This week Arizona becomes the center of the sports world.  Now I don’t want to let the air out the room… but there’s that little game on Sunday in Glendale featuring the Patriots and Seahawks.  But wait, also in Arizona, just across town starting tomorrow, our friends at Waste Management are hosting the Greenest Show on Grass, the Waste Management 2015 Phoenix Open (which features the most raucous and exciting hole in golf).  It all starts tomorrow with WM’s annual Sustainability Forum featuring many of the nation’s foremost thought leaders on sustainability. The Pro-Am will tee off on Wednesday morning on TPC Scottsdale’s Stadium Course and will feature country music star Dierks Bentley, ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman, NBA legend Julius “Dr. J” Erving, 2015 Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Randy Johnson, National Champ Ohio State University Head Football Coach Urban Meyer, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and many more.  As for PGA Players, the line-up includes Scottsdale hometown regular Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, defending champ Kevin Stadler, Padraig Harrington, Bubba Watson, Lucas Glover, Retief Goosen and Angel Cabrera among the field of 132 that will vie for the $6.3 million purse.  Of course, tomorrow


Away from the fun and back in Washington, the Keystone debate rolled on with 14 amendments last week, following through on the first steps of Majority Leader McConnell’s effort to restore “Regular Order” to Senate procedure.  As evidence of the effort, the 14 amendments on the Keystone XL legislation were more than occurred on ALL the legislation in the Senate during the entire previous Congress.


And while the President was wrapping with India on Climate (see below), his players at Interior fired another missive across the bow of Congress, this time on ANWR.  I thought we were done with ANWR a long time ago, but in this administration’s environmental “Every That Is Old Is New Again” agenda, the ANWR fight  is now reemerging.  This approach may not bode well for the new 5-year drilling plan, expected in the next week or so.  As well, there are probably many political implications that are yet to play out here.  Bracewell’s Ewing, Rothschild and/or Hutt can tackle background and questions that you may have.  Sens. Murkowski, Sullivan and Rep. Don Young will hold a presser in the Senate Radio/TV Gallery at 2:00.  I would expect some rich language there…  Finally, a number of House and Senate Committees are holding their organizing meetings this week to get rolling on their committee agendas.  As they do we may be helpful.  For example, our friends at the Senate Ag panel are expected to make CFTC issues a major priority and my Bracewell colleague David Perlman (202-828-5804) is one of the best experts on the topic in DC.


Tomorrow, my friends and I at the National Press Club will be hosting a lunch with FERC Chair Cheryl LaFleur, who will speak about the challenges her agency faces to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid and reasonable prices for consumers.  Also returning to the forefront this week will be the Ozone/NAAQS question.  One of the biggest regular political/policy fights, the EPA rolled out its new proposal just before Thanksgiving and Thursday, EPA rolls into its public hearings in DC, Dallas and LA.  Scott Segal, Jeff Holmstead and Joe Stanko are always good sources.   The Senate Energy Committee looks at LNG export issues/legislation as well on Thursday, while BPC holds a forum on stakeholder reactions to the proposed EPA regulation for existing power plants, which will include a number of key State Commissioners.


Finally, on Saturday, I was able to take in my first Monster Jam thanks to my friend Jeanne Mitchell, who hosted my son Adam and I at the Verizon Center to watch Grave Digger, Crush-Station and the others smash things, roar the engines and jump giant dirt mounds.  Quite a fun evening (including a Grave Digger rollover during the Donut competition) and all part of what goes on when the Caps/Bullets (I mean, Wizards) have a break.  Next up at Verizon on Friday, Fleetwood Mac for those of you in my age range and above….  And remember the Washington Auto Show rolls on all week at the Washington Convention Center with lots of great cars.


Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

  1. (202) 997-5932




President Moves to Limit ANWR Drilling – In a move that is sure to draw significant opposition from Congress, President Obama moved to limit drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in his new management plan for the Alaska region.  The reforms proposes taking millions of acres off-limits to oil and gas drilling by designating them wilderness areas.   Of course Alaska delegation, including Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski were furious.  (cue the oversight hearing agenda…)  The entire delegation including new Gov. Bill Walker released an unusual Sunday news release where Murkowski called the move “a stunning attack on our sovereignty and ability to develop a strong economy.”  New House Resources Chair Rob Bishop called it “irrational.” The announcement is sure to set up another old fight with congressional Republicans, who have been spent decades unsuccessfully trying to open the refuge to oil exploration. It is important to note that the refuge is currently already is closed to fossil fuel development.


Finzel to Start PR Firm – Our great friend Ben Finzel is hanging out his own shingle.  After stops at a number of PR Firms, Congress and DOE over the past 25 years, Ben is opening Renew PR.   The firm is focused on “restoring common sense to communications” and will provide senior counsel, advice and outreach to corporate, association, non-governmental organization, alliance, coalition and foundation clients.  Ben writes that he looks forward to providing senior counsel and leadership based on four principles: truth, clarity, engagement and collaboration.


India “deal” Less “deal” than  China – Talk is nice, but it is not expensive.   It also doesn’t really help with press releases.  In a meeting in India this weekend, President Modi and President Obama said they will continue work together on climate issues but nothing in the discussion was substantive or even specific.  The U.S. and India on Sunday announced a modest deal to curb hydrofluorocarbons, a greenhouse gas emitted by refrigerators and air conditioners; work together at climate talks in Paris later this year; and finance India’s solar power targets. Unlike the arrangement with China late last year, the discussion is far more limited.  In fact, Modi said, “India is an independent country, and there is no pressure on us from any country or any person.”  The bottom line remains that for India, revitalizing economic growth, addressing the nation’s energy shortfall, and creating jobs will be taking precedence.


SEJ Forum Looked at Energy, Environment Issues for 2015 – In case you missed it Friday, for the third year in a row, the Society of Environmental Journalists held a public discussion at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, DC. The event ran from 3:00-5:00 p.m., followed by a reception. SEJ Board President Jeff Burnside introduced leading reporters and editors, who offered their predictions on the critical energy and environmental stories that will shape 2015. The event was also webcast live (see if you can hear my questions to the panelists).  Larry Pearl, director of environmental news for Bloomberg BNA, presented a brief overview then Doug Fischer, director of Environmental Health Sciences, moderated a panel that included Amy Harder, Neela Bannerjee, Randy Loftis of the Dallas Morning News, ClimateWire’s Lisa Friedman, and science reporter Lisa Palmer.




Caribbean Energy Forum Set – The White House and State Department in partnership with the Atlantic Council and the Council of the Americas will host a Caribbean energy security summit in Washington, D.C. today at the White House.  Representatives from countries including the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Grenada are expected to attend the summit as well as business and other political leaders.  The event will promote a cleaner and more sustainable energy future in the Caribbean through improved energy governance, greater access to finance and donor coordination.


AC-HV Expo Set – The Air Condition, Heating and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and  the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)are holding their 2015 AHR Expo, the world’s largest HVACR marketplace, at Chicago’s McCormick Place today through Wednesday.  The Show brings together over 2,000 exhibiting companies and 40,000 visitors, representing the entire spectrum of the industry including HVACR manufacturers, engineers, contractors, OEMs, facility managers, and other professionals. In addition, there are over 100 educational seminars, workshops (presented by ASHRAE and others) and new product presentations.


National Energy Education Summit Set – Today at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, the Council of Energy Research and Education Leaders (CEREL) of the National Council for Science and the Environment (NCSE) will host the National Energy Education Summit. The Summit will engage energy educators at all levels and students to build, improve, and expand energy education and serve the needs of diverse populations of students and citizens. The Summit will cover what we teach in energy education, how we teach it, how we can collaborate to teach it better, and how we can overcome critical challenges.  The Summit will include organized symposia, contributed presentations, posters and workshops on how to advance various aspects of energy education. We will also hear from leaders in government, business and industry and civil society in plenary sessions.  Dr. Michael E. Webber, Deputy Director of the Energy Institute, Co-Director of the Clean Energy Incubator, Josey Centennial Fellow in Energy Resources, and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, at the University of Texas at Austin will present the opening keynote at the National Energy Education Summit.  Other speakers will include Scott Sklar and former Obama advisor Dan Kammen.


Wilson Forum to Look at Urban Climate Issues – Today at 1:00 p.m., the Wilson Center will host a forum on climate perspectives for urban communities.  Over the next two decades the number of city dwellers will soar to nearly five billion, 60 percent of the world’s population.  Recognizing the need to strengthen the ties between urban policymaking and new scholarly work on urban development, and to disseminate evidence-based research on urban programming, the Wilson Center’s Urban Sustainability Laboratory, USAID, the International Housing Coalition, the World Bank and Cities Alliance have teamed together to cosponsor the fifth annual “Reducing Urban Poverty” paper competition for advanced graduate students. Winning authors of the 2014 Graduate Student Urban Poverty Paper Competition will present their solutions-oriented research, with commentary offered by experienced professionals working in the urban sector.


Energy & Climate Change Conference Set – The 15th National Conference and Global Forum on Science, Policy and the Environment: Energy and Climate Change will be held tomorrow to Thursday in Crystal City.  The event will feature more than 20 speakers and develop and advance partnerships that focus on transitioning the world to a new “low carbon” and “climate resilient” energy system. It will emphasize putting ideas into action – moving forward on policy and practice.


Forum to Look at Midwest Energy Issues – The U.S. Energy Association will host the Mid-West Energy Research Consortium (M-WERC) tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.  M-WERC envisions that, through its efforts, the Midwest Region will become the leading region in the United States for the energy, power and control industries and will be known worldwide for its leading-edge research and technology development in these areas, resulting in innovative products, market leadership, employment opportunities, and vibrant technology transfer.  M-WERC represents one of America’s largest clusters of energy, power and control companies, educational and research institutions, and other key industry stakeholders.  M-WERC acts as a catalyst for the growth of these companies and industries, located in the greater Mid-West Region, through technology innovation, advanced research, market development, information sharing, workforce development, and strategic collaboration.


CSIS Forum to Look at Grid Storage – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a panel discussion tomorrow looking at grid storage technologies.  The event will  feature Haresh Kamath, Program Manager for Energy Storage at the Electric Power Research Institute, Judith Judson-McQueeney, Director of Emerging Technologies at Customized Energy Solutions, Praveen Kathpal, Vice President of AES Energy Storage, and Katherine Hamilton, Policy Director of the Energy Storage Association.  Grid storage is often touted as a way to help integrate intermittent sources of electricity such as wind and solar onto the grid. The development of grid storage technology, however, is about much more than just renewable integration. This session will address various grid storage technologies and their current and future potential to help create a more resilient and cost-effective energy infrastructure. Panelists will discuss existing and emerging grid storage technologies and applications, market factors affecting storage development, the deployment of storage technologies and regulatory/policy factors affecting grid storage deployment. Sarah O. Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.


Press Club to Host FERC Chair – Cheryl LaFleur, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will speak about the challenges her agency faces to maintain the reliability of the nation’s electricity grid and reasonable prices for consumers at a National Press Club luncheon tomorrow at 12:30 p.m.  LaFleur, chairman of the commission since July 2014, will also talk about the expansion of the nation’s natural gas supply system as the result of unprecedented production from the use of hydraulic fracturing technologies.


Utech to Head Climate Discussion – Tomorrow at 12:30 p.m., the Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will hold the inaugural event in its Road to Paris Climate Series, featuring an event with Dan Utech, President Obama’s top advisor on energy and climate issues, among other prestigious experts.   Panelists will assess the national climate plans already announced by the United States and China and how their commitments could shape reactions by the European Union and lesser developed countries, which will shape the success or failure of an agreement at the Paris Conference of Parties in December 2015.  Former climate advisor Heather Zichal with moderate a panel with Utech, CAP’s Peter Ogden and WRI’s Andrew Steer.


Forum to Look at Ukraine Energy, Security – The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars will hold a forum on the security and energy implications for the South Caucasus after Ukraine on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  As the Ukrainian crisis, and the associated political conflict between Russia and the West, continues, there is elevated risk of unanticipated spillover effects in neighboring regions. The focus of this conference, the South Caucasus, is particularly sensitive to the continuing conflict to the north, including the competition for political and economic influence in the region.  The conference will be divided into two panels. The first panel will look at geopolitical implications of the Ukrainian conflict on the region, such as Armenia’s joining the Eurasian Union and the region’s relations with other neighbors, including Turkey and Iran. The second panel will examine energy-related issues, including the impact of world supply and demand for energy; the EU’s evolving dependence on energy from Russia; and Russia’s challenges and opportunities in the region.  The conference will conclude with a lunch and keynote address.


EIA Head to Address Forum – On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the St. Regis – Washington, D.C., Recharge will host a conversation with Adam Sieminski, administrator of the US Energy Information Administration.  The theme of the talk will be global energy after the oil price fall. How do plummeting oil prices change the international energy industry, and, specifically, the role the US plays in it? What does the future hold for all types of energy in a new era of cheaper oil?  The event is sponsored by America’s Natural Gas Alliance.


Senate EPW to Host Transpo Sect, Govs on Legislation – Senate Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing on Wednesday to take its first look at Transportation Reauthorization issues.  The hearing aims to provide state and federal perspectives on the importance of reauthorization.   Witnesses will include Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R), Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) and Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D).  Meanwhile, tomorrow, the House Transportation Committee will gather to organize.


CSIS Forum to Look at Oil Prices, Impacts – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Rusty Braziel, President & Principal Energy Markets Consultant for RBN Energy, James Jensen, President of Jensen Associates, Jim Burkhard, Vice President and Head of Global Oil Market Research and Energy Scenarios at IHS, and David Knapp, Senior Editor at Energy Intelligence Group, to discuss the energy market impacts of low oil prices.  For the past several years, oil prices have remained in a predictably stable price “band” of around $100/barrel – in spite of an unprecedented spate of global disruptions and new geopolitical unrest. A combination of lackluster oil demand growth, an unprecedented supply surge courtesy of U.S. tight oil production, and other market factors has led to a rapid decline in global oil prices. While it is likely too early to answer the critical questions about how low prices will go, how long they will stay there, and whether this recent price collapse will lead to a new oil price band or an era of greater price volatility, it is a good time to start assessing some of the key variables to watch. This session is an opportunity explore the various oil market dynamics at play and assess the potential implications and outlooks for the future. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will moderate.


RFF Seminar to look at Climate, Food Supply – Resources for the Future will hold a seminar on Wednesday at 12:45 p.m. on how climate change will affect our global food supply.  According to recent studies, climate change could reduce agricultural productivity, decreasing global food supplies and harming households that rely on crops, livestock, and fisheries for income. What types of policies can be developed today to help protect against the worst of these impacts? At this RFF seminar, experts will examine recent research on this important topic and discuss how the United States and other countries are addressing the challenge.


AWWA, MWCOG to Discuss Water Issues – On Wednesday at 1:00 p.m., the American Water Works Association and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments will hold a discussion of water and wastewater utility energy efficiency programs, both today and potential for the future. This workshop will highlight successes and challenges in the region, with an emphasis on how water and wastewater utilities could participate in state and energy sector efficiency incentive programs.  The forum will bring together representatives from local water and energy utilities to demonstrate past energy efficiency and/or renewable energy projects that have been completed or are proposed for a future date.


NAS to Look at Fukushima, Nuclear – On Thursday, the National Academy of Sciences will hold a meeting on Fukushima and current nuclear challenges.   The day-long Conference will focus on the 2004 NAS Spent Fuel Report and the Fukushima  accident.


Ozone Public Hearing Set for DC – EPA will hold its ozone rule hearing on Thursday at EPA headquarters.  EPA will hold several public hearings on the proposed updates to the national air quality standards for ground-level ozone, also known as smog. EPA has proposed to strengthen the standards to a level within a range of 65 to 70 parts per billion to better protect American’s health and the environment, while taking comment on a level as low as 60 ppb. While the low end of the range in the proposed rule (65ppb) is very troubling for industry and states, as low as background levels of ozone in many parts of the country and pushing as much as 94% of the nation out of attainment, 60ppb would be devastating for manufacturing, oil and gas production and agriculture across the country.  One thing to consider: the Administration only has so much political capital at its disposal and it has made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  It is unclear that the Administration has the bandwidth to sustain both rules.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will demand that the proposed ozone NAAQS be placed on a more realistic course.  Look for Strong pushback on Ozone/NAAQS from Oil and gas.  Oil/gas production has been one of the only bright spots in the jobless recovery, and the range proposed for ozone may impose real, practical limitations on that production.


Senate Energy to Tackle LNG Permit Legislation – The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing on LNG permitting legislation on Thursday at 10:00 a.m.  The LNG Certainty and Transparency Act (S. 33) was introduced last week and would provide certainty with respect to the timing of Department of Energy decisions to approve or deny applications to export natural gas. Witnesses will include DOE’s Chris Smith, Paul Cicio of the Industrial Energy Consumers of America, ANGA’s Marty Durbin, NAM’s Ross Eisenberg and David Koranyi, the Eurasian Energy Future Initiative at the Atlantic Council.


BPC to Hold Event on Climate Stakeholders, Comments – On Thursday at 10:00 a.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center will hold a forum on stakeholder reactions to the proposed section 111(d) regulation for existing power plants.  Over a million comments have been submitted on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan. Pulling from a broad swath of interested stakeholders, the Bipartisan Policy Center will gather a mix of panelists to share highlights from their submitted comments on this regulatory undertaking.  Speakers will include Arizona DEQ director Henry Darwin, Florida PSC President Lisa Edgar, ACORE’s Todd Foley, Basic Power Co-op’s Elizabeth Gore, Jack Ihle of Xcel, Missouri PSC Robert Kennedy, ECOS President and TN Bob Martineau, NRDC’s Derek Murrrow, EEI’s Quin Shea and NY State DEC.

Forum to Look at IL Nuclear Power, Economy – Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) will hold its monthly policy luncheon on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.  For this luncheon, guest speaker David Bradish, manager of energy and economic analysis at the Nuclear Energy Institute, will discuss how he estimated the facilities’ economic impacts on the Illinois economy using modeling tools.


ASE to Hold Congressional Briefing – The Alliance to Save Energy will hold a congressional briefing on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. in 366 Dirksen on energy efficiency building blocks.  Energy efficiency has been a hot topic in Congress over the last few years. The afternoon briefing to discuss the fundamental tools of energy efficiency and energy efficiency policy.



National Zero Energy Building Forum Set – The Getting to Zero National Building Forum will be held Sunday-Tuesday, February 1-3rd at the Fairmont Georgetown Hotel. Zero energy buildings are ultra-efficient structures that use only as much energy as can be produce onsite through renewable energy resources. Research from New Buildings Institute (NBI) reports 300% growth in the number of buildings targeting zero energy performance goals in just two years. Other studies have quantified the value of the zero energy building market to be $1.4 trillion annually by 2035. While this market is still in the beginning stages, much like LEED, experts anticipate rapid growth in the next two decades.  The event will take an in-depth look at the world of zero net energy (ZNE) buildings, share perspectives on the growth of ZNE policies and projects and discuss the future of these extremely efficient buildings that produce as much energy as they consume over the course of a year.


CSIS Experts to Look at Turkish NatGas Pipeline Implications – On Monday, February 2nd, CSIS will host a forum on natural gas pipeline issues in Turkey.  In December 2014, Russia announced unexpectedly that it was cancelling its South Stream gas pipeline project. Instead, during a visit to Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new pipeline project that would send additional gas to Europe through Turkey to the Greek border, which he dubbed Turkish Stream.  With much speculation as to the winners and losers of this decision, CSIS experts will endeavor to answer the many questions the new project raises.


JHU to Host Eni CEO – Next Monday, February 2nd at Noon, the Johns Hopkins University will hold a forum featuring Claudio Descalzi, CEO of Eni, who will discuss the future of oil markets.  Descalzi has been the CEO of Eni since May 2014.


Forum to Discuss Auto Innovations – New America will hold a conversation on February 2nd at 12:15 p.m. to discuss auto policy innovations.  Speakers will include Levi Tillemann, author of The Great Race: The Global Quest for the Car of the Future, and Daniel Yergin, author of The Quest and The Prize, and they will focus on the century-long battle between automakers and the contest to build the car of the future.


NASEO Energy Policy Outlook Conference Set – On February 3-6 in Washington D.C., the National Assn of State Energy Officials (NASEO) will Hold its 2015 Energy Policy Outlook Conference.  The event will focus on the energy and economic opportunity in modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure—electric grid, pipelines, buildings, and transportation—to achieve a more resilient, sustainable, and energy efficient future. The need to modernize our aging energy infrastructure is among the most important global competitive challenges facing the United States.


USEA to Look at Solar Economics for Utilities – Next Tuesday, February 3rd at 2:00 p.m., the U.S. Energy Association will hold a forum assessing the economics of solar PV in the electric utility industry.  APPA’s James Cater will speak.  Solar photovoltaics (PV) makes up a small but rapidly growing portion of the nation’s electric generation capacity. Notwithstanding the increasing popularity and growth, questions remain regarding the basic costs and benefits, the nature and magnitude of subsidies, impacts on electric rates, and cost shifting among utility customers. This presentation provides an analytical framework for assessing the economics of solar PV within the electric utility sector. The intent is not to offer conclusions on the merits of solar PV as a power resource, but rather to present an analytical framework that may help decision makers assess the benefits and costs, and manage the trade-offs inherent in the use of this technology.


Hill Newspaper Forum to Look at Grid SecurityThe Hill will host a forum on grid resilience and security on Wednesday, February 4th at 8:00 a.m. in B-340 Rayburn. Leaders from Congress and the Obama Administration will discuss the role new energy technologies are playing in modernization, as well as steps for protecting a 21st Century power grid. Vulnerabilities in the security of the U.S. power grid — from the high-profile attack on a California substation to ongoing cyber incursions — has made protecting the grid a key policy issue for both the security and energy communities. Recent hacking incidents against major retailers, Hollywood, and the military’s social media accounts are only increasing concerns about the ability to protect America’s critical systems.


ASP to Hold Forum on Energy Security in Caribbean – On Wednesday, February 4th at Noon, the American Security Project will host a conference on energy security in the Caribbean.  Energy insecurity and availability are challenges that countries around the world face, but few places in the world face it like the islands of the Caribbean do. The islands are a diverse mix, ranging from Communist Cuba to the American territory of Puerto Rico, from small, isolated islands like Anguilla to large, multi-ethnic islands like Hispaniola. Most of the islands in the Caribbean have few indigenous fossil fuel resources, so virtually all of their energy needs are met by imported fossil fuels. To compound this, because of the lack of scale, costs for infrastructure are often much higher than for mainland, continental states.  Over the course of three panel discussions, the event will first examine the geopolitical importance of the region, and discuss what role energy plays in the balance of power. The next panel will look at the unique challenges of providing power to islands, and will attempt to offer lessons from other islands around the world. The final panel will look at existing and future solutions that could provide energy security, economic growth, and a cleaner environment.


RFF Forum to Look at Climate Agreement Action – Resources for the Future will host a First Wednesday Seminar  on February 4th at 12:45 p.m.  looking at countries level Of effort to reach a climate agreement.  Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, countries have committed to finalize a new international agreement to take action on climate change. To prepare for Paris, each country must outline Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the actions it will take to reduce its emissions.  A collaborative and functional negotiation process around the new agreement will require a solid understanding of the levels of effort represented by the INDCs, particularly surrounding mitigation. However, comparing mitigation efforts is a challenging exercise, given the likely diversity of the proposed actions of each country.  At this RFF First Wednesday Seminar, experts will discuss a new method for comparing the INDCs, based on work by a team from Harvard University, Duke University, Japan’s Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, and Resources for the Future. They will also present a preliminary assessment of mitigation actions announced by several key jurisdictions, and a negotiator from the US State Department will offer comments.  State’s Trigg Talley and experts Joe Aldy and Bill Pizer will speak.


Forum to Look at Global Oil Issues – The Wilson Center will convene an expert global panel, assembled from Russia, Colombia, Canada, Iran, and Nigeria, on Wednesday February 4th at 1:30 p.m. to discuss the economic and political repercussions of depressed energy prices, as well as the effects of the lower prices on competitiveness and investment.  The event will be an exploration of the political, economic, and security implications of tumbling oil prices in various parts of the globe. For more information, please visit our event page.


Purdue Expert to Address Climate Impacts on Land Use, Poverty – On Thursday, February 5th at 4:30 p.m., the Johns Hopkins University will host a forum featuring Thomas Hertel of Purdue University, who will address the impacts of climate change and mitigation policies on global land use and poverty.  Professor Hertel is Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue University, where his research focuses on the economy-wide impacts of global trade and environmental policies. Professor Hertel’s most recent research has focused on the impacts of climate change and mitigation policies on global land use and poverty. Previously, Professor Hertel has conducted extensive research on the impacts of multilateral trade agreements, including the linkages between global trade policies and poverty in developing countries.


Former Gov Ritter Leads CO Law School Forum – University of Colorado Law School will hold its 2015 Martz Winter Symposium in its Wittemyer Courtroom on February 12-13th.  Many believe that global institutions and frameworks are failing to generate necessary progress on issues such as climate change, water scarcity, biodiversity, food security and nutrition, and poverty eradication; and that state, tribal, and local governments and communities, innovative companies, social and technology entrepreneurs, NGOs, impact investors, consumers and philanthropists increasingly are taking the lead in creating bottom-up solutions to these challenges.  The conference will explore this dynamic in detail, with an emphasis on the drivers behind these ground level innovations, and on how they can better “filter up” to inform the global conversations occurring on how best to address various dimensions of “global change”.  Former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter leads a list of distinguished speakers.


FCC Chair to Address NARUC Winter Meetings – The 2015 NARUC Winter Committee Meetings will be held on February 15-18th at the Renaissance Washington Hotel.  The Winter Meetings is the first substantive utility-regulatory conference of the year. Discussions will focus on the new Congress’ outlook for energy and telecommunications priorities.  Tom Wheeler, Chairman of the  Federal Communications Commission will be among the keynote speakers.


Geothermal Event Set for February – The Geothermal Energy Association’s State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing will be held on Tuesday, February 24th at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill.


Interior Official to Address Policy Issues at UColorado—The University of Colorado Law School will host Deputy Secretary of Interior Mike Connor for a policy speech on March 10th.


Aviation Forum to Feature Blakey – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is hosting its 14th Annual Aviation Summit on Tuesday, March 17th at the Renaissance Hotel to bring together top experts and leaders from all sectors of aviation to discuss critical issues facing the industry. The 2015 Summit will focus on the future of space and aviation in the global economy.  Confirmed Speakers include Chamber CEO Tom Donohue, Spirit Airlines CEO Ben Baldanza, Former Continental Airlines CEO Gordon Bethune, former FAA/NTSB/NHTSA head and current CEO of  Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) Marion Blakey, and many others.