Kenneth J. Markowitz Stacey H. Mitchell Dario J. Frommer Christopher A. Treanor September 26 2022 Climate policy update: methane emissions, social cost of carbon, climate week and more Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP | Environment & Climate Change - USA Kenneth J. Markowitz, Stacey H. Mitchell, Dario J. Frommer, Christopher A. Treanor Environment & Climate Change Carbon tax will accelerate reduction of methane emissions"Social cost of carbon" questioned in courtClimate goals uncertain if FERC chair's term expiresEPA seeks guidance on carbon standards for fossil fuel plantsClimate week takes place in New York CityDenver climate fund raises $67 millionNewsom opposes taxation of millionaires to fund air pollution reduction programmesCARB proposes new regulation to reduce emissions in transport sectorEnvironmentalists win fight against construction of $9.4 billion plastics complexThis article outlines pertinent legal and policy climate change developments in the United States during the past week.(1)Carbon tax will accelerate reduction of methane emissionsThe Inflation Reduction Act 2022 includes the Methane Emissions Reduction Programme, which establishes a methane fee from 1 January 2024. The methane fee applies to specific petroleum and natural gas facilities that currently are required to report methane and other greenhouse gas emissions through the Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Reporting Programme. The fees apply to a facility's emissions in exceedance of 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent."Social cost of carbon" questioned in courtOn 14 September 2022, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit judges questioned the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on its plans to use a social cost estimate to determine the climate impact of certain projects. Environmental advocates had urged FERC to utilise a social cost estimate, but the metric remains controversial.Climate goals uncertain if FERC chair's term expiresDespite FERC Chair Richard Glick's term running out at the end of the congressional session, the Energy and Natural Resources committee has not scheduled a reconfirmation hearing. Senator Joe Manchin, who chairs the Energy and Natural Resources committee, previously pushed back on Glick's ambitious climate agenda, but recently praised his work, leaving Glick's future uncertain.EPA seeks guidance on carbon standards for fossil fuel plantsThe Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is seeking stakeholder opinions on the implementation of carbon standards for fossil fuel power plants under the Clean Air Act. The EPA is slated to release proposals on limiting carbon from power plants in the first quarter of 2023.Climate week takes place in New York City"Climate Week NYC 2022" took place from 19 to 25 September 2022 in New York City, bringing together "the most influential leaders in climate action from business, government, and the climate community". The event covered 10 themes: built environment, energy, environmental justice, transport, finance, sustainable living, nature, policy, industry and food. The organisers, Climate Group, aim to achieve net zero emissions worldwide by 2050.Denver climate fund raises $67 millionFollowing the Denver residents' approval in 2020 of an increased local sales tax, the additional 0.25% tax has raised $67 million "to mitigate the causes of climate change", with over half going "to communities in Denver most harmed by climate change impacts".(2) The measure has so far raised funds for:more than 2,000 new trees;a free, on-demand micro-shuttle;retrofitting apartments; andnew positions in workforce development programmes.Newsom opposes taxation of millionaires to fund air pollution reduction programmesGovernor Gavin Newsom was featured in an ad against Proposition 30 – a ballot measure that "provides funding for programs to reduce air pollution and prevent wildfires by increasing tax on personal income over $2 million". If approved by Californians, the measure would require the California Air Resources Board (CARB), among other agencies, to provide incentives for the purchasing of electric vehicles.CARB proposes new regulation to reduce emissions in transport sectorCARB has unveiled a proposal that prohibits manufacturers from selling new medium and heavy-duty trucks fuelled by diesel or gas by 2040. According to CARB, the proposals will "contribute to achieving the State's criteria pollutant and [greenhouse gas] reduction goals as well as cleaner technology targets needed to protect communities", and are expected to "save over 5,000 Californian lives between 2024 and 2050".Environmentalists win fight against construction of $9.4 billion plastics complexOn 15 September 2022, Judge Trudy White of Louisiana's 19th Judicial District in Baton Rouge ruled in favour of climate activists, blocking the construction of 10 chemical plants and four other major facilities in a highly industrialised part of the Mississippi River. The ruling is under review by Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality.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.(2) "Climate Protection Fund", Denver.