States May Tap Into Federal Funds to Help CRE Owners Comply With City Climate Laws

DOE LPO webinar on BPS

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new financing program this week for states to access federal funds that could help real estate owners meet state, city, and county building performance standards (BPS).

State Energy Financing Institutions

  • An April 9 webinar hosted by the White House and DOE’s Loan Programs Office provided information on plans to make federal money available to state energy financing institutions (SEFIs).
  • Federal funds deployed under the SEFI program will be channeled through state agencies, which in turn will provide loans and grants to qualified building owners.
  • SEFIs that receive federal DOE “certification” will assist compliance with building emissions and energy efficiency limits set by a growing number of states and localities. 
  • The LPO has released a SEFI Toolkit that describes the contours of the program.
  • The Roundtable supports non-binding federal guidelines that bring national consistency to the conflicting patchwork of local BPS mandates.(DOE “blueprint” to decarbonize buildings; Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)

Funding Criteria

LPO for Building Sector
  • States will establish eligibility financing criteria under federal guidelines. They will likely prioritize disbursements to buildings in low-income areas and low-income housing.
  • SEFI funds could be deployed to support commercial-to-residential property conversions in jurisdictions with BPS laws.
  • To scale the program, DOE stated on the webinar that federal funds channeled through the states will be geared to support energy work on a portfolio of buildings rather than single projects.
  • The agency also stated that DOE-sourced funds will aim to support assets that strive to meet the forthcoming national definition for a Zero Emissions Building (“ZEB”). (Roundtable Fact Sheet on ZEB, Jan. 18)

The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) continues to work closely with the White House and DOE on climate initiatives impacting commercial real estate.

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Biden Administration Outlines Options to Cut Building Emissions

Department of Energy's “Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy by 2050: A National Blueprint for the Buildings Sector”

Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings is the focus of a “national strategy document” released this week by the Biden administration. The Department of Energy (DOE) “blueprint” has no regulatory impact on private sector assets, but it articulates aspirational goals to reduce building-related emissions 65% by 2035 and 90% by 2050. (Department of Energy (DOE) news release, April 2 and Politico EnergyWire, April 3)

Four Pathways

Decarbonizing the U.S. Economy by 2050: A National Blueprint for the Buildings Sector” outlines four action categories:

  1. Increase Building Energy Efficiency
    DOE acknowledges the value of federal tools that help building owners and jurisdictions benchmark, track, and improve efficiency (e.g., ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, Portfolio Manager Data Explorer)—all supported by The Real Estate Roundtable. (Roundtable Weekly, March 22)

  2. Reduce On-site Emissions
    DOE notes that building electrification with heat pumps is a primary strategy for reducing on-site, fossil-fuel fired building emissions. DOE’s goal also includes reducing on-site emissions from fluorinated gas (including equipment refrigerant leakage), foam-blowing agents, and fire suppressants. (DOE document pages 26-28)

  3. Transform the “Grid Edge”
    Federal efforts could help buildings better connect with the power grid through storage methods, on-site renewable generation, and EV charging. (DOE document pages 28-30)

  4. Minimize Embodied Life Cycle Emissions
    The document lists strategies to reduce embodied emissions, including repurposing existing buildings, new construction methods, and reducing emissions intensity of construction materials. (DOE document pages 31-32)

Noteworthy Recommendations

Los Angeles
  • The Biden administration framework acknowledges the need for CRE owners to access whole-building utility data. Metrics on building energy usage can be used to complete requirements for benchmarking and building performance disclosures. State regulators and local governments could support emission reduction goals by requiring utility companies to provide customers with access to tenant-meter data. (DOE document page 52)
  • The blueprint recognizes the need for government-sponsored low-interest loans and tax credits to support clean power projects at buildings. (DOE document page 40 and Table 5, page 43)
  • The blueprint also encourages federal-level resources to help city and state governments implement building performance standards (BPS). The Roundtable supports non-binding federal guidelines that bring order and national consistency to the conflicting patchwork of local BPS mandates. (DOE document pages 24-25 and 50-51 | Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 15)

DOE plans to vet these recommendations for federal actions to reduce building emissions in the future with a wide range of stakeholders, track progress on their implementation, and amend the document as needed.

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EPA Releases “NextGen” Criteria for Low-Carbon Buildings

EPA's NextGen Building Label

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released long-awaited final criteria on Tuesday for ENERGY STAR’s voluntary “NextGen” certification to recognize buildings with reduced carbon footprints.

Three Criteria

  • NextGen builds upon ENERGY STAR’s popular “label” for highly efficient buildings. The new label has three criteria that must be independently verified to:

    • Demonstrate Superior Energy Performance
      The building must achieve an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher and meet all criteria associated with ENERGY STAR certification.

    • Use Renewable Energy
      At least 30 percent of a building’s total energy used onsite must derive from renewable sources. Market-based measures like power purchase agreements (PPAs) and renewable energy certificates (RECs) can qualify as long as they meet certain quality control criteria (e.g., Green-e certified).

    • Meet a Direct Emissions Target
      The building must meet a GHG intensity target for its property type, which adjusts to account for days of extra heating required in colder climates.

CRE Recognition

Tony Malkin (Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.), chair of The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory (SPAC) Committee.
  • “NextGen highlights RER’s constructive engagement with decision makers who translate policy to action,” said Tony Malkin, above, (Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Empire State Realty Trust, Inc.), chair of The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory (SPAC) Committee.
  • He added, “The NextGen voluntary standard provides specific metrics-based criteria to recognize the very best performers who increase efficiency, reduce emissions, and help expand the nation’s supply of renewable energy. This new framework allows our members to urge cities and states to look to these researched and logical federal standards rather than create their own unduly complicated and punitive mandates.”
  • “Our work with EPA is not done,” Malkin continued. “Our next project with our EPA partners is to recognize inefficient buildings which will never reach ENERGY STAR levels and still take steps to reduce materially energy use in common areas and tenant spaces.”      

Planning Considerations

  • Companies can apply online to EPA for the NextGen label starting in Sept. 2024.
  • EPA’s response to public comments noted the agency will explore “separate recognition” for inefficient buildings that significantly improve energy performance.
  • In February, RER and Nareit urged that EPA’s NextGen label should be considered a critical intermediate step for an asset to show it is “on a path” to meet the Energy Department’s yet-to-be-released, voluntary Zero Emissions Building (ZEB) definition.
  • Building owners may report to investors about assets certified with the NextGen label. Information on green-labeled buildings could be within the scope of disclosure requirements released earlier this month by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and passed last year in California. (See RER’s facts sheets on the SEC and California requirements).
  • Court challenges are currently underway against both the SEC and California corporate climate reporting rules. The SEC’s rule has been stayed at least temporarily by a federal appeals court. (POLITICOPro, March 20 and Roundtable Weekly, March 15).

EPA staff overseeing the NextGen program will participate on SPAC’s next Zoom meeting on April 11 to field questions on the new building label.

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Lawsuits Mount Against SEC Climate Rules

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, DC.

Almost two dozen Republican-led states have sued the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over its climate corporate disclosure rules released last week. (Bloomberg Law, March 12 – paywall | Roundtable Weekly, March 8)

Litigation Gauntlet

  • GOP attorneys general in 22 states allege the SEC acted beyond its authority by requiring companies to report certain GHG emissions and costs related to extreme weather.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce joined the “legal salvo” against the SEC. (POLITICO, March 15).
  • An SEC spokesperson stated the agency will “vigorously defend” petitions filed in the federal appeals courts for the Fifth, Eighth, and Eleventh Circuits. (Bloomberg Law, March 12)
  • These suits will likely rely on the “major questions” doctrine, raised in a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision that curtailed EPA’s authority to fight climate change. The doctrine provides that a federal agency must have “clear” authority from Congress to regulate issues of “vast economic and political significance.” (E&E News ClimateWire, March 11)
  • Meanwhile, environmental groups filed their own counter-suit in the D.C. Circuit. They claim that the SEC’s rules are too “water[ed] down” and fail to provide investors with “material” information on a company’s financial exposure to climate risks. (Newsweek, March 14).
  • It will take months for the SEC to run this court gauntlet. The November elections could shape the legal outcome before the suits are resolved, depending on which party controls Congress or the White House.

RER “Fact Sheet”

The Real Estate Roundtable's March 12, 2024 Fact Sheet on  "What CRE Needs to Know" about the SEC's Climate Disclosure Rules.
  • Assuming the SEC’s rules are not delayed, the largest public companies must comply with climate-related disclosures in Form 10-Ks filed during fiscal year 2025. (SEC fact sheet, March 6)
  • The Real Estate Roundtable has issued its own fact sheet summarizing “What CRE Should Know” about the SEC’s final climate disclosure rules. (RER Fact Sheet, updated March 12).

The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) continues to study the new SEC regulations and plans to hold educational sessions at its June 21 meeting in Washington as part of RER’s annual meeting.

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SEC Releases Climate Disclosure Rules

SEC logo and text

On March 6, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released long-awaited final “Climate Disclosure Rules” that establish federal regulations for registered companies to disclose climate-related financial risks and opportunities. The Real Estate Roundtable has prepared a fact sheet summarizing “What CRE Should Know” about the new SEC rules.

Overview of the SEC Rules

  • The rules require certain registrants to report “material” financial impacts to address storms, wildfires, sea level rise, and other events attributable to climate change (SEC news release, March 6)
  • Certain climate-related expenses and costs must be quantified and disclosed in audited financial statements filed annually as part of Form 10-K.
  • The rules also expand disclosures in narrative “items” included in a 10-K, such as descriptions of “physical” and “transition” risks from extreme weather and related events.
  • The SEC’s final rules impose no requirements to report Scope 3 emissions from sources in a company’s “value chain” – following the position advocated by the Roundtable in 2022 comments. (Roundtable Weekly, June 10, 2022)
  • “The SEC’s decision to drop proposed Scope 3 reporting was the right move,” said Roundtable President and CEO, Jeff DeBoer. “It would have imposed onerous financial and paperwork burdens for commercial real estate owners and failed to produce reliable and useful emission information for investors.”
  • The Climate Disclosure Rules phase-in and ramp-up over time. The largest companies (in terms of the amount of shares held by public investors) must start complying in 2025. (RER Fact Sheet)

Impacts on CRE 

The Roundtable’s Fact Sheet on the SEC’s Climate Disclosure Rules
  • CRE registrants should become familiar with the new rules if they voluntarily set corporate “targets” to reduce emissions in their buildings or portfolios, or own assets located in cities or states with building performance mandates.
  • Companies that purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) or carbon offsets may also be subject to SEC disclosures.
  • CRE owners and financial firms with “lifecycle” cap ex investment plans for building electrification may also be subject to new reporting.
  • The SEC’s rules do not preempt similar state requirements. For example, companies regulated by California’s climate disclosure laws passed in 2022 must satisfy those rules in addition to SEC rules. (Roundtable summary of the California legislation and Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 22)
  • The courts may ultimately decide the legality of the SEC’s actions. Institutional investors might move the market toward the SEC’s rules even if they are stalled or struck in court.

The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) will continue to assess the implications of the SEC’s rules and convene our members to develop industry standards and practices for compliance.

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Federal Initiatives on Buildings, Climate Gaining Momentum Ahead of 2024 Elections

The White House

The Biden-Harris administration is accelerating actions at the intersection of climate and real estate policy in the lead-up to November’s elections to implement its signature clean energy legislation passed during its first years in office. RER’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) remains engaged with policymakers on a variety of initiatives coalescing in 2024 that include the following:

Climate-Related Financial Risk

  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is expected to issue a final rule this spring for registered companies to disclose financial risks from climate change.(RER fact sheet and Roundtable Weekly, March 10, 2023).
  • Scope 3 “indirect” emissions from sources in a company’s supply chain are controversial elements of the anticipated SEC rule. RER’s 2022 comments urged the Commission to drop its “back door mandate” for Scope 3 disclosures. (Roundtable Weekly, June 10, 2022)
  • Litigation against the SEC’s imminent rule is widely expected. A recent lawsuit filed by industry groups against a California disclosure package passed last summer (modeled after the SEC’s proposal) signals similar claims that the federal government might face in court. (Wall Street Journal, Jan. 30 and RER fact sheet)

Voluntary Frameworks

EPA's NextGen Building Label
  • NextGen certification may serve as an “intermediate step” for buildings that strive for a voluntary Zero Emissions Building (“ZEB”) definition coming from the U.S. Energy Department. Recent comments from RER and Nareit maintain that the federal ZEB definition can lend consistency to the confusing state-local regulatory patchwork of building performance standards. (Roundtable Weekly, Feb 2.)
  • EPA is acting on requests to update Portfolio Manager, CRE’s standard tool to measure metrics for building efficiency and emissions. Portfolio Manager upgrades announced at last month’s SPAC meeting will help real estate companies strive for NextGen or ZEB status. (Coalition letter, Sept. 14, 2023)
  • This spring, the influential GHG Protocol—an international framework heavily relied upon by the SEC, EPA, DOE, and institutional investors—will undertake its first revisions since 2015 to its guidance for companies to account for emissions from electricity use. RER will participate in the upcoming Scope 2 guidance public comment process.

Tax Incentives

Ben Myers, left, and Tony Malkin, right -- SPAC leadership
Roundtable Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee Chair Tony Malkin, right, and
Vice Chair Ben Myers
  • The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has issued dozens of proposed rules and notices to implement clean energy tax incentives available to real estate and other sectors since Congress passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in 2022. (RER fact sheet)
  • The IRS is expected to release final rules before November on topics such as the ability of REITs to transfer certain tax credits, proposed rules on non-urban census tracts eligible for EV charging station credits, and the 179D deduction for building retrofits.
  • RER has submitted comments on these and other topics in response to initial IRS notices and will continue to provide feedback as opportunities arise. (RER letters Oct. 30 and July 28, 2023;  Nov. 4 and Dec. 2, 2022)

The Roundtable’s SPAC—led by Chair Tony Malkin (Chairman, President, and CEO, Empire State Realty Trust) and Vice Chair Ben Myers (Senior Vice President of Sustainability, BXP)—will press forward with RER’s climate and energy priorities for the remainder of the current administration and into the next.

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SEC Commissioner and Key Senators Support Further Analysis of Climate Disclosure Proposal

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) headquarters in Washington, DC

One of the commissioners from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and two U.S. Senators suggested this week that further analysis may be needed for a highly anticipated SEC rule on climate reporting, which includes a proposal for sweeping disclosures on Scope 3 GHG emissions. (Bloomberg Law, Nov. 7 | SEC headquarters in Washington, DC, above)

Stakeholder Comments

  • Given that the SEC has received more than 16,000 stakeholder comments on the proposal, Republican SEC Commissioner Mark Uyeda said, “Before the Commission adopts any final rule that significantly deviates from the proposal, it should seriously consider re-proposing the rule with revised rule text and an updated economic analysis.” (Ayuda’s comments, Nov. 7 and The Hill, April 6)
  • SEC Chair Chair Gary Gensler indicated in March that the agency’s climate-related reporting rule may be scaled back. (CNBC, March 7 and Roundtable Weekly, March 10)

Senators Support Additional Feedback

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), left 
Member, Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
and Roundtable Board Member Geordy Johnson (CEO, The Johnson Group)
Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN), left, and Roundtable Board Member Geordy Johnson (CEO, The Johnson Group) at The Roundtable’s 2023 Annual Meeting in June.
  • Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) also expressed support this week for obtaining additional feedback about the SEC’s proposed rule. Sen. Manchin chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and Sen. Hagerty serves on the Senate Banking Committee. (Hagerty-Manchin letter and PoliticoPro, Nov. 9)
  • The lawmakers wrote to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler about recent California state laws that require companies to disclose their emissions, which beat the SEC to the punch on releasing final climate reporting rules. (Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 22 and The Real Estate Roundtable’s summary of the California legislation.)
  • The Senators’ letter states, “The interconnectedness of the California requirements and the SEC’s proposal is undeniable: thousands of businesses would end up being subject to both the California requirements and the SEC’s rule, if finalized. However, key differences between the two raise significant compliance questions that the SEC should thoroughly review.”

Roundtable Comments on Scope 3

Philadelphia center city
  • Scope 3 refers to indirect emissions that are part of an organization’s value chain but not owned or controlled by the reporting company. The 2022 SEC proposal would require corporate issuers of securities to estimate and report Scope 3 emissions “if material” in 10-Ks and other filings. (SEC News Release, March 22, 2022)
  • Roundtable comments submitted in June 2022 emphasized that the SEC’s proposed directive, which would mandate that companies report on Scope 3 emissions “only if material,” is a “back-door mandate” that should be dropped. The comment letter added, “No registrant should be effectively required to report on indirect emissions beyond its organizational or operational boundaries.” (Roundtable Weekly, June 10, 2022),

The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) plans to respond to any further developments on the SEC’s proposed climate disclosure rule or other climate-related regulatory proposals affecting CRE.

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US-DOE Lauds CRE’s Efficiency Gains and Carbon Reductions

Roundtable members are among the commercial real estate partners recognized in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Better Buildings Initiative 2023 progress report released on Monday. This voluntary public-private partnership with more than 900 participating organizations has collectively saved $18.5 billion through energy efficiency improvements, and cut carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 190 million metric tons, since its launch in 2011. (DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative Report and PoliticoPro, Oct. 23)

DOE’s CRE Partners

  • This week’s Progress Report from DOE shows that more than 165 partners from various industry sectors who participate in its separate Better Climate Challenge have committed to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (scope 1 and 2) by at least 50% over 10 years without the use of offsets. The report’s outstanding GHG Emissions Reduction Goal Achievers include companies led by RER members.
  • The Real Estate Roundtable and several of its partner real estate organizations—including the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), Building Owners & Managers Association International (BOMA), Pension Real Estate Association (PREA), and Urban Land Institute (ULI)—are noted in the report as Industry Organization Partners.
  • U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said, “To meet President Biden’s ambitious climate goals, the public and private sector need practical pathways to reduce emissions while cutting costs—and that’s exactly what they get from DOE’s Better Building Initiative.” (DOE news release and the report’s Commercial Real Estate Sector Spotlight)

Tools and Best Practices

  • DOE’s partners represent almost every sector of the American economy: nearly 30 of the country’s Fortune 100 companies, nearly 20 of the top 50 U.S. employers, 14% of the U.S. manufacturing energy footprint, and 13% of total commercial building space, as well as more than 90 state and local governments.
  • The DOE report also provides case studies for collaborations across sectors to access insights, strategies, and through the agency’s “Decarbonization Resource Hub.”

DOE’s Better Buildings Initiative website provides extensive resources on the agency’s wide-ranging effort to partner with leaders in the public and private sectors to make the nation’s commercial buildings, industrial plants, and homes more energy-efficient by accelerating investment and sharing successful best practices.

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White House Announces Federal Building Performance Standards

The White House

The White House on Wednesday released a new standard to reduce scope 1 “direct” emissions from fossil fuels combusted to heat and cool federal buildings. (CNBC |UPI | PoliticoPro, Dec. 7)

Federal Building Performance Standard (BPS)

  • The Federal BPS from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) applies to the 300,000 existing buildings owned by the U.S. government. It sets a 2030 goal for each federal agency to eliminate scope 1 emissions in 30% of its facilities. (White House Fact Sheet)

  • The Federal BPS “prioritiz[es] energy efficiency and the elimination of on-site fossil fuel use.” It is a stepping-stone toward the Biden administration’s ultimate goal of “net zero” emissions by 2045 across all federal facilities. (Exec. Order 14057, Dec. 8, 2021)

  • The Federal BPS’s “performance pathway” would achieve the goal for zero scope 1 emissions “through efficient electrification of all equipment and appliances.”

  • The Federal BPS also offers a “prescriptive pathway” for specific replacement of gas-fired furnaces and boilers. This alternate compliance route recognizes that “full decarbonization may not be practicable today” considering a building’s size and climate zone—and is designed to account for the market availability and cost-effectiveness of electrification equipment.

Relevance to Other GHG Standards

Energy.gov map of BPS
  • While the Federal BPS intends to reduce on-site scope 1 emissions, it will likely increase scope 2 emissions from electricity purchased by the federal government to power electric heat pumps, hot water heaters, and similar equipment.

  • Furthermore, the Federal BPS—and its focus to reduce fossil fuels on-site—might set an easier standard compared to a number of emerging BPS mandates at the state and municipal level.

  • Some local BPS laws may effectively require buildings to reduce overall GHG emissions at their source, which depends on whether local power grids provide “clean” electricity from solar, wind, or other renewable energy. EPA data that profiles “fuel mixes” used to generate electricity, however, indicate that coal, gas and other non-renewables account for 80 percent of the fuels that power electric grids nationally.

  • Also, local BPS laws may not offer a “prescriptive” compliance path similar to the Federal BPS that contemplates cost effectiveness in building electrification retrofits.

  • Notably, the Federal BPS sets no requirements for U.S.-owned buildings to reduce their upstream and downstream “scope 3” emissions outside of an owners’ control. (EPA website)

  • Possible measurement and reporting of scope 3 emissions has been a controversial element of a private sector, corporate GHG disclosure rule proposed by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that has not yet been finalized. (Roundtable Weekly, June 10)

Other Building Policies  

Department of Energy sign

The White House’s announcements touted DOE’s Better Climate Challenge—a voluntary “pledge” that includes Roundtable members as “partners” who have committed to reduce portfolio-wide scopes 1 and 2 emissions by at least 50% within 10 years. The Roundtable is an “ally” supporting DOE’s Challenge. (Roundtable Weekly, March 4)

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Advisory Panel Endorses SEC Proposed Disclosure Rule

SEC logo - image

A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) advisory panel on investor issues this week endorsed the agency’s proposed climate disclosure rule, including a requirement for registered companies to support Scope 3 indirect emissions “if material” to investors. (Bloomberg Law and advisory panel recommendation, Sept. 21)

Scope 3 & CRE

  • The Investor Advisory Committee’s recommendations are not binding, although the SEC could adopt final rules on corporate climate reporting requirements this fall. (BGov, Sept. 21)
  • The Real Estate Roundtable submitted comments on June 10 objecting to the Commission’s Scope 3 approach. The comments noted that real estate companies neither control nor have access to data regarding emissions from third parties in their “value chains.” (Roundtable WeeklyJune 10 and June 24)
  • joint industry letter filed on June 13 from 11 national real estate trade groups also opposed the SEC’s proposed approach, emphasizing that corporate disclosures on indirect Scope 3 emissions should be voluntary.

SEC Authority & EPA Funding

EPA entrance building

  • Litigation is expected to challenge any final Commission regulation—especially in light of a recent Supreme Court decision in West Virginia v. EPA that questioned whether the SEC has “clear” authority from Congress to regulate climate matters.
  • House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC) and other Republican committee members wrote to SEC Chair Gary Gensler this week to request the SEC provide a list of all pending and upcoming rulemakings with the specific Congressional authority supporting each action. (Policymakers’ letter, Sept. 20)
  • Apart from the SEC, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) received a modest sum from Congress ($5 million) under the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) to help standardize voluntary corporate commitments to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
  • The new EPA funds are not “meant to create a parallel program … in case the SEC rule is scrubbed,” but will rather be used for climate models and software to hold companies “accountable” for the climate commitments they are already making. (BGov, Sept 21)
  • EPA backed the SEC’s climate disclosure proposal in a recent letter— stating the Commission has “broad authority to promulgate disclosure requirements that are ‘necessary or appropriate … for the protection of investors.’”

The Roundtable’s Sustainability Policy Advisory Committee (SPAC) will remain engaged with policy makers on climate risk disclosure rules that affect commercial real estate.

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