HFC Refrigerants Phase-Down Is Coming. Is Your Company Prepared?

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Carbon dioxide emissions aren’t the only greenhouse gases that corporations need to address when considering how to close the emissions gap and keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are greenhouse gases that the EPA says can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide and are used in commercial refrigeration, building and vehicle air conditioning and other equipment.

In March the EPA issued a proposed rule under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program that will expand the list of climate-friendly HFC alternatives and phase out certain HFCs in favor of safer options that are already available.

And globally, 197 countries are working to amend the international Montreal Protocol agreement to phase out HFCs. The phase-down could begin as early as this year.

States ask EPA for help on climate rule plans

Read the full story in The Hill.

More than a dozen states have asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give them more information on how to form implementation plans for the Obama administration’s climate rule for power plants.

The rule — the Clean Power Plan — has been stayed by the Supreme Court while litigation against it proceeds. But states are still able to form plans to implement the carbon reduction goals set out in the rule, and fourteen sent EPA Acting Assistant Administrator Janet McCabe a letter on Thursday asking for guidance on how to do that.

Carbon Tax based on Social Cost of Carbon: Cost Benefit Analysis in Disguise?

Read the full post at GreenLaw.

David Robert’s second installment of his ruminations on carbon taxes is out here, and is worth a read. Shorter David Roberts: a $10 per ton carbon tax based on low estimates of the social cost of carbon is still well beyond what U.S. households would be willing to pay to address climate change, but political resistance fades if the revenues are used to promote clean energy.  Ten dollars a ton works out to about ten cents per gallon of gasoline.

Even shorter Roberts: $10/ton too much (politically) to pay for climate. Much as I’d like, I can’t disagree with his political economics conclusion.

Roberts also asserts that:

A consensus has formed among economists, climate wonks, and progressives that a carbon tax is the best way to address climate change. In some quarters, rhetorical support for a carbon tax is seen as a litmus test for whether policymakers are serious about climate change.

Roberts then assumes that a carbon tax would or should be set at the social cost of carbon, per ton, even while acknowledging that estimates of the social cost of carbon almost certainly understate the true economic costs of climate change.

I think that even if one could calculate and monetize the true social cost of carbon, basing a tax on social cost would simply reinforce the imposition of climate harms on the global poor. Basing a tax on the social cost of carbon does not seek to prevent severe climate harm; rather, it simply seeks to reach the economically optimal rate of severe climate damage.  In other words, a “social cost of carbon” tax is simply cost-benefit in disguise – wealthy carbon emitters would rather pay the tax to continue their profitable carbon based economy, seeing the cost of compensation for the cheap social costs to poor people as a cost of doing business.  To add insult to injury, these “social cost” taxes would not be used to compensate those suffering the most severe climate harms, but rather would (in the best case) be recycled into making renewable energy cheaper in the developed economies best able to adapt to climate change.


‘Freeriding’ B.C. newspapers costing recycling program millions

Read the full story from CBC News.

The province is warning B.C.’s major newspapers to get in line, after they failed to contribute an estimated $16 million in fees to the province’s new recycling program.

Documents obtained by CBC News show three publishers representing The Vancouver Sun and The Province and two community newspaper groups — Black Press and Glacier Media — all received warning letters from the Ministry of Environment late last year, demanding they comply with B.C.’s new regulations.

The rules, which came into effect, May 19, 2014, require the producers of all packaging and printed paper (PPP) in B.C. to pay for the cost of recycling the products they sell consumers.

The aim of the program is to shift the cost from taxpayers to producers. Similar programs are also in effect in four other provinces.

The rules give producers two options: join the umbrella organization called Multi Material B.C. and pay an annual fee or set up their own collection and recycling system.

McCarthy: We’ll Wait for Court Until Implementing CPP Deadlines

Read the full story at Morning Consult.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy said Tuesday that the EPA will also delay the final September 2018 deadline for states to implement the Clean Power Plan, pending the Supreme Court’s decision on the rule. The EPA has already said it will not enforce a September 2016 deadline for states to submit initial compliance plans.

A tale of two wildlife refuges

Read the full story in The Hill.

Malheur National Wildlife Refuge bent over backwards to accommodate local ranching interests, allowing large tracts of fertile bottomland to be converted to cropfields producing hay, buckraked into piles each autumn. Local ranchers turn out their cattle on hayfields throughout the refuge for winter-long feeding. Refuge officials have claimed that this heavy winter grazing warms the soil and increases the availability of insects for shorebirds and waterfowl that stop through on their migrations.

Not 30 miles from Malhuer, the Hart Mountain National Wildlife Refuge was calm and peaceful while down the road the militants brandished assault rifles, misquoted the Constitution and railed against federal land managers for not giving ranchers a fair shake. Unlike Malheur, Hart Mountain has been closed to livestock grazing for decades.