Climate Change Heats Up at the New EPA

In an IPC webinar last week, Ken Rivlin, a partner and head of US environmental and regulatory law group at Alley & Overy, listed the top 5 environmental issues facing companies today as:

  • Managing environmental risk and opportunity with limited resources
  • Risk of increased enforcement in the US and around the world
  • Global Product Regulations
  • Sustainability
  • Climate Change & Emissions Trading

During the webcast, Rivlin drew attention to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) feeling of empowerment since the change in administration. This shift in attitudes is expected to result in an increased number of rules and enhanced enforcement. As staff moves forward on many long-stymied initiatives such as climate change, Congress is expected to approve a $7.8 billion dollar budget for the EPA, which will give the agency more leeway in how it is operated.

On a more global note, Rivlin touched on the issue of climate change. For several decades countries around the world have taken an active stance on the issue and are already moving forward in regards to climate legislation. With a new administration, the US is likely to catch up relatively soon. There is already a proposed reporting rule for greenhouse gas emissions and serious talk about a cap-and-trade program. Climate legislation is in its preliminary stages within the US, but it likely to mature in the coming years.

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