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ClientEarth, an environmental advocacy organization active in climate litigation, together with Friends of the Earth and the Good Law Project, presented legal arguments before the UK High Court on June 8-9 in their challenge of the UK government’s net-zero by 2050 strategy. ClientEarth asserts that the UK government has not met its legal obligation under the Climate Change Act, which requires the government to set climate policies that satisfy the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets. ClientEarth argues that the UK is relying on unproven technologies instead of supporting opportunities for immediate impact, including recommendations for cutting emissions and reducing energy bills from the UK’s Climate Change Committee, such as increased insulation and low-carbon heating in buildings. ClientEarth notes that the UK’s current approach will require significant and drastic emissions reductions in the coming decades, with increased impacts on young people and future generations. Last month, ClientEarth, along with Dutch campaigners Fossielvrij Netherlands and Reclame Fossielvrij, delivered a letter to Dutch airline, KLM, stating their intention to file a legal claim if the demands set out in the letter are not met. The demands include calling for a ban on all fossil fuel advertising in the EU. ClientEarth intends for the ban to stop companies like KLM from misleading the public over what is needed to reduce emissions and the airline industry’s contribution to climate change. ClientEarth is targeting KLM’s ‘Fly Responsibly’ ad campaign and the airline’s offers for customers to purchase carbon offsets which will be used to fund reforestation projects or the purchase of biofuels to offset the emissions from their flight. ClientEarth states that such campaigns do little to reduce emissions and may instead undermine and delay urgent climate change action.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its final installment of the Sixth Assessment Report, Working Group III’s report on the global assessment of climate change mitigation progress and pledges “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change” (the Report). It also released an accompanying Summary for Policymakers and Technical Summary. The Report considers and documents the scientific, technological, environmental, economic, and social aspects of mitigation of climate change and notes the growing role of non-state and sub-national actors including cities, businesses, Indigenous Peoples, citizens, transnational initiatives, and public-private entities in addressing the impacts and causes of climate change. The Report has been highly anticipated and is the first mitigation report that the IPCC has published since 2014. It provides an unprecedented level of scientific analysis on the options to mitigate climate change, including a significant focus on carbon dioxide removals and the costs of emissions reductions. This bulletin briefly highlights key findings of the Report. Recent developments and current trends. The Report notes that: Total greenhouse (GHG) emissions continued to rise during the period 2010–2019, largely attributed to urban areas, and that the average annual GHG emissions during 2010–2019 were higher than in any previous decade. Reduced emissions from industrial processes and fossil fuels have been more than offset by increased emissions from rising global activity levels in industry, energy supply, transport, agriculture, and buildings. Global GHG emissions in 2030 associated with the implementation of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) announced prior to COP26 make it likely that warming will exceed 1.5°C during this century. Policy, cost, deployment of low-emission technologies and finance. The Report notes that: The cost of low-emission technologies such as photovoltaics, onshore and offshore wind, concentrating solar power, and batteries for passenger electric vehicles (EVs) has continued to decrease since 2010, as demonstrated by an over…

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) today released the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan (the Plan) under the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (the Act; read our earlier bulletin on the Act here). The Plan sets out current actions, additional funding of $9.1B, and several new initiatives to meet Canada’s emissions reduction target of 40-45% below 2005 levels by 2030, as provided last year in an update to Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement (read our earlier bulletin on Canada’s updated NDC targets here).   The Plan also sets a new interim objective of reducing GHGs by 20% below 2005 levels by 2026, noting that this interim objective is not an official target akin to Canada’s 2030 NDC, but that progress towards achieving the objective will be a cornerstone of progress reports associated with the Plan in 2023, 2025, and 2027.   This bulletin highlights key parts of the Plan and summarizes the newly announced funding and initiatives, across the following categories: Carbon pricing Clean fuels Clean growth funding Methane Buildings Electricity Heavy industry Oil and gas Transportation Agriculture Waste Nature-based solutions Clean technology and climate innovation Sustainable finance Jobs, skills, and communities Prime Minister Justin Trudeau launched the Plan in an address at the GLOBE Forum in Vancouver earlier today.  Carbon pricing. The Plan notes the measures undertaken to address economy-wide emissions including the federal fuel charge and the Output-Based Pricing System for industrial emitters under the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act. Escalating the federal benchmark price to $170 by 2030 is meant to further support the 2030 targets of the federal government along with continued consultations on a possible border carbon adjustment (read our earlier bulletin here). Very significantly, the Plan puts forward the concept of investment approaches, like carbon contracts for differences, which enshrine future price levels in contracts between the federal government and low-carbon…

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) today released a discussion paper, “A Clean Electricity Standard in support of a net-zero electricity sector” (the Discussion Paper), as part of its first steps in developing and consulting on a Clean Electricity Standard (CES) under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999. This bulletin summarizes key details of the Discussion Paper and provides important information on ECCC’s consultation on developing a CES.   Purpose. The Discussion Paper indicates that its purpose is to support the government’s intention to introduce regulations to achieve a net-zero electricity system by 2035 and invite comments regarding the scope and design of the CES. The Discussion Paper notes that Canada’s electricity system is currently 82% non-emitting but remains Canada’s 4th largest source of emissions, accounting for 8.4% of total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2019.   Proposed CES Regulations. The Discussion Paper notes that carbon pricing will be insufficient to ensure that the electricity sector achieves net-zero emissions by 2035 or likely even by 2050. Therefore, a nation-wide CES regulation will complement carbon pricing by requiring the phase-out of all conventional fossil fuel electricity generation and incentivizing fuel switching in other sectors. The scope and design of the CES regulations will also need to provide enough compliance flexibility to allow for the use of natural gas for emergency events, back-up power to complement renewables, and supplying power during seasonal peaks of demand. The proposed CES regulations may, among other things: apply to all sources of emitting electricity generation that sell to the grid; transition the electricity sector to net-zero by 2035 while providing increased supply of electricity to support electrification and the role of available technologies in the provision of clean power to Canadians; be stringent enough to achieve its objectives while including compliance flexibility, such as robust GHG offsets, and allow for the…

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 lisa@resilientllp.com.