MoFo’s weekly Climate Links provide the latest industry updates from thought leaders and third-party sources. This week:
- In what was expected to be a positive end to 2023 for ESG investors and sustainability officers, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) climate disclosure requirements release has been rescheduled to release in the spring of 2024. Despite bold efforts made by California’s momentous climate disclosure legislation release in October, Gary Gensler, the SEC’s chair, has declined to comment on specific reasons for the delay or offer a definitive timeline to see the crucial federal legislation enacted.
- “This is the first time since 2019 that the economy has grown while emissions have fallen,” said Ben King, an associate director leading the Rhodium Group energy team. The modest emissions reduction represents progress, but also shows that U.S. climate goals remain far-fetched without additional ambition at the highest levels of government and industry.
- In its annual global climate analysis, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed the findings of EU scientists that 2023 was the warmest since records began in 1850, putting it at 1.35 degrees Celsius (2.43 degrees Fahrenheit) above the preindustrial average. The amount of heat stored in the upper layers of the ocean also reached a record high last year, NOAA said.
- The Methane Emissions Reduction Program, an enforcement provision in the 2022 climate law, imposes fees on excess emissions, and those fees will increase over the rest of the decade. The fee will initially kick in at $900 per metric ton this year, rise to $1,200 next year, and increase to $1,500 from 2026 on.
- The Environmental Protection Agency proposed steep new fees on methane emissions from oil and gas facilities, escalating a crackdown on the fossil fuel industry’s planet-warming pollution.
- A viral WSJ article, “The Latest Dirty Word in Corporate America: ESG,” showed how Corporate America is turning away from ESG as the term becomes politicized and legal threats for greenwashing loom.