Climate Policy News You Can Use — November 2023
The Fifth National Climate Assessment was released this week, with the jaw-dropping finding that climate-related extreme weather events are costing the U.S. economy at least $150 billion a year. Every region of the U.S. is affected, and billion-dollar disasters now happen every three weeks on average, up from every four months in the 1980s. On a more hopeful note, the report points out that “the degree to which climate change will continue to worsen is largely in human hands,” and “the benefits of deep emission cuts for current and future generations are expected to far outweigh the costs.” See EDF’s statement.
Here are some ways you can support the policies we need to deliver those emissions cuts:
1. Keep climate on Congress’s agenda
The House passed a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government at current levels for some agencies and programs until January 19th, and others through February 2nd, 2024. The CR also extends the authorization of the Farm Bill until September 30th, 2024. The bill now heads to the Senate, where leaders Schumer and McConnell have both indicated they want to pass it quickly.
Assuming that happens, we will not see another shutdown threat until next year. House Speaker Mike Johnson has laid out plans to complete consideration of standalone appropriations bills, after which the House could turn back to energy and environmental legislation. Now is the time to voice your support for fully funding the Inflation Reduction Act and for keeping climate on the agenda for Congress.
- Continue to impress upon your Members of Congress the importance of the Inflation Reduction Act to your business and the need to ensure full funding of its provisions and implementing agencies.
- Talk to your Members of Congress and the new Speaker’s office about the risks that climate change poses to your business (see NCA5 examples by region). Let them know you support policies to cut GHG emissions and improve resilience.
2. Urge FERC to finalize the Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation Rule
The U.S. must speed up the development of electric transmission to enable interconnection of clean resources, increase grid reliability during extreme weather events, prepare for increased electrification of vehicles and buildings, and fully realize the potential emission reductions from the Inflation Reduction Act. Expanding electric transmission is also critical for companies to meet renewable energy goals.
To address this challenge, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) needs to finalize the Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation reforms it proposed in April 2022. Core components of a strong rule are (1) a requirement for long-term, scenario-based planning that reflects the needs of a decarbonizing system; (2) a mandate for multiple-value planning that incorporates economic benefits, reliability and resilience, congestion relief and generation availability; (3) a clear process for cost allocation with a standard methodology for resolving disputes; and (4) inclusion of non-wire alternatives and grid-enhancing technologies in the planning process.
Stakeholders are urging FERC to finalize a strong Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation rule, including Senate Majority Leader Schumer, the National Urban League and American Council on Renewable Energy and the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators. Now is the time for businesses to weigh in too.
- Reach out to FERC directly and/or issue a public letter urging FERC to finalize a strong Transmission and Cost Allocation rule as early as possible in 2024.
3. Welcome the SEC’s final rule on climate disclosure
As I’ve written previously, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is planning to release its final rule on climate-related financial disclosure in the next couple of months. The purpose of the rule is to bring disclosure of climate risk level with other forms of financial risk, enabling prudent decision-making by companies and investors. It is vital for organizations that support climate disclosure to publicly welcome the final rule upon its release.
- Prepare to make a positive statement on the release of the SEC’s final rule. If you filed supportive comments with the SEC, reiterate the points of your letter publicly.
- Work with other companies and your industry groups to show support for the final rule.
- Read EDF’s Stakeholder Guide to the SEC’s Proposed Rule on Climate-Related Disclosure
- EDF’s legal and regulatory team are happy to talk to interested companies about why and how to support the final rule. Reach out to me if you’d like to have that conversation!
4. Support EPA’s methane policy
All signs are pointing to EPA finalizing its oil and gas methane standards in the run-up to COP28. These urgently needed requirements are the culmination of a years-long stakeholder process, including two public comment periods that showed historic support from companies across sectors. As a reminder, EPA’s methane rules are relevant not just to oil and gas companies but also to banks and investors, electric utilities, companies that use natural gas as a manufacturing input, and major electricity users in states with gas-heavy grids.
With the whole world watching, COP28 is a critical window for companies to rise to this make-or-break moment in the energy transition, supporting strong methane rules and a robust implementation process. COP28 provides an ideal platform for companies to go on record in support of common-sense and cost-effective methane regulation.
- Issue a press release or social media post welcoming the EPA’s final methane rule as soon as it is posted here. Underscore the critical role methane regulations play in combating climate change.
- Contact Sean Hackett via email. to learn more.
- Read EDF’s blog: Three ways EPA’s upcoming methane regulations will help slow climate change and protect public health.
- Read EDF’s blog about why and how investors can support climate policy.
Finally, EDF is headed to COP28 next month. Bookmark this web page to see what we’re focused on and where to find us (events to be added soon).
As always, I welcome your feedback and thank you for reading. Feel free to forward this newsletter to anyone you think might find it interesting, or if someone forwarded it to you, subscribe here.