France is an Example of How Not to do Residential Greenhouse Gas Reduction

The country that is home to some of the most iconic buildings erected by humankind, from the Eiffel Tower to the Notre Dame Cathedral and the Palace of Versailles is failing its current inhabitants and decimating residential real estate with deeply flawed greenhouse gas emissions standards for rental properties.

France has more than 35 million dwellings and more than a quarter of those residences fall into the country’s worst greenhouse gas emission categories, with an Environmental Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of F or G. And that is not surprising because more than 36% of those dwellings were constructed before 1948.

Buildings that consume more than 450 kWh per m² fall into category G+ (.. worse than G). And that is significant because, since January 1, 2023, a residential building owner is not permitted to rent a property rated G+. 

This government policy, though commendable for its environmental aspirations, has negative implications for both tenants and building owners alike.

By way of background, all single family homes and flats offered for rent or sale in France must include an evaluation of their energy consumption, the Diagnostic de performance énergétique, energy performance diagnostic, or DPE.  In the finest example of French bureaucracy (.. possibly better than anything from the Ancien Régime, that was the social and political system in the Kingdom of France beginning in the 15th century), after 2020, the “real” power consumption of a building is no longer a consideration in DPE. Instead, DPE is an extraction based on factors including a structure’s building materials, orientation, mechanical systems, etc.

Under an updated schedule, the government has mandated that from January 1, 2025, forward, buildings that are rated below F or 420 kWh per m² will no longer be allowed to rent flats. That is 5.2 million dwellings rated F and G, or 17% of total housing stock, will become ineligible for rental.  Any buildings then rented may remain under current leases but will be considered “non-decent”.

France’s Loi climat et résilience includes a provision establishing the criteria for a residential space to be classed as “decent”. Of import, buildings carrying restricted DPE ratings are considered non-decent, which means that a residential tenant that is currently an occupant (.. of even a single flat in a multi tenanted building) can require the building owner to do the necessary energy related work to improve the units rating.

Increasing numbers of residential buildings will be impacted by these restrictions in the coming years.

Moreover, while a residential tenant in a non-decent building is required to continue to pay rent, today, the rental rate for buildings rated F and G cannot be increased; something that is intolerable as it exacerbates the decay of the affordable housing stock.

Not insignificantly, the DPE letter rating is required to be displayed in all estate agency advertisements, both for rent and sale. Advertisements for the sale of buildings rated F and G or G+ must include the line logement à consommation énergétique excessive, or ‘housing with excessive energy consumption’. Fortunately, buildings can still be sold even if they are rated G+, as may be the instance for historic flats in Paris and old stone farmhouses outside of Epernay, although many historic rental properties have suffered a more than 20% reduction in value in anticipation of the renovation costs associated with this law. 

France’s bold move to restrict the rental of buildings with high EPC ratings, driven by the National Low Carbon Strategy targets a 49% cut in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings by 2030 is a commendable step towards a more sustainable future. However, the unintended consequences for both tenants who are being priced out of the market and building owners in devastating the real estate market cannot be ignored.

Striking a balance between environmental goals and social equity is crucial to ensure that the transition to a greener society is not only done so on the backs of the people who are tenants or not done to further destroy the value of the buildings such that money cannot be borrowed to finance necessary improvements. Many believe changing hundreds of years of building in a few short months is too much too fast and may well bring a similar result as the gilets jaunes, the yellow jacket wearing demonstrators, who protested in France in 2018 over a proposed carbon tax on petroleum.

As the number of affected properties continues to rise, policymakers, landlords, and tenants must collaborate to find innovative solutions that promote environmental responsibility without further dramatically decreasing the value of the real estate market or disproportionately impacting vulnerable communities. Only through thoughtful and inclusive market driven strategies can France navigate the complexities of its public policy created housing crisis and successfully build a more sustainable and equitable future.

France is much farther down the rabbit hole of climate change mandates than the U.S. and should be an example to others, like Maryland as the state struggles to promulgate building energy performance standards, that apocalyptic environmentalism mandating a drastic reduction in consumption is not how to do residential building greenhouse gas emission reduction, but rather techno optimism based actions where ingenuity and science, properly applied, can produce our way out of our predicament. 

A live webinar “With the Maryland BEPS regulations on “HOLD” what is a Building Owner to do?” 30 talking points in 30 minutes, Tuesday, February 20 at 9 am EST presented by Stuart Kaplow and Nancy Hudes on behalf of ESG Legal Solutions, LLC. The webinar is complimentary, but you must register here.

BEPS on Hold in Maryland

On Monday, January 29, 2024, the Maryland legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) put a “hold” on the proposed regulations to create the Maryland Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) as required by the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022.

A stated goal of the 2022 Act is to reduce net direct greenhouse gas emissions from Maryland’s building sector for buildings that are 35,000 square feet or larger to net zero before 2040. The now, on hold proposed regulations from the Maryland Department of the Environment require covered building owners to measure and report net direct GHG emissions (kg/CO2e/sq ft), beginning with data from 2024, to MDE. The regulations further require that covered building owners not only reduce net direct GHG emissions but conform to energy use intensity (EUI) standards (kBtu/sq ft), something that one multi family building owner has characterized as, criminalizing a tenant for turning their lights on or using their electric stove. The proposed regulation of EUI does not conform to the statute or the legislative intent of the Act and ignores that such a state regulation over energy is constitutionally barred as preempted by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

With the 2022 Act, the Maryland legislature enacted the most rigorous state law in the country reducing GHG emissions, which statute became law without the Governor’s signature. That more than 100 page statute, an amalgamation of several past bills, the passage of which was of the magnitude of the Great Compromise of 1877, was premised on the idea that “the State has the ingenuity to reduce the threat of global warming and make GHG reductions a part of the State’s future,” but critiques from residents to business suggest have articulated that these proposed regulations stray too far seeking to claw back many ideas that were not included in the enacted statute.

The regulations were published in the December 15, 2023 issue of the Maryland Register and we blogged a dozen specific comments about what we perceived as deficiencies in the proposed regulatory scheme in Maryland Building Energy Performance Standards Effective January 1.

As we described in another of our earlier blog posts, the regulations were characterized by a Maryland business owner as looking like a misguided kamikaze run.

In providing oversight of the regulatory activities of State agencies for the General Assembly, the primary function of AELR, composed of 10 Senators and 10 Delegates, is to review proposed regulations to determine whether they conform to the statutory authority of the unit and the legislative intent of the statute under which the regulations are proposed. At any time, the committee may formally vote to oppose the adoption of a proposed regulation. In this instance, notice of the opposition was sent to the Governor and MDE, and further negotiations ensue. The Governor may instruct MDE to withdraw or modify the regulations. However, once the committee has opposed the adoption of the regulation, it may not be adopted unless approved by the Governor.

In this instance, the AELR hold letter said, “The purpose of the requested delay is to provide the committee with an opportunity to examine more closely a number of issues relating to the economic impact of the regulations. The committee also wishes to ensure that concerns raised by stakeholders about the regulations are addressed. To this end, the committee encourages the department to work together with the stakeholders to resolve the issues they have raised concerning these regulations.

Among others, the legislature heard quite the hue and cry from residential condominium owners who will be burdened by the regulations.

The hold is effective for renewing 30 day periods until released by AELR.

The Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 remains the law, and building owners should continue to track their GHG emissions. But there will no doubt be a revised regulatory scheme, ideally not regulating EUI and not banning gas stoves, but rather hopefully with regulations premised on the articulated by the legislature that idea of techno optimism creating opportunities where ingenuity and science, properly applied, can ensure a future that is inclusive, net zero, and nature positive.

We have been and are continuing to work with building owners including determining the best building specific strategies for calculating and reducing their GHG emissions. And we will blog when more information is available.

A live webinar “With the Maryland BEPS regulations on “HOLD” what is a Building Owner to do?” 30 talking points in 30 minutes, Tuesday, February 20 at 9 am EST presented by Stuart Kaplow and Nancy Hudes on behalf of ESG Legal Solutions, LLC. The webinar is complimentary, but you must register here.

National Definition for a Zero Emissions Building

You can provide feedback on the draft national definition for a Zero Emissions Building.

The White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy, through the U.S. Department of Energy, is seeking “to create a standardized, verifiable basis for defining a zero emissions building.” A broadly accepted common minimum definition for a zero greenhouse gas emissions building, as well as a pathway for verification, is foundational in efforts by public and private entities to transition the building sector to net zero emissions. 

We blogged about the importance of this step in greenhouse gas emission measurement and reduction when an earlier version was first announced last September, White House to Define Zero Emission Building.

Be aware there have been substantive changes from what was first publicly discussed to what now is proposed, including the initial text discussed was, “The building obtains at least 30% of the total energy it consumes (on a site basis) from renewable sources” .. and now this draft circulated for feedback says, “All the building’s energy is from carbon-free sources (which can include onsite generation and off-site sources).” Accordingly, the vast majority of buildings would not be able to satisfy this definition.

There are private sector pledges by building owners and mandates from governments that buildings be net zero by 2040 and the like, but there is little, if any guidance, as to what that net zero building is. This definition could respond to that query and drive a transition in the real estate market, but not if it is only aspirational.   

DOE has developed part 1 of a draft definition for zero emissions buildings, applicable to existing buildings and new construction.

It should not be lost on anyone that the Federal government does not have the statutory authority to enact a binding nationwide Zero Emissions Building standard and the divided Congress will all but certainly not grant it to the EPA. This definition is also not intended for federally owned buildings, which are governed as a portfolio through statutory and executive guidance. But Zero Emissions Building is the fulcrum of reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the country and the planet.

The minimum criteria included in this standard to define a zero operating emissions building is a building that is:

  • Highly energy efficient, 
  • Free of on-site emissions from energy use, and 
  • Powered solely from clean energy. 

The full draft definition with its supporting criteria is outlined in “National Definition of a Zero Emissions Building: Part 1 Operating Emissions (Version 1.00), Draft Criteria.”

And this draft will not be without controversy when it includes that, “Direct or Scope 1 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy use must equal zero, meaning that no fossil fuels may be combusted onsite.” The only exception is for backup generators when grid power is unavailable.

DOE released a request for information (RFI) to solicit comments, data, information, and other feedback from industry, academia, research laboratories, government agencies, and other stakeholders on the draft national definition for a Zero Emissions Building. 

This is not intended to be the end. Reducing the whole life cycle emissions of a building also requires minimizing the embodied carbon of the building, as well as minimizing the impacts of refrigerants. Such emissions are not within the scope of this Part 1 and may be considered in subsequent parts to this definition.

If you cannot wait for the White House’s final Zero Emissions Building definition, clues can be found at ENERGY STAR NextGen Certification for Commercial Buildings (.. some have suggested this may actually be a better zero emission building standard). Or if you are inpatient the draft LEED Zero Carbon is actually a zero carbon building emissions standard. And we would be happy to speak with you as we continue to advise and counsel building owners and other businesses in a long-term future that is inclusive, net zero and nature-positive.

Be assured a defined term is a good thing, although this draft needs some tweaking. With the fast evolving dynamic between science and law, today zero emission is ill defined, unregulated, and complex. Businesses making a net zero type claim like, “we will be a zero emissions building by 2040” risk a greenwashing charge that they are misleading consumers.

White House National Climate Adviser Ali Zaidi has made clear this will present “massive moonshot opportunities” in green building making the case that climate action is not about sacrifice but rather about building a healthy economy with new opportunities for everyone.

We recommend you provide feedback so that you and your business can make the most of the opportunity from a final Zero Emissions Building definition. DOE will accept comments on this request for information until 5 pm ET on February 5, 2024.

Does evian Water Greenwash?

Photographs from Court Pleadings

Last week United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Nelson Roman ruled that Danone Waters of America, the French multinational that produces evian bottled water, must face trial over greenwashing claims that it wrongly says on the label that the water is carbon neutral.

Many observers are concerned that this is just one of the thousands of lawsuits filed against the food and beverage industry each year; this one is shrouded in the de regueur issue of greenwashing.

The larger worry should be television advertisements for mass litigation seeking clients who believe they have been misled by greenwashing (.. think the cable television and social media ads about contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, on steroids).

This putative class action was filed in 2022 “on behalf of all persons in the United States who purchased” evian water.

In this consideration of Danone’s motion to dismiss the complaint, some are troubled that the court began with this “factual background” saying that in its order, it is taken as true for the purposes of this motion,

“Human activities have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the atmosphere, driving climate change. As the Earth’s climate continues to change, Americans are experiencing increased wildfires, extreme heat and rain, rising sea levels and costal [sic] storms, disruptions to agriculture and  marine-based food production, and increased pollen production, causing them harm.”

Then the court went on to justify this lawsuit,

“As a result of widespread concerns about climate change, consumers increasingly seek out environmentally sustainable products and are willing to pay a higher price for such products. The increase in consumer demand of environmentally friendly products has led companies to engage in a marketing tactic called “greenwashing,” which is “the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are environmentally sound.” Plaintiffs allege Defendant has engaged in such “greenwashing” through its advertising and marketing of “evian Natural Spring Water” water bottles.”

The court then found, “All versions of Defendant’s Product include a representation that the Product is carbon neutral,” as depicted in the photos above (that were included in the pleadings).

The judge seemed unmoved that all Danone products sold in the U.S. are carbon neutrality third party certified in accordance with the international standard ‘PAS 2060’ by the Carbon Trust. Danone’s attorneys further argued it is unreasonable to assume that the product “magically arrived from the French Alps to their homes without the emission of even a molecule of carbon dioxide.”

Carbon neutrality, under PAS 2060, means not adding new greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Where emissions continue, they must be offset by absorbing an equivalent amount from the atmosphere, for example through carbon capture and reforestation that is supported by carbon credits.

The court was apparently also unphased by that fact or that the term “Carbon Neutral” appears on the label inside of the Carbon Trust logo. 

The court then decided that “carbon neutral is technically defined as having or resulting in no net addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere,” because the Merriam-Webster dictionary says so. And then said, “After careful consideration, the Court concludes that it cannot determine as a matter of law that “carbon neutral” does not have the capacity to mislead.” Really? So, the court is not applying a reasonable person standard, which is widely used in tort law, but is ruling that in this class action, “all persons in the United States who purchased” evian lack any intellectual acuity?

The court’s enumerated analysis is clear and unambiguous, but disappointing,

“First, a reasonable consumer could plausibly be misled by the “carbon neutral” representation on the Product’s label.” ..

“Second, the FTC Green Guides support this conclusion. Plaintiffs allege “‘carbon neutral’ is precisely the type of ‘unqualified general environmental benefit’ claim that the FTC cautions marketers not to make.”

“Third, the factual allegations in the Plaintiffs’ complaint are sufficient to support the conclusion that the average American consumer does not know the term’s technical definition. Consumers’ general confusion about “carbon neutral” demonstrates that the term has a reasonable likelihood to deceive.”

“Finally, “carbon neutral” is an ambiguous term, and evidence shows that consumers are confused by it. Defendant also expects too much from consumers to learn what it means when it places “carbon neutral” on the Product’s label. Accordingly, the Court concludes that at this stage it cannot determine as a matter of law that a reasonable consumer could not be confused or misled by the “carbon neutral” representation ..”

The judge concluded it was premature for the court to determine who was right and after dismissing three of the multiple counts, with leave to amend the complaint, these issues were better decided by a jury.

A print media report on this ruling observed that in an apparent act of green bleaching, now keeping secret sustainability efforts, including scrubbing any references on labels and public facing writings, references to carbon neutrality have been removed from evian products currently available for sale in the U.S. This case and actions like it are not good for sustainability.

The 30 page ruling is a good primer on greenwashing, but more than a little scary when you consider this may portend plaintiffs’ lawyer television advertisements recruiting mass litigation greenwashing clients.

A live webinar “Ask Me Anything” 30 questions in 30 minutes, Tuesday, January 23 at 9 am EST presented by Stuart Kaplow on behalf of ESG Legal Solutions, LLC. The webinar is complimentary, but you must register here.

Court Strikes Down Federal Dishwasher and Washing Machine Rules

Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit struck down the Department of Energy’s dishwasher and washing machine rules saying they did not hold water.

For the second time in as many weeks, we are writing about a court ruling new standards violate the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, an incredibly important federal statute enacted by Congress in response to the 1973 Arab oil embargo that created a comprehensive approach to national energy policy (.. for example, this is the federal act that created the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) and keeping bad actors from imposing the environmental fleeting notion of the day on the nation.

Substantively, the court ruled, “No part of that text indicates Congress gave DOE power to regulate water use for energy-using appliances (like dishwashers and washing machines).”

Procedurally, the court found the “Department’s actions were arbitrary and capricious.”

The backstory is that in response to a ‘petition for rulemaking’ claiming “the Department’s burdensome energy regulations made dishwashers incapable of, well, washing dishes ..” in October 2020, the DOE adopted a final rule defining a class of “standard residential dishwashers with a cycle time for the normal cycle of one hour or less from washing through drying.” The Department then decided to take analogous action on laundry machines when in December 2020 it released a final rule creating new classes of “top-loading consumer [i.e., residential] clothes washers and consumer clothes dryers” with a “normal cycle time of less than 30 minutes.” DOE also created a class of “front-loading” residential washers with a normal cycle under 45 minutes.

On the day of his inauguration, President Biden issued an Executive Order directing DOE and other agencies to repeal certain rules adopted during the prior four years, including the Trump Administration 2020 dishwasher rule and the 2020 laundry rule. A new final rule, which the court termed “the Repeal Rule,” was issued in January 2022. It revoked both the 2020 dishwasher and the 2020 laundry rules.

A group of States, led by Louisiana, petitioned the court for review of the Repeal Rule.

The federal appeals court reasoned, “in sum, it is unclear that DOE has any statutory authority to regulate water use in dishwashers and clothes washers. But even assuming the Department has that authority, the Repeal Rule is arbitrary and capricious for two principal reasons. (1) It failed to adequately consider appliance performance, substitution effects, and the ample record evidence that DOE’s conservation standards are causing Americans to use more energy and water rather than less. (2) It rested instead on DOE’s view that the 2020 Rules were legally “invalid” – but even if true, that does not excuse DOE from considering other remedies short of repealing the 2020 Rules in toto.”

“Instead, the Department amplified its capriciousness by throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

To be clear, we believe strongly in repairing the world (.. we are not sure 3.2 gallons per cycle versus 5 gallons is going to do that; maybe it will), but this is not how to adopt environmental public policy. Instead of more bad laws that gin up apocalyptic environmentalism (.. including illegal attempts to ban natural gas use from Berkeley [that we blogged about last week] to Maryland [that we blogged about in 2022]), we need properly enacted techno optimism rooted solutions advancing prosperity.

And just as we ended our blog post last week, .. read the decision and participate in this discussion about how to repair the world (.. without violating the U.S. Constitution).

A live webinar “Ask Me Anything” 30 questions in 30 minutes, Tuesday, January 23 at 9 am EST presented by Stuart Kaplow on behalf of ESG Legal Solutions, LLC. The webinar is complimentary, but you must register here.

Federal Appeals Court Delivers Coup De Grace in Berkeley Attempt to Ban Natural Gas

After this blog was posted, on March 22, 2024, the California Restaurant Association announced that the group and the City of Berkeley entered into a settlement agreement halting enforcement of the City’s ban on natural gas piping as the City Council takes steps to repeal the ordinance after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit refused to reconsider its 2023 ruling that the ban is preempted by and otherwise violates Federal law.

The 9th Circuit ruling discussed below, has significant negative implications for state and local laws across the country that would have the effect of banning the use of natural gas in favor of all electric buildings.

On January 2, 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit delivered a death blow to the City of Berkeley, California law attempting to ban natural gas, which the Court had last year found was preempted by federal law, with the action last week denying a petition to rehear the case.

While the procedural complexities of this case are more than a little daunting, and instead of reading the more than 60 page amended opinion, nearly everything important can be gleaned from the first paragraph of the opinion,   

“By completely prohibiting the installation of natural gas piping within newly constructed buildings, the City of Berkeley has waded into a domain preempted by Congress. The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (“EPCA”), 42 U.S.C. § 6297(c), expressly preempts State and local regulations concerning the energy use of many natural gas appliances, including those used in household and restaurant kitchens. Instead of directly banning those appliances in new buildings, Berkeley took a more circuitous route to the same result. It enacted a building code that prohibits natural gas piping in those buildings from the point of delivery at a gas meter, rendering the gas appliances useless.”

You could also read our 600 word blog post from last year, after the original decision in this case, describing that attempts by state and local governments to ban natural gas in buildings cannot stand as preempted by federal law, Court Saves Gas Stoves from the Government.

Make no mistake, this case is of great import as is evidenced by the large numbers of interested parties including those that filed amicus curiae briefs supporting a rehearing of the case, from state attorneys general as far away as Maryland to the Biden Administration and from environmental groups of every flavor to university law clinics, and more ..

But none of that persuaded a majority of the appellate court’s non-recused active judges to grant a new hearing.

The new text in the now reissued court opinion includes, “that the Berkeley ordinance cut to the heart of what Congress sought to prevent – state and local manipulation of building codes for new construction to regulate the natural gas consumption ..”

To be clear, that amended opinion leaves no doubt, .. based on its text, structure, and context, that EPCA preempts building codes like Berkeley’s ordinance that ban natural gas piping within new buildings. This federal appeals court wrote that, in dismissing the suit, the (lower) federal district court incorrectly limited EPCA’s preemptive scope to ordinances that facially or directly regulate covered appliances, but such limits do not appear in EPCA’s text. EPCA’s preemption provision extends broadly including to regulations that address the products themselves and building codes that concern the use of natural gas. By enacting EPCA, Congress ensured that States and localities could not prevent consumers from using energy in their homes and businesses. In this instance, EPCA thus preempts Berkeley’s building code, which prohibits natural gas piping in new construction buildings from the point of delivery at the gas meter.

Moreover, it is beyond dispute from the opinion that EPCA’s preemptive scope extends beyond regulations of covered products or building codes, but also expressly includes “concerning the energy use” within buildings that contain such products, delivering a fatal blow to government attempts to regulate site Energy Use Intensity (EUI) in building energy performance standards and the like. Lest there be any doubt, to ascertain what Congress meant by “energy use,” we turn to the statutory definitions. EPCA defines “energy use” as “the quantity of energy directly consumed ..” and preempts states and local governments from regulating it, whether it is disguised as a building energy performance standard site EUI or otherwise.

As we concluded our earlier blog post, .. the only question may be how quickly extremist regulatory schemes like Maryland’s Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022 including its building energy performance standards with its ban of natural gas, even in existing buildings, and imposing penalties for EUI, will be vanquished.

Instead of more bad laws, the best responses to human degradation of the natural environment are marketplace solutions where business owners across the globe strive to make the world better off because their business is in it.

To be clear, we believe strongly in repairing the world but do not suffer fools gladly.

Read last week’s decision here and participate in this discussion about how to repair the world (.. without violating the U.S. Constitution).

A live webinar “Ask Me Anything” 30 questions in 30 minutes, Tuesday, January 23 at 9 am EST presented by Stuart Kaplow on behalf of ESG Legal Solutions, LLC. The webinar is complimentary, but you must register here.

Measuring and Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions will be “the” Environmental Issue of 2024

Governments across the United States are for the first time regulating greenhouse gas emissions. This entirely new and emergent body of law in response to climate change is bursting onto the scene in 2024 and businesses are beginning to monetize it as a new revenue stream.

If it is January 1, 2024, most commercial building owners not already measuring greenhouse gas emissions for reporting to the government under the Maryland Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, may be in violation of law. In New York City Local Law 97 the mandatory reporting period of greenhouse gas emissions data for many commercial buildings also begins January 1, 2024. Other states, from Colorado to Washington and cities from Washington, DC to St. Louis, are all regulating greenhouse gas emissions through building energy performance standards.

Also, pending, and likely to be finalized in April 2024 are the SEC 2022 proposed rule requiring greenhouse gas emission disclosure by public companies, the DOD, GSA, and NASA proposed amendment to the Federal Acquisition Regulation requiring federal contractors to disclose greenhouse gas emissions, the Federal Tade Commission updated Green Guides, and a patchwork of other government GHG emission disclosure mandates.

Additionally, more than 1,000 public companies have publicly announced a net zero greenhouse gas emission goal. And over 9,000 private businesses have a publicly stated net zero target. This does not include the many companies that are green hushing and green bleaching, with greenhouse gas emission goals but are not publicly heralding them.

Moreover, at least 195 countries (.. there are only 197) have made public net zero greenhouse gas emission pledges as have more than 1,000 cities.

So, measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions is a thing.

Of course, the extrapolations from those numbers are exponentially larger when one considers if the owner of a commercial building is subject to a BEPS law, then all the tenants in that building are also measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions. As such the more than 90% of businesses in the U.S. that are a tenant in the building they occupy, and also the more than 34% of the U.S. population that lives in an apartment, will all have their greenhouse gas emission data reported to the government.

Concomitantly, at a time when the world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data, greenhouse gas emission data, including underlying electric utility data, creates privacy and security implications as described in our blog post, Do You Own Your GHG Emission Data? (.. think Cambridge Analytica on steroids). We are working with increasing numbers of businesses in monetizing their data. Yes, there are literally Trillions of dollars involved, as described in Tenants Monetizing their Greenhouse Gas Emission Data

There is a dark side to this big, hairy, audacious goal of measuring and reducing greenhouse gas emissions; what if government gets it wrong in its mandates? There is trepidation that Maryland’s recently proposed BEPS regulations go too far and will wreck the state’s economy when it seeks to put an absolute cap on energy use across the state through sophomoric energy use intensity (EUI) regulation. In lieu of apocalyptic environmentalism policies, seeking to drastically reduce consumption in a quest to not overwhelm the planet’s ecosystems, like capping EUI, states like Maryland would be better served advancing techno optimism by offering government incentives for carbon capture, clean hydrogen facilities, bio energy, solar panel construction and more.

The best solutions in 2024 and beyond to the breadth and scope of the globe’s environmental issues will be found by businesses. Business owners in increasing numbers understand the need to mitigate climate risk and many companies with forethought are already seizing upon the multi Trillion dollar economic opportunity that accompanies the economy’s decarbonizing.

The certainty that greenhouse gas emission measurement and reduction is “the” environmental issue of 2024 is more than a Magic 8 Ball prediction, although we regularly consult one of the 1960s era plastic spheres I keep on my desk. In fourth quarter 2021 inquiries about greenhouse gas emissions were less than 5% of requests to our law firm versus in fourth quarter 2023 they were more than 50% of all inquiries! While we have been doing greenhouse gas emission work, both law and non law, for years, it is now our fastest growing area of effort. If we have not already calculated the greenhouse gas emissions for your building, it is your loss; quite likely, literally your loss in monetizing this as a new revenue stream. Reach out to us, now, and we can put you on a path to greenhouse gas emission calculation and reporting excellence.

The greenhouse gas issue just coming into focus in 2024 is reducing food waste. Not only is there all the energy and water it takes to grow, harvest, transport, and package food that is wasted, but food that goes to the landfill, the most common material in landfills, rots producing methane, a greenhouse gas 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Composting food waste will be de rigueur in 2024.

The pendant issue “with a bullet” in 2024 is working to eliminate modern slavery in business supply chains. While garnering nowhere near the attention of greenhouse gas emissions, this human rights issue is already of great import in the EU and is garnering increased attention in the US.

Despite some uncertainty ahead in 2024, last year’s cost inflation appears behind us. Decarbonization of the world’s economies is the biggest business opportunity in history, waiting to be unlocked.

We invite you to join us in undertaking this epic business venture, decarbonizing economies – to repair the planet and make your share of the Trillions along the way.

Sustainability Triumphs: A 2023 Year in Review with an Eye Toward Decarbonizing

As we sing Auld Lang Syne to 2023, a pivotal year for global sustainability efforts, it’s time to reflect on the strides made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly in the realm of the built environment, all as described in our top 10 most read blog posts of the year.

The past year has witnessed unprecedented innovation and a global commitment to addressing climate change. This year in review not only celebrates the progress made but more importantly looks ahead to the explosive growth in business opportunities in the promise of techno-optimism in steering us toward a decarbonized, more sustainable future.

Green Building Initiatives

In 2023, while popular media focused on the impact of Taylor Swift on U.S. GDP and the growth of AI across the globe, as well as the ramifications of wars in Ukraine and Gaza, and embracing Elon Musk, our clients and their stakeholders concentrated on the surge in post pandemic sustainable initiatives aimed at curbing carbon emissions and fostering eco friendly and healthy living and working spaces. Governments, corporations, and individuals alike embraced sustainable construction practices, energy efficient technologies, and renewable energy sources, as well as the broader green building pillars including fighting modern slavery.

One of the standout achievements of the year was, despite the slight uptick of greenhouse gas emissions economywide, the significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. Through the adoption of energy efficient designs, improved insulation, the growing integration of solar panels, and other renewable energy solutions, the built environment played a crucial role in mitigating climate change.

Technological Innovations Driving Change

Techno optimism took center stage as cutting edge technologies played a pivotal role in advancing sustainability goals while apocalyptic environmentalism is losing steam in the face of prosperity. The integration of smart building technologies, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things not only enhanced energy efficiency but also allowed for real time monitoring and optimization of resource consumption in increasing numbers of buildings, not just modern skyscrapers in coastal cities.

These largely market driven advancements not only reduce environmental impact but are also translating into significant cost savings for businesses and homeowners. One piece of bad news in the offing is sophomoric attempts by state and local governments to regulate building energy, including growing numbers of building energy performance standards that not only pervert the market but pick (.. often poorly) winners and losers, hurting disadvantaged communities.

Explosive Business Opportunities

The beginning of the shift towards decarbonization in 2023 was not just a moral imperative; it also presented, literally Trillions of dollars annually in business opportunities as economies across the globe move from fossil fuel economies dating from the Industrial Revolution. Companies that embraced eco friendly practices found themselves at the forefront of a rapidly expanding market. The demand for environmentally conscious products and services skyrocketed from renewable energy providers to sustainable construction firms. Consider that only days ago the Biden Administration invoked the wartime emergency powers based on climate change to utilize the Defense Production Act to increase domestic production of electric heat pumps.

Investors flocked to businesses with a strong commitment to sustainability, recognizing the long-term viability and profitability of green ventures. Against the backdrop of a global economy that has continued to grow, the explosive growth in sustainable industries marked a paradigm shift, with environmentally responsible practices proving to be not just a corporate responsibility but a lucrative business strategy.

The planet’s population keeps growing on track to pass 8,100,000,000 in 2024, a huge positive for prosperity.

Top 10 List

As we look for what will be the bleeding edge sustainability trends of 2024 “with one eye on the past, one eye on the future” here is a Top 10 List, with apologies to David Letterman, of our most read blog posts in 2023, which compilation provides a year in review that is an eclectic mix of environmental matters as self-selected for reading by readers of the blog. In descending order, these are the posts that had the most traffic:

  1. Greenhouse Gas Data Must be Collected Beginning January 1 in Maryland
  2. Tenants Monetizing their Greenhouse Gas Emission Data
  3. White House to Define Zero Emission Building
  4. Does Your Lease Need Greenhouse Gas Provisions?
  5. Guidance on Avoiding Greenwashing while Providing Input Down Under 
  6. Greenhouse Gas Emission Disclosures in Real Estate Contracts and Beyond
  7. The Evolution of Environmental Offsets: From Indulgences to Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions
  8. The Positive Side of Green Hushing: Averting Backlash and Enhancing Corporate Sustainability
  9. Two China Based Companies Banned as a Result of Forced Labor
  10. We Need to Do Better to Reduce Food Waste

Looking Ahead to 2024 and Beyond

As we stand on the cusp of 2024, the momentum gained in 2023 positions us for even greater strides in the journey toward a sustainable future. The year ahead, despite possible frolics and detours occasioned by ugly domestic politics, promises to be characterized by continued innovation with a heightened sense of urgency in addressing climate change.

Techno optimism remains a guiding principle, with the belief that human ingenuity and scientific advancements can pave the way for transformative solutions. From breakthroughs in carbon capture technologies to the development of sustainable materials, the coming years hold the potential to revolutionize economies across the globe as we solve environmental challenges.

On a personal note, we foresee tremendous growth in 2024 in our nonlaw work assisting clients in uncovering opportunities for their businesses, greenhouse gas emissions and otherwise. 

In conclusion, this 2023 year in review showcases the remarkable progress made in sustainability, particularly in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings. The fusion of technological innovation, business acumen, and a collective commitment to environmental stewardship sets the stage for an era of unprecedented multi Trillion dollar annual growth in greenhouse gas emission conscious businesses. As we enter 2024, the call to action is clear, to continue harnessing the power of ingenuity and science to produce our way out of the climate change predicament and build a bigger and better future that is both prosperous and sustainable.

Happy New Year!

Unmasking “Green Bleaching”: A New Chapter in Sustainability Strategies

In the ever evolving landscape of corporate sustainability, where the battle for environmental credibility rages on, a new metaphor has emerged .. “green bleaching.” Originating from the shores of the United Kingdom, this figure of speech is making waves in the world of eco-conscious statements.

While many are familiar with the concept of greenwashing, a deceptive tactic aimed at overstating environmental commitments, green bleaching takes a different approach. It’s not about exaggerating environmental claims but rather intentionally keeping confidential and secret sustainability efforts, including scrubbing any references in existing public facing writings.

Understanding the Basics:

To comprehend the significance of the emergent and fast growing green bleaching, let’s first revisit its counterparts .. greenwashing and green hushing. Greenwashing, akin to whitewashing, involves making false or misleading representations about a product or service’s environmental benefits. On the other hand, green hushing pertains to deliberately limiting the public disclosure of a company’s green and social initiatives, driven by concerns about potential backlash, negative public perception, or even legal consequences.

In a real world example of green bleaching, we were recently asked to assist a business in bleaching all references to ESG and other environmental matters from their website and their annual report.

In another example, we have assisted when the SEC staff has in recent months sent inquiries to companies asking for an explanation why their 10-K annual reports contain less information about climate risk than their separate sustainability reports or content on their websites.

The Birth of Green Bleaching:

As sustainability practices face increasing scrutiny, nearly every organization is navigating a delicate balance between genuine environmental responsibility and protecting their reputations. Enter green bleaching, a strategy that involves affirmatively playing down the sustainability credentials of products and services. The primary motivation behind green bleaching is to avoid attracting undue attention or extra scrutiny for green claims, even if those claims are mandated by government and perceived to be accurate (e.g., submitting greenhouse gas data to a government as required by a BEPS program).

The UK Connection:

The term green bleaching first caught the attention of regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom, with the Financial Conduct Authority leading the charge. Investment companies were observed intentionally toning down their sustainability messaging in what had in the past been marketed as “green” mutual funds, marking a departure from the typical greenwashing tactics that had allegedly been prevalent. As the phenomenon gained recognition in the UK, it didn’t take long for the trend to cross the Atlantic and become a topic of discussion in the United States from C suites to ma and pa businesses.

Motivations Behind Green Bleaching:

A variety of motivations drive companies to engage in green bleaching. One of the primary reasons is the desire to avoid the unintended pitfalls associated with greenwashing, including reputational damage and potential legal consequences. By affirmatively keeping their environmental efforts confidential and secret, businesses aim to fly under the radar and avoid the heightened scrutiny that often accompanies sustainability claims (e.g., including greenhouse gas reduction successes as described in our post, California Passes Groundbreaking Climate Disclosure Bills).

The Dilemma of Authenticity:

While the intentions behind green bleaching may vary, this strategy raises questions about the authenticity of corporate sustainability efforts. Striking a balance between promoting legitimate eco-friendly practices and protecting a brand from potential backlash, legitimate, illegitimate, or otherwise, not to mention government action, is undoubtedly challenging. The failure of the Federal Trade Commission to update its Green Guides is not helpful. Consumers, investors, and regulatory bodies now face the task of discerning genuine environmental commitment from strategic understatements.

Of great import to this discussion is that increasing numbers of businesses are continuing and expanding broader and bigger sustainable efforts; they are just now keeping it confidential.


As the world grapples with the urgent need for sustainable practices, the emergence of green bleaching adds a new layer of complexity to the conversation. It prompts us to question not only the transparency of corporate sustainability but also the delicate dance companies perform to maintain a positive public image. Some have suggested a less activist role for government in greenwashing (after all these are consumer protection claims), and allowing the marketplace to police the space?

The challenge for businesses moving forward may be to find a middle ground where genuine environmental responsibility is championed without succumbing to the pitfalls of greenwashing or the subtleties of green bleaching. As regulators, consumers and other stakeholders become increasingly discerning, the future of corporate sustainability may well hinge on the delicate balance between authenticity and reputation management, but today green bleaching is the risk mitigation strategy de rigueur.

Maryland Building Energy Performance Standards Effective January 1

On January 29, 2024, after this blog post, the Maryland legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review (AELR) put a “hold” on the proposed regulations to create the Maryland Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) as required by the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022.

The regulations require covered building owners to measure and report data to the Maryland Department of the Environment. The regulation further requires that covered building owners reduce net direct GHG emissions and energy use intensity (EUI) measurements.

The regulations were published in the December 15, 2023 issue of the Maryland Register.

The primary function of AELR is to review proposed regulations to determine whether they conform to the statutory authority of the unit and the legislative intent of the statute under which the regulations are proposed. The hold letter as transmitted from the AELR to the Maryland Governor and MDE provided the committee wanted to look into the economic impact the regulations may have.

The hold is effective for renewing 30 day periods until released by AELR. There is an alternative for an override by the Governor. We will blog when more information is available.

This post includes preliminary comments on the Maryland Building Energy Performance Standards regulations proposed to be published on December 15, 2023.

This follows our post last week alerting commercial real estate owners and tenants in those buildings in Maryland about these regulations requiring Greenhouse Gas Data Must be Collected Beginning January 1 in Maryland.

There is much that could be commented on, however in the interest of efficacy in clearly communicating our concern about the complete and utter failure of the regulations to implement the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, moreover, that the regulatory scheme described is all but entirely constitutionally barred as preempted by the federal Energy Policy and Conservation Act, without providing for any meaningful reduction in GHG emissions, risk irreparably harm the Maryland economy, we offer only a dozen comments:

1.  That the schedule for these regulations, prescribed in statute, has been missed (.. by more than half a year) is more than simply a little problematic for the real estate industry which thrives on certainty. To state the obvious, these regulations are only proposed to be published on December 15, 2023, and will not be final until, at best, months hence, after building owners are mandated to begin collecting GHG data on January 1, 2024, using methodologies proposed in those regulations. The prolonged uncertainty in implementing this sweeping program, with regulations that will be more than half a year late, is untenable to those regulated. The hard dates for businesses to act as prescribed in the statute must be moved back, realistically by not less than 2 years.   

2.  In section 26.28.02.B.(10), the definition of the Benchmarking tool as the sole method to measure and report data as Portfolio Manager is problematic for several reasons although, without more information from MDE (even with the release of the draft TM 23-01 Technical Guidance and Calculations Methodologies document), it is not possible to comment completely. At a minimum, there should be more than one way to measure GHG emissions when the overarching goal of this effort is to reduce GHG emissions. Additionally, if a building actually reduces its GHG emissions by 20% in advance of January 1, 2030, such should be in compliance with the law irrespective of some Energy Star score (that may or may not reflect any reduction in GHG emissions). If the expectation is that all covered buildings will have an Energy Star score of 80 or better by January 1, 2030, such is not what the statute contemplates and is simply not practicable (e.g., an older structure in Baltimore City with an Energy Star score of 47 today, will never be able to reasonably achieve these targets, greatly disadvantaging the states older urban areas and their populations, while putting a finger on the scale in favor of Montgomery County with its newer taller suburban structures and affluent demographics).

Moreover, Energy Star scores are a moving target that increases over time, which is not something the statute permits. The use of Energy Star as other than a voluntary scoring tool presents very real concerns about who owns the GHG emission data, including matters of confidentiality (see more on this below). Finally, as noted this benchmarking was not the purpose Energy Star was created for, so with the regulations devoid of a definition of “net zero net direct greenhouse gas emissions” will some Energy Star data extrapolations make that determination for buildings in Maryland? 

3. The regulation of Energy Use Intensity is not authorized by the statute. And of great import, this text in the regulations about EUI does not reduce net direct GHG emissions for covered buildings; what this whole body of law is about. Additionally, MDE’s choice to regulate “site” EUI as opposed to “source” EUI is simply wrong if, again, the overarching goal is reducing GHG emissions, because Maryland is and will be a net importer of electricity (.. so, as proposed, this entire new regulation of EUI burdens Maryland covered building owners, but does nothing about the emissions from an electric generating plant in Tennessee that supplies Maryland buildings?).

Best left for another day is that the building activity site energy targets are crazy low and cannot stand. For example, compare the normative primary energy target to those in ASHRAE Standard 100 and see what a national standard describes as reasonable and still resulting in reduced energy consumption.

Most significantly, the statute simply does not authorize a penalty for failure to achieve an EUI “target” (.. that is, EUI is expressed only as a target versus other jurisdictions that have BEPS that regulate EUI but not GHG emissions). Overreaching to regulate how much electricity is used in a building is also regressive ignoring the embedded carbon in the built environment benefiting a building that stands empty, or for the fewest hours per week, and is not utilized to its maximum efficiency. (A Maryland county library official has articulated that the only way for his libraries to meet the requirement will be to operate fewer days and fewer hours each week.) But the real externality of this regulatory scheme will be to select winners that will be modern suburban buildings (.. think Montgomery County) and losers that will be older urban adaptive reuses (.. think Baltimore City).

Particularly disconcerting is that this proposed regulating of EUI is that it is the worst form of apocalyptic environmentalism, with MDE articulating that unless covered building owners drastically reduce consumption, humankind with its growing numbers and appetite will overwhelm the planet’s ecosystems.

4.  In section 26.28.02.C., the requirement for “third party verification” of benchmarking reports is described, in part, and then referencing the Technical Guidance, is too narrowly defined including limiting that work to be done by engineers. Today, the federal government including other programs in EPA allows a broad breadth of professionals, and across the country, it may be attorneys at law who most often provide that type of verification (e.g., opinions of counsel on green bonds [including for Maryland state issued sustainability bonds] on Fannie Mae green project mortgages, etc.); and accountants provide that third party verification in SEC matters and the like. The regulations should be broad including that attorneys, accountants, and others, who are already doing this work in the GHG space, can and should be authorized to provide those verifications in Maryland.

5.  That the proposed regulations are devoid of the statute’s Environment Article, section 2-1602, required “special provisions or exceptions” including for buildings where the commercial tenant installed, owns, and is responsible for the building energy systems. This is not a matter of environmental efficacy but rather does not reflect an understanding of how many covered buildings are owned and operated. This is a major void.

The regulation is anti ingenuity and rejects innovation when it does not include a provision, as required by the statute for allowances for the use of biofuels, does not provide for fuel cells, makes no provision for hydrogen power generation, does not touch on building carbon capture or for that matter any technology based solution.

6. Concomitantly, Environment Article, section 2-1602 could be expanded to address residential condominiums (.. today, the statute only allows a dispensation for buildings with “commercial tenants”) where the law burdens the building owner, but where the building energy systems as well as cooking, hot water and laundry appliances are almost always owned and controlled by individual unit owners.

7.  The regulations do not include variance or waiver provisions and not only would such ameliorate the harsh effects of the law but could provide real and good alternative compliance paths as well as altered schedules to achieving Maryland’s ultimate net zero goals. Most similar building energy regulatory schemes across the country, including the model ordinance provided on the website of the consultant engaged by Maryland, include a variance process.    

8.  The regulations do not provide for compliance by way of offsets. Offsets will be key for many buildings to be able to achieve net zero. Both the White House’s new proposed definition of zero emission building and LEED Carbon Zero allow for offsets. By way of example, offsets through Maryland based organics recycling facilities including food waste based compost would allow Maryland businesses to do more to reduce their GHG and provide for flexibility in meeting the State’s requirements while allowing for ease in auditing. Of course, reducing food waste is another of the several of the aims of SB 528 of 2022, not only from the perspective that it is the single most common material landfilled in the U.S. but also results in more than 14% of total U.S. methane emissions and more than 8% of anthropogenic GHG emissions, offering an opportunity for meaningful reductions (including that is a major recommendation of COP28 just completed in Dubai). The statute identifies pursuing organics recycling facilities, and offsets associated with using organics recycling, including food waste contributed to nutrient rich soil amendment and compost should be provided for in these regulations.

9.  Maybe most significantly of all of these comments, the regulations do not address who owns the GHG emissions data the State now demands be calculated, collected, and publicly reported, but worse the regulations pervert existing precepts of privacy and confidentiality provided for by federal and state law. The statute only provides,


.. which verbiage in and of itself arguably does no harm, but does not attempt at allocating responsibility and costs between owners and occupiers of buildings when both are necessary participants to comply with this new body of law that only regulates ‘owners’. But then these regulations add section

“(7) For covered buildings with fewer than five tenants, electric ..”

.. differentiating building occupancies and creating a bar for landlords from obtaining the required data from many tenants (including those with leases and renewal terms that stretch for years). If there is any one issue that must be addressed, this is it. Matters of accuracy, transparency, and incentives are key considerations for ensuring that this data is effectively used to address the challenges of climate change. Today, organizations must mitigate the risk associated with keeping their own data safe and this regulation must address that, but it does not. And all of that is before the dollar costs to landlords now being charged by tenants for providing that data and likewise.

10. Section 02.02.04.B(5), excluding electric vehicle charging from benchmarking is not authorized by statute and will not only result in a jaundice report (i.e., electric truck charging stations are huge users of electricity and more). If MDE desires to pick winners and losers in forms of transportation so be it, but don’t fudge the numbers on the energy truthfully and factually used at some buildings, but not others (e.g., that makes Portfolio Manger data less than reliable). The legislature chose to protect first floor restaurants, but it did not choose to protect electric vehicle charging. This should be deleted.

Similarly, backup power is a life safety issue mandated by building codes as well as a business necessity (from nursing homes to police stations, and highrise residential structures, etc.), especially as the grid becomes less reliable. Stand by and backup generators should be exempt from this regulation.

11.  The entire new subsection 02.05. requiring disclosures before a contract of sale is entered into for a covered building is inappropriate, not authorized by statute, and could only negatively alienate the sale of real estate across the state. There is no similar requirement in Maryland law promulgated by regulation and not authorized by statute. And requiring a buyer’s signature on the addendum simply does not reflect the reality of how contacts are entered into, and real estate transferred. This provision must be deleted.

12.  Chapter 04. Alternative Compliance and Special Provisions describe an alternative compliance pathway that is an excessive fine imposed and not what the legislature contemplated. When the General Assembly enacted SB 528 in April 2022, the social cost of C02 as estimated by the EPA was $51 a metric ton. Politics in Washington DC being what it is, as a result of a change of the party in the White House, the social cost of ‘greenhouse gas’ is now estimated at between $180 and $230 a metric ton; so to use that larger measurement (i.e., GHG versus C02) and higher dollar (not $51 but $230) and to add an annual CPI escalation is not what the legislature enacted, and is not supported by facts.

The penultimate observation must be that the regulations risk causing irreparable harm to the Maryland economy (where nearly 90% of businesses are located in a covered building) without providing for any meaningful reduction in GHG emissions. That is, these regulations propose only to capture “net direct GHG emissions” from covered buildings which are a subset of all Scope 1 GHG emissions, that are less than 10% of a building’s total GHG emissions (Scope 2 and 3 account for more than 90%) and the entire building sector may represent less than 29% of all GHG emissions with these ‘covered’ buildings being a subset of maybe 12% of all private Maryland buildings, but exempting most government buildings including schools; so not much in the way of GHG emissions are being reduced.

In conclusion, in the statute that is the Climate Solutions Now Act of 2022, the General Assembly found that “the State has the ingenuity to reduce the threat of global warming and make greenhouse gas reductions a part of the State’s future ..,” but these regulations do the opposite, and attempt to impose apocalyptic environmentalism on the State. Such is the polar opposite of what the legislature believed in making a techno optimism finding that ingenuity and science, properly applied, can help produce our way out of our predicament. These proposed regulations contradict the idea of employing ingenuity in the important work of reducing GHG emissions.

Maryland has enacted the most rigorous state law in the country reducing GHG emissions and otherwise addressing climate change. The real estate industry can and should treat this as the greatest responsibility and opportunity of our time. But for such to be successful, substantial revisions to the proposed regulations are necessary and proper, including the ideas expressed above.

As the January 1, 2024 date approaches and thereafter, for Maryland building owners to commence tracking GHG emissions, we are available to assist on these matters including providing turn key professional services.

Join us for a live webinarGHG Data Must be Collected For Buildings Beginning January 1st in Maryland30 talking points in 30 minutes, Tuesday, December 19 at 9 am EDT presented by Stuart Kaplow and Nancy Hudes on behalf of ESG Legal Solutions, LLC. The webinar is complimentary, but you must register here.