On Wednesday February 24, Jonathan Nwagbaraocha of Enhesa was a guest speaker in my Global Environmental Law seminar. He presented a paper on “Global Pollutant and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting” that he had prepared as part of his work advising companies on how to comply with global environmental standards. A copy of the paper is available on my parallel website at: www.globalenvironmentallaw.com. Jonathan, who is a 2005 graduate of Maryland’s Environmental Law Program, found that several countries have adopted disclosure requirements similar to the Toxics Release Inventory established in the U.S. by the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (ECRA). The European Union’s disclosure requirements are among the most extensive. The paper also tracks the growth of disclosure requirements for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has announced that it will establish an independent committee of experts to review the panel’s procedures. Appointment of the independent panel is a response to criticism of mistakes in the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report, including an estimate that glaciers in the Himalayas could disappear in 2035 instead of 2350, and the release of stolen emails from University of East Anglia climate researchers. While the details of how the independent panel will be selected will not be available until next month, the IPCC noted that it continues to “stand firmly behind the rigour and robustness of the 4th Assessment Report’s conclusions” which “are based on an overwhelming body of evidence from thousands of peer-reviewed and independent scientific studies.”
Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham reportedly is proposing a targeted carbon tax as an alternative to the cap and trade program for controlling GHG emissions that is included in the Maxman-Markey bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last spring. Noting that few college students have any doubt about the reality of climate change, Graham reportedly believes that it is essential that Republicans modify their opposition to efforts to reduce GHG emissions. Thomas L. Friedman, How the G.O.P. Goes Green, New York Times, February 28, 2010.
The Teamsters union has endorsed the use of low-emissions trucks to serve ports in the U.S. in an effort to reduce serious pollution problems there. A coalition of labor groups and environmentalists helped convince the Port of Los Angeles to ban the use of older, high-emission trucks to transport cargo from the port. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the Port of Los Angeles have adopted plans to impose additional charges on those who use older vehicles in order to help provide financial assistance for the purchase of low emission vehicles. Steven Greenhouse, Clearing the Air at American Ports, N.Y. Times, Feb. 26, 2010.