wind Farm, a proposed wind farm off the coast of Long Island, to the existing electrical grid in New York State". The development is part of New York's "nation-leading climate plan": the state is aiming to "reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050".

California Air Resources Board issues "aggressive measures" to combat climate change

On 16 November 2022, the California Air Resources Board released its latest iteration of the 2022 Scoping Plan. The proposal includes the following goals to be met by 2045:

  • cut greenhouse gas emissions by 85% below 1990 levels;
  • reduce smog-forming air pollution by 71%;
  • reduce fossil fuel consumption by less than one-tenth of what California presently uses;
  • create 4 million new jobs; and
  • save $200 billion in health costs due to pollution.

California approves desalination plant

On 17 November 2022, the California Coastal Commission approved a permit for the company California American Water to draw water from the coast of Marina, California, to supply a private plant in Monterey County. It is expected that the plant will produce 4.8 million gallons of potable water daily.

For further information on this topic please contact Kenneth J Markowitz, Stacey H Mitchell, Dario J Frommer or Christopher A Treanor at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP by telephone (+1 202 887 4000) or email ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] or [email protected]). The Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP website can be accessed at www.akingump.com.

Leila Fleming, public policy specialist, assisted with the preparation of this article.

Endnotes

(1) For further updates, including upcoming congressional hearings, federal agency climate news and events, click here. For the previous week's update, click here.