What lies ahead for climate, air pollution and sustainability in 2016


Clean Power Plan graphic states

Bloomberg BNA’s annual Outlook series launches today with a series of in-depth stories related to climate change, air pollution and corporate sustainability.  

Major stories this year involve the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the Paris Agreement, corporate disclosures and a suite of domestic, climate-related regulations. Here are the specific events we’ll see unfolding in 2016:

State regulators may know whether the EPA’s Clean Power Plan passes legal muster before the Sept. 6 deadline to submit their initial compliance plans. States and utilities challenging the rule are pressing the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to hear by May initial challenges over the legality of the plan (story for subscribers here).

Meanwhile states are already considering options to implement the rule. States also are grappling with whether to pursue trading programs (story for subscribers here).

International climate negotiators will discuss key details left unclear for implementing the historic agreement reached in Paris at a meeting planned later this year in Morocco. Details include how to verify the actions nations have pledged and how to build on efforts to prepare vulnerable developing nations for rising sea level and other climate impacts (story for subscribers here).

Scrutiny of corporate disclosures is also expected to intensify in the wake of the Paris Agreement. For companies, the unprecedented deal will likely mean tighter greenhouse gas regulations and stricter emissions reporting requirements in the future, depending on the country (story for subscribers here).

                                                                EPA methane proposal graphic

The EPA will also pursue rules to limit greenhouse gas emissions from large trucks, oil and gas operations and aircraft. Pushing out a full suite of rules to address climate change has been a top priority of the Obama administration. Formally completing the rulemakings would make it more difficult to undo them should a Republican win the presidential election in November (story for subscribers here).

The agency must also work to address a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the legality of the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for power plants while implementing new, more stringent ozone standards of 70 parts per billion (story for subscribers here).