In recent years, the United States and China have found a rare basis for cooperation in their joint efforts to accelerate international efforts to manage and reduce climate change. The first significant step in this cooperation was the two countries’ bilateral agreement in November 2014 to manage greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions within their boundaries (I blogged about it here). At the time, the two countries offered their commitments as a way to reinforce international climate change negotiations underway to replace the expiring Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In December 2015, those negotiations produced the Paris Agreement, which established global mechanisms for countries to declare self-enforcing national GHG management commitments (I blogged about the Paris Agreement here).Read More
Audit, Compliance and Risk Blog
On August 2, the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued guidance to assist federal agencies in their consideration of the effects of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change when evaluating proposed federal actions. I refer to this documents as “the Guidance” below.Read More
The Clean Air Act (CAA) includes extensive regulatory requirements on “mobile sources,” which cover efficiency and emissions standards for a broad range of vehicles with internal combustion engines (automobiles, buses, aircraft), “nonroad engines and vehicles” (including lawnmowers, bulldozers and marine vessels), as well as motor fuel standards intended to promote cleaner burning fuels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses CAA authority to set emission limits from engines, for CAA-regulated air pollutants, including carbon dioxide (CO2) regulated for its greenhouse gas (GHG) aspects.Read More
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer provides the international framework for protecting the earth’s stratospheric ozone layer, by identifying and minimizing emissions of ozone depleting substances (ODSs). The original Montreal Protocol was initialed in September 1987 (I summarized it here). It is widely considered an effective example of international cooperation (I blogged about the healing of the “ozone hole” here), in contrast with ongoing struggles to reach binding international agreements to address climate change. In fact, during 2016 efforts are underway to build on the Montreal Protocol’s strengths by amending it to address additional chemicals that may harm ozone and contribute to climate change.Read More
On July 25, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a formal finding under the Clean Air Act (CAA), that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from aircraft “endanger public health or welfare.” This aircraft-specific finding builds on EPA’s 2009 finding that GHGs endanger public health, covering the same six GHGs: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, and sulfur hexafluoride. EPA calculates that aircraft produce 12 percent of all U.S. transportation GHG emissions and more than 3 percent of total U.S. GHG emissions, and that U.S. aircraft GHG emissions represent 29 percent of all global aircraft GHG emissions and 0.5 percent of total global GHG emissions.Read More
Last December, representatives of 195 countries agreed to continue to expand global efforts to combat climate change. The new Paris Agreement breaks a longstanding impasse with a clever mixture of multinational agreements and agreements-to-agree. I summarized its provisions (and the history of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Framework Convention) it modifies) here.Read More
You might ask how it is possible that there is no direct mention of the shipping industry in the Paris Agreement at COP21. Many people wonder just how much air pollution is created by the shipping industry and who is working to improve this mysterious source of greenhouse gas emissions?Read More
Effective February 16, 2016, the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revised the requirements for logging of commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers’ hours of service or “HOS.” A motor carrier operating CMVs must install and require each of its drivers to use an electronic logging device (ELD) to record the driver’s duty status no later than December 18, 2017.Read More
On December 11, 2015, representatives of 195 countries agreed to continue to expand global efforts to combat climate change. The new Paris Agreement breaks a longstanding impasse with a clever mixture of binding but unenforceable commitments, and present agreements and ongoing agreements-to-agree. It creates a structure that might, or might not, evolve fast enough to prevent the catastrophic climate changes otherwise predicted by most scientific experts.Read More
Separate Summaries For Generator Categories
In September, EPA published substantial regulatory revisions (which EPA entitles collectively as the Hazardous Waste Generator Improvements Rule) to its regulation of hazardous waste generators under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. In Part 1 of this series of blogs (click here), I summarized the principal revisions. In this Part 2 I recast the proposal to compile changes applicable to different categories of generators:
“Conditionally exempt small quantity generators (CESQGs)” – which are being renamed as “very small quantity generator (VSQG)”.
Small quantity generators (SQGs).
Large quantity generators (LQGs).