January 2022


A federal judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has cancelled oil and gas leases of 80.8 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, citing inadequate environmental assessments of the impact of GHG emissions on climate change. The judge determined that the Interior Department “acted arbitrarily and capriciously in excluding foreign consumption from their [GHG] emissions calculations” contrary to requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Environmental groups claimed the NEPA analysis performed by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management was irrational and inconsistent with available data in determining that the GHG emissions associated with the lease sale would be lower and not contribute to climate change compared to a no-action scenario. The Interior Department must now conduct new analysis taking into account GHG emissions resulting from the development and production of the leases, including the associated emissions from foreign consumption. The Interior Department must then consider the new analysis in determining whether to hold a new auction for the cancelled leases.  President Biden, during his campaign for office, had stated that there would be no new drilling for oil and gas on federal lands and signed an Executive Order to that effect early last year. However, Attorneys General from 13 states successfully sued to have previously planned auctions from the Trump Administration go forward, with major oil companies including Shell, BP, Chevron and Exxon Mobile bidding $192M for the now cancelled drilling rights.  For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at

Ontario’s Ministry of Energy (the Ministry) this week announced its intention to develop a new voluntary clean energy credit registry (CEC) registry. The Ministry has directed Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to research and report on the design of a provincial CEC registry by July 4, 2022. The Ministry also indicated that it intends to consider the IESO report and stakeholder feedback before implementing the CEC registry by January 2023.   The Ministry stated that the CEC Registry will assist businesses operating in Ontario to meet corporate environmental and sustainability goals. The voluntary CECs would represent 1 MWh of clean electricity generated from one or multiple non-emitting sources such as solar, wind, bioenergy, hydroelectric and nuclear. Purchasers will be allowed to purchase and retire the voluntary CECs to meet corporate and individual goals and demonstrate that their electricity is generated from non-emitting sources.  Revenue from the sale of CECs could (i) be returned to Ontario ratepayers to lower the cost of electricity and/or (ii) support future clean energy generation projects. The proposed CEC registry is intended to assist businesses to reduce emissions and meet the climate targets of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan, Ontario’s climate and environment plan.   The CEC registry would match similar voluntary registries in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and New England For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at

Canada and Alberta are accelerating their phase down of all coal-fired electricity generation assets and the ripple effect is evident in the actions of leading energy corporations. Yesterday, ATCO, a Calgary-based energy company, announced new ESG targets for 2030 and a commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050. This follows actions to reduce its operational GHG emissions by 90 per cent between 2019 and 2020, in part, through the sale of its Canadian fossil fuel-based electricity generation assets.   ATCO indicates that the company will accelerate the deployment and use of clean hydrogen, energy storage, renewable electricity, and energy efficiency technologies to achieve its net zero commitment by 2050. In addition, it will work with government to support enabling policy and regulation and identify barriers for a cost-effective decarbonization of the economy.   ATCO’s ESG targets include: reducing net operational GHG emissions to earnings intensity by 30 per cent; reducing customer GHG emissions by 2 million tonnes through participation in renewable energy, clean fuels, energy efficiency, and energy infrastructure projects; owning, developing, or managing over 1,000 MW of renewable energy; and deriving 20 per cent of revenues from transitional product categories (such as renewable natural gas and hydrogen).  These changes precede what is anticipated to be mandatory climate-related financial disclosures being announced and imposed by the Canadian Securities Administrators (see our earlier bulletin on proposed climate-related disclosure requirements here). We expect other energy corporations to also make bold announcements in the coming months.  For further information or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) yesterday published draft Federal GHG Offset Protocols for Landfill Methane Recovery and Destruction and Reducing Greenhouse Gases from Refrigeration Systems (the Draft Protocols) for a 30-day comment period (read our earlier bulletin announcing the development of draft protocols here). ECCC is in the process of developing protocols to advance the Federal GHG Offset System under Part 2 of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act and in accordance with proposed Greenhouse Gas Offset Credit System Regulations published last year.   Public Consultation ECCC is seeking public comment on the Draft Protocols to help inform the development of the final protocols. ECCC intends to publish the final versions mid-2022. Interested stakeholders have until February 18, 2022 to submit feedback on the Draft Protocols by emailing the Offsets and Emissions Trading Section of ECCC.    Future Protocols ECCC is also currently working on developing Federal GHG Offset Protocols for the following: Improved Forest Management Enhanced Soil Organic Carbon Livestock Feed Management We anticipate draft protocols on the above to be published later this year. For assistance with comments, further information, or to discuss the contents of this bulletin, please contact Lisa DeMarco at

The recently launched Peoples Forests Partnership (the Partnership), aims to secure commitments to mobilize $20 billion per year by 2030 to Indigenous Peoples, traditional owners, and local communities (IPLCs) for community-based tropical forest conservation and restoration projects in the Global South. Facilitating members of the Partnership include Forest Trends, RECOFTC, Wildlife Works Carbon, Everland, and Green Collar. This Partnership could help reduce 2 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions from deforestation each year, protect 500 million hectares of threatened tropical forest, and support livelihoods and bioeconomy development for over 50 million people in forest communities.    The Partnership was launched last year during the COP 26 conference in Glasgow, following an announcement of funding of $1.7B for IPLCs pledged by Norway, UK, US, Germany, and the Netherlands. The funding, to be provided through 2025, will support the capacity of IPLCs to govern themselves collectively, assist with mapping and registration work, back national land reform, and help resolve conflict over territories.   The Partnership will support performance-based payments, such as carbon credits, and other climate funding mechanisms, including a financing facility specifically focused on strengthening territorial governance to be managed by Forest Trends. The Partnership is organized around two governing principles (i) forest communities are essential conservation partners; and (ii) community-based, values-driven climate and conservation finance projects have the potential to create a future with forests that aligns with forest community rights to their territories, economic self-determination, and cultural traditions.   Facilitating members represent a collective portfolio that includes: over 250,000 Indigenous and other forest community members receiving direct market finance in recognition for protecting forests; ​over 2 million hectares of tropical forests with active climate finance projects; financing already in place for a portfolio of community-based forest conservation projects that will deploy $2 billion in private investment and stop 200 million tonnes of deforestation emissions…