Energy Update: Week of February 1

Friends,

Welcome back to a very busy week.  While it happened after we closed the update last week, I wanted to remind folks of the loss of the great character-actor Abe Vigoda, mostly known for his role of Tessio in the first two (and only real) Godfather movies.  While Tom couldn’t get him “off the hook for old-time sake,” we always knew it was about business.  Sal Tessio and Mo Green (who died just last year as well) together again at last.

I hope you had a chance to watch yesterday’s NHL All Star Game.  The new format was very interesting and exciting despite the fact that there was only one goal in the final 3-on-3 game. It was great to see some very talented players in that wide open format.  But who could not feel good about the entire John Scott story including his getting the game MVP.  Love the Michigan Tech boy made good.

This weekend launches Superbowl L (50) as well as New Orleans famed Mardi Gras. On Sunday, a number of parades including the Bacchus parade will launch the annual celebration getting up to next Tuesday’s big day.  Also, all week, Waste Management is at the PGA’s WM Phoenix Open with its sustainability forum and live action with the PGA Tour’s most fun/exciting golf hole, starting Thursday and including our friend/former White Press Sect Dana Perino.

While most are focusing on the Iowa caucuses today and tomorrow, in Congress the Senate continues its push for an energy bill.  Last week they started with the non-controversial items.  While they remain busy this week, expect tougher votes on more controversial items.  We are tracking the action so don’t hesitate to call with questions.

The House returns to action by focusing on the recent Paris climate agreement and the Flint water crisis.  House Science will have a tough look tomorrow at the results of Paris featuring Steve Eule, of the US Chamber’s Energy Institute, who last week released a blog post analyzing whether the Administration can actually meet its Paris Targets.  Wednesday House Oversight has former Flint City Manager and MI DEQ officials.

There are lots of issues swirling around the clean power plan including last week’s stay decision and many other issues.  Today my colleague Jeff Holmstead, takes up the topic with E&E TVs Monica Trauzzi.  It is an excellent update on where things stand so I hope you will take a look.

Finally today, the Gulf Economic Survival Team will launch and important new study focused on Interior’s imminent well control rule the study shows the significant impact the rule could have on an already struggling Gulf oil and gas industry.  I am including a link here to the study as well as short summary below.  We will also follow up with you on this study individually but should you have questions, please call.  We have a number of sources that can discuss the impact and the issue for you.

While I don’t particularly care who wins Sunday’s Super Bowl, I am rooting for Denver because one of my college fraternity brothers is an executive with the Broncos.  But it would also be nice to see a preseason surprise team like Carolina win as well.  Most importantly, remember to get your Super Bowl pool squares and hope for good numbers.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Study: Extreme Cost of Well Rule Risks Gulf Energy Production, Intensifies Economic PainInitial findings from a study conducted by international research consultancy Wood Mackenzie confirm that the high cost of a proposed new rule governing oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico could significantly reduce domestic energy production and curtail U.S. economic activity, energy supplies, and state and federal offshore revenues.  The Interior Department’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) in April 2015 proposed the sweeping Well Control Rule, a set of complex and highly technical regulations that impose expansive new requirements on offshore oil and gas drilling.  The new requirements included in the proposed rule call for far reaching changes to the rules by which the oil and gas operators are governed and would increase costs in a manner that will severely impact Gulf Coast economies.  According to initial findings released today, the study found that under an $80 oil assumption, comparable to the price assumptions used by BSEE in developing the rule, the Interior Department’s draft rule would:

  • Decrease exploration drilling by up to 55% or 10 wells annually
  • Reduce Gulf of Mexico production by as much as 35% by year 2030
  • Result in 105,000 – 190,000 jobs at risk by 2030; this may include jobs beyond the energy sector;
  • Most notably, 80% of these jobs could be in Louisiana and Texas.

Local Impacts, Industry Already HurtingChett Chiasson, Executive Director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission said the rule would hurt an already struggling industry.  “Our port, our tenants and our local community will not be able to sustain the economic impacts of this new rule.  Our region is already grappling with the local impacts of low crude oil prices.  With the proposed rule in place, we would be looking at massive unemployment, more local businesses closing, and significant drops in tax revenue that would hurt our region for many years to come.”    Lori LeBlanc, Executive Director of the Gulf Economic Survival Team (GEST) urged the President to direct the Interior Department to address the rule’s far-reaching economic impact and the serious concerns of our local communities before sanctioning this new federal regulation.  As many as 190,000 American jobs and our nation’s energy security are at stake.”

AGs Letter Questions EPA on Carbon Trading Option – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey helped lead officials from 18 states in challenging a proposal to force cap-and-trade upon states that do not comply with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Power Plan.  Participating states contend the EPA’s federal implementation plan, as set forth in relation to the Power Plan, upends state authority, increases electricity prices and violates numerous aspects of federal law.  The AGs objected to the implementation plan this month with a public comment letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. It stressed the states’ opposition to the underlying Power Plan, while questioning EPA’s authority and the plan’s ability to impact climate change.

ND Joins SCOTUS GHG Stay Battle – Speaking of AGs, North Dakota in 29 other states and industry groups urging the Supreme Court to halt implementation of new federal standards to reduce carbon emissions while the plan is being challenged.  North Dakota AG Wayne Stenehjem said if the GHG rules are not stayed, the state, will suffer “irreparable harm” because it has received more than $360 million in taxes during the last decade from its coal industry.

Groups: Support Better Energy Efficiency Program for Fed Buildings – While the Senate Energy debate rolls on, 25 companies and organizations urged Senators to support provisions in Secs. 1015, 1016, and 1017 of the energy bill. The sections would not only repeal a requirement regarding the reduction and eventual elimination of fossil fuel generated energy consumption in new and renovated federal buildings, but strengthen broader energy efficiency targets and other direction to federal agencies.  A part of Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 was intended to reduce fossil fuel-generated energy use in new and renovated federal buildings, with a 100 percent reduction required by the year 2030. Signers worry if could discourage comprehensive energy efficiency renovations, stifle innovations and result in increased energy costs for the federal government.  The provisions included in S. 2012 would not only repeal this requirement, but strengthen several existing federal energy management provisions to ensure large energy savings in the coming years. As the letter states, “The provisions in Secs. 1015, 1016, and 1017 would save taxpayers money by enhancing the energy efficiency of federal buildings.” Among the signers was AHRI member Trane, NRECA, the American Gas Assn and the Combined Heat and Power Assn, among others.

AWEA: Wind Power Posts Second Strongest Quarter Ever – The American Wind Energy Association ( AWEA) said that the wind industry installed 5,001 megawatts (MW) during the fourth quarter of 2015, more installations than in all of 2014, according to new data. Overall in 2015, the American wind industry installed 8,598 MW, the third largest amount ever installed in a year and a 77% increase over 2014.  AWEA highlighted the industry’s sustained growth in releasing its U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2015 Market Report. The strong market activity is expected to continue, with a bipartisan vote by Congress late last year for a multi-year extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC), supplying the industry with much-needed policy certainty. As 2016 began, an additional 9,400 MW were under construction.

Senate Energy Spokesman Move  to PR – Robert Dillon has joined Strategies 360’s Washington, D.C. team as senior vice president. An expert on energy policy and politics, Dillon most recently served as senior advisor to U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and as the communications director of the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.   “Dillon has served the committee for more than seven years and has been a trusted advisor throughout my time leading the committee,” Sen. Murkowski said. “He has a great depth of knowledge on the issues within the committee’s jurisdiction and broad expertise on energy, environmental and resources policy. Dillon’s departure is a big loss for our team, but we thank him for everything he has done here and wish him the best moving forward. He has served Alaska well and we know he will continue to serve our state in his new role.”  At S360, Dillon will focus on strengthening and expanding the firm’s current government relations, strategic message development, crisis management, media relations, and speech and editorial writing practices. He will be working on energy issues, as well as a broad range of other policy areas.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – Today through Sunday  Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

SAB Continues Review on Water/NatGas Issues – Today and tomorrow, the EPA’s Science Advisory Panel holds teleconference meetings to discuss the peer review of the agency’s draft report on hydraulic fracturing’s impact on drinking water resources.

Chicago Forum to Look at Paris Climate Agreement – The Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and the Chicago Council tonight are hosting an exclusive panel discussion on the Paris climate agreement, with Ed Crooks of the Financial Times, White House National Security Council advisor Paul Bodnar, Marathon Capital CEO Ted Brandt, and others.  The event will be at the Union League Club of Chicago at 6:00 p.m.

Panel to Look at Geoengineering – Today at 12:15 p.m., Future Tense New America will hold a book lunch on Geoengineering and how it could change the world.  Geoengineering is the deliberate hacking of Earth’s climate and might be one of the most promising potential responses to climate change, especially in the absence of significant carbon emission reductions. It’s also one of the most controversial.  In his new book, “The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World,” Oliver Morton argues that the risks of climate change merit serious action. According to Morton, geoengineering is not a simple or singular solution to the problem, but it is worth exploring, even if it’s never actually deployed.

Forum to Look at Black Sea Energy – The Atlantic Council will release a report and Hold a panel discussion today at 2:30 p.m. on developing energy in the Black Sea Region.  The report Developing a Western Energy Strategy for the Black Sea Region and Beyond, Atlantic Council’s Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and Global Energy Center, Dr. Ariel Cohen argues that the Black Sea region is key to Europe’s energy security and the West’s strategic positions. The panel of diplomats and experts will discuss the challenges the Black Sea region faces, and explore regional, European and US strategies to strengthen energy security.  Diplomats Amb. Elin Suleymanov of the Embassy of Azerbaijan and Tugay Tuncer of the Embassy of Turkey will speak.

House Science To Tackle Paris Agreement – The House Science Committee will hold a hearing tomorrow focusing on Paris Climate Agreement and whether it is a good or bad deal for America.  Witnesses will include Steve Eule, of the US Chamber’s Energy Institute , who last week released a blog post analyzing whether the Administration can actually meet its Paris Targets.  Others on the panel include University of Alabama in Huntsville professor John Christy, WRI’s Andrew Steer and Heritage’s Steven Groves.

House Energy to Address Energy Legislation – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a legislative hearing on a number of energy-related legislation.  Witnesses include FERC officials Ann Miles (Energy Projects Office Director) and Max Minzer (General Counsel), as well as a number of other industry and enviro representatives, including Bill Marsan of the American Transmission Company, Public Citizen’s Tyson Slocum and Jeff Leahey of the National Hydropower Association  The committee with also look at more legislation on Wednesday, including legislation aimed at stopping the Brick MACT.  Brick company execs and NRDC’s John Walke will testify.

Moniz to Discuss Iran Deal at Wilson Forum – The Wilson Center will host a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. featuring Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz, focused on what steps Iran has taken, how the United States can be confident that Iran’s breakout time to a nuclear weapon has been extended to at least one year, what lies ahead for the nuclear deal and what challenges remain.

Wilson Forum to Look at Middle East Oil Price Equation – The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program will host a forum tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. on the implications of the collapse of oil prices for the Middle East.  The collapse of the oil prices has shocked both producers and consumers worldwide. As the most important producing region of the world, the Middle East has been particularly affected; state revenues are down, and cutthroat competition for market share and low global demand translates into greater challenges and uncertainty. The regional economic outlook is unclear, and questions remain about the potential long-term impact of sustained low oil prices. Three experts will analyze the geopolitical and financial aspects of the sharp decline in oil prices on both importing and exporting countries in the Middle East.

WCEE Forum with FERC ALJs – The Women’s Council on Energy & Environment will host a Litigation Roundtable tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. with the women Administrative Law Judges at FERC and EPA. The Judges will discuss why and how they became Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and how they have mentored others, and share the dos and don’ts regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

Jacobson to Address Anti-Nuclear Group – The anti-nuclear group NIRS will hold a tele-briefing tomorrow on “Paris and the path forward to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future.  As if there is one…  The discussion will feature controversial advocate/academic Mark Jacobson of Stanford and IEER’s Arjun Makhijani, both of who will explain what the climate agreement achieved and what its implications are for our energy future and nuclear power here in the U.S.

BPC Event to Look at Energy Innovation – On Wednesday at 8:30 a.m. at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, the American Energy Innovation Council of the BPC will hold an event that will examine the rationale and implications of expanding federal support for energy innovation. The first panel will explore the economic impact of federal investments in energy innovation, focusing on how these investments can best leverage additional investments and ensure America’s competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving global energy marketplace. Phil Giudice, CEO at Ambri, will join to discuss how his grid storage company is working to develop transformative innovations in energy storage. A second panel will review new, collaborative institutional models that are working to create better bridges across the “valleys of death,” while aligning public and private sector priorities. ARPA-E Director Ellen Williams and our friends Kevin Kolevar of Dow Chemical and author Steve LeVine.

Forum to Discuss Transformations in Energy Technology – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a panel discussion reflecting on BP’s Technology Outlook and its insights on how we may identify, extract, store, and ultimately consume our energy. The event will feature a presentation and panel with David Eyton, Head of Technology at BP, and Melanie Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy and Energy Counselor to Secretary Moniz.

House Oversight to Take on Flint Water Crisis – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will look into the Flint water lead contamination on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m.  The witness list includes Miguel Del Toral, the Region 5 regulations manager who wrote a scathing memo last June to his supervisor about Flint’s lack of a corrosion control plan at the city’s water treatment plant.  Others on the panel include EPA Water Office acting deputy assistant administrator Joel Beavais, VaTech’s Marc Edwards (who was one of the initial whistleblowers) Michigan DEQ Director Keith Creaghan and Darnell Earley, former emergency manager for Flint.

Senate Environment to Tackle Stream Rule – The Senate Environment Committee hold a full committee hearing Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. on the potential environmental and economic impact of the proposal, which aims at increasing protections for streams near coal mines.

RFF to Look at Drought Response – Resources for the Future will hold an RFF First Wednesday Seminar this week in collaboration with the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) on improving the Federal drought response.  While drought management can involve all levels of government, the federal government in particular has a unique set of policy tools that can help communities prepare for and minimize the impact of droughts. At this Seminar, experts will discuss the role of the federal government in western water and drought management, with a focus on how it can strengthen its partnership with states to better manage drought today and in a warmer, possibly drier, future. The event features a presentation by Ellen Hanak, director of the PPIC Water Policy Center, who will discuss the center’s new report, Improving the Federal Response to Western Drought: Five Areas for Reform.  Speakers include USDA’s Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Ann Mills, Mark Kramer of The Nature Conservancy and Interior’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science Tom Iseman.

Turkish Energy Future Focus on Forum – On Wednesday at 3:45 p.m. in the Press Club’s Lisagor Room, the Turkish Heritage Organization will hold a forum looking at energy security in Turkey and its surrounding neighbors. The instability in the Middle East along with the East Mediterranean has created a fragile energy dependent region that heightens Turkey’s central importance as a leader in energy politics. This forum will look at what Turkey’s role be in alleviating the energy crisis in 2016 and how the geopolitics affect its ability to improve the global market of energy by lessening dependency.

Climate Film Series To Be Screened – The Island Institute, in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy, is hosting a screening event on Wednesday at 6:00 pm at the University of California Washington Center showcasing its “A Climate of Change” film series.  The films examine the effects on the fishing industry associated with climate change, including warming waters, lack of biodiversity, and ocean acidification. Across New England and the nation, fishermen and scientists are observing notable shifts in the ecosystem and dramatic changes on the water. These Island Institute film screenings will help introduce shellfish aquaculture as an example of economic diversification for fishing communities and will prove to be excellent opportunities for relationship building and dialogue exchange on climate change.

NAS Hosts Meeting on Domestic Transportation of Petroleum, NatGas, Ethanol – On Thursday and Friday, the National Academies of Science will host a meeting on domestic transportation of fuels.  Given a number of recent events, look for a candid discussion of potential policies.   See the speakers and agenda here.

Sustainable Energy Factbook Release – For the fourth year in a row, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) & the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) have produced the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas & renewable energy sectors in the United States. On Thursday at 12:00 p.m., a panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from BNEF will discuss why 2015 was a watershed year for the US clean energy economy.

WCEE Feature World Bank Expert on Green Bonds – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Thursday at 12:00 noon on Green Bonds featuring World Bank expert Akiko Nakagawa. Nakagawa shares her work on developing and supervising projects financed through green bonds as well as how these bonds are placed in the climate negotiation’s context.  Laura Tlaiye will explain the requirements of green bond eligible projects and how bonds are structured.

Woolsey to Headline Lecture – On Friday at 5:30 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host the third Brian Kelley Memorial Lecture on the topic of “Energy Security in the 21st Century.”  The year’s lecture will feature Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence.  Woolsey has been one of the most prominent analysts of national security issues, as well as energy policy. He has been a proponent of US energy independence and the protection of major infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as our electric grid upon which everything in our civilization depends.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on Friday.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

NAS to Look at Rural Electricity Issues – Next Monday and Tuesday, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine and the Quadrennial Energy Review Task Force will hold a technical workshop on electricity use in rural and islanded communities. Workshop topics will include attributes of electricity use and distribution systems associated with rural electricity users, islanded residents, and isolated demand centers;  challenges and opportunities for increasing efficiency, reducing emissions and costs, and resiliency in such locations; and innovative clean energy strategies being undertaken in such locations.

Forum, Report to Highlight LNG Exports – Next Monday, the Atlantic Council will hold a panel and launch its Eurasian Energy Futures Initiative with the report “Surging Liquefied Natural Gas Trade, How US Exports Will Benefit European and Global Gas Supply Diversity, Competition, and Security” authored by Global Energy Center Senior Fellow and former leading CIA analyst Bud Coote.  The report analyzes global LNG market developments and the potential role of US LNG in Europe and Asia. The EU’s move toward a freer energy market and a global shift toward gas by climate conscious consumers are likely to help fuel growing demand for US LNG in the coming years. The strong match between Europe’s energy objectives and US LNG exporters’ goals will not only bolster a secure and competitive energy market in Europe, but help lead the fight against climate change.  Coote and Fabrice Vareille, Head of Transport, Energy, and Environment Section of the EU Delegation to the United States, will discuss.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

ICF to Present 2016 Fuels Outlook – ICF International will hold a webinar on Tuesday February 9th to look at the 2016 Fuels Outlook.  ICF’s Joel Bluestein will present and provide insights on how the fuel sector may trend in the new year as well as the risks and opportunities the sector presents. Topics will include the effects of continued low oil prices on North American energy production; the outlook for LNG exports and, with the lifting of the ban, crude oil exports; key drivers of natural gas demand in the near term; Investment outlook for natgas infrastructure and the implications of the Clean Power Plan.

WCEE Feature Paris Climate Discussion – The Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Tuesday February 9th at 12:00 noon to hear from four organizations about their participation in COP21, their thoughts on the agreement, and how they’re getting to work on implementation.   Speakers will include Astrid Caldas of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Jennifer Huang of Center for Climate & Energy Solutions (C2ES), Anne Kelly of Ceres and Tanya Primiani of the World Bank.

Forum to Look at Iran Oil Contracts – Next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m., the Atlantic Council will host a discussion of Iran petroleum issues and contracts.  Yeganeh Torbati of Reuters will moderate a discussion on how the new IPC differ from the current investment structure in Iran and its impacts on regions like Iraq.  The panel will feature the following renowned experts on Iran and energy: Dr. Sara Vakhshouri, Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Global Energy Center and President of SVB Energy International, Dr. Suzanne Maloney, Deputy Director of the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, and Guly Sabahi, a Partner with the energy sector team at Dentons.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th in Oak Ridge, TN. Continuing on the important work of the 2015 Advanced Reactors Technical Summit II at UMass Lowell and the inaugural 2014 Special Technical Symposium at Argonne National Laboratory, the Technical Summit III will continue the discussion on approaches for improving the cost and deployment time frame of advanced reactors. Specifically the Summit III will engage in a discussion of common ground practical ideas and concepts that have the potential of significantly accelerating advanced reactor design, deployment, and operations. The Technical Summit III features the leading advanced reactor concepts as well as key thought and policy leaders.  Speakers will include NRC Commissioner William Ostroff and DOE’s John Kotek, among many others.

ACCO to Talk with Better Buildings Director – The Association of Climate Change Officers will hold a roundtable on Wednesday February 10th at 4:30 p.m.  with Maria Vargas. Vargas is the Director of the Better Buildings Challenge at the Department of Energy. The goal of the Better Buildings Challenge is to make American buildings 20 percent more efficient by 2020. This leadership initiative involves chief executive officers, University presidents and state and local leaders that have committed to upgrading buildings across their portfolio and providing their energy savings data and strategies as models for others to follow.

RFF/EPRI to Look at GHG Modeling – Resources for the Future (RFF) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will hold a Seminar Breakfast on February 11th at 8:30 a.m. looking at Clean Power Plan Strategic Modeling.  Industry leaders, policymakers, and the public still have questions about how the Clean Power Plan will impact the mix of power generation, the interconnected grid, cross-state electricity markets, and how consumers use electricity. New modeling results from researchers at Resources for the Future and the Electric Power Research Institute provide strategic insight into these questions and more. This event is the second in RFF and EPRI’s 2016 Clean Power Plan series. Watch the video from the first event, where experts discussed formal comments to EPA on the federal plan and trading rules.

RESCHEDULED: SAFE Forum to Look at Iran, Saudi Arabia Conflict – Securing America’s Future Energy and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Capitol Hill lunch event has been rescheduled for February 12th pending speaker confirmations.  The event was to discuss the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and U.S. energy and national security interests in the region and feature  SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council member General Charles F. Wald (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), former NSC head John Hannah, former National Economic Council official Bob McNally and FP Correspondent Indira Lakshmanan.

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – On February 22, at 3:00 p.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is rescheduling its GHG briefing cancelled by the January snow storm.  The forum will be a webinar and discuss how environmental justice (EJ) is addressed through EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The panel will explore how incorporating environmental justice concerns into the Clean Power Plan’s implementation can impact vulnerable communities.  Speakers for this forum include EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali.

GEA Sets Geo Energy Showcase – The Geothermal Energy Assn will be holding its 3rd U.S. and International Geothermal Energy Showcase in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 17th at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. This year’s Showcase will focus on the building blocks for successful geothermal projects and highlight key geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and the international markets. The program will showcase geothermal projects, trends, and governmental policies in the U.S. and around the world. Topics covered will include: the geothermal market today, projects under development in the U.S. and internationally, outlook for the future of the geothermal market, policies driving geothermal development, new technologies, and federal agency support at home and abroad.

Water Power Conferences Set for DC – The all-new Waterpower Week in Washington will present three events in one, showcasing the entire world of waterpower.  The National Hydropower Association Annual Conference, International Marine Renewable Energy Conference and Marine Energy Technology Symposium will all take place at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C., April 25-27.

Energy Update: Week of January 25

Friends,

Happy Snow!!!!  Now that was a good snow storm.  But the difference between here and the North (Detroit for me) is that you usually have weeks/months of freezing cold temps and more snow still ahead of you.  Here, we had two straight days of sunny and 45 degrees following the storm, and today we are getting rain.  That should help clear some of the snow off the roads, even if the plowing isn’t quite as good as the colder climates.  Speaking of plowing, while I think Maryland did a good job, my drive (in the Volt, mind you) into the Capital today showed that DC still has a lot of catching up to do, as the downtown area remains basically gridlocked with minimal open lanes.  Thinking I might be on the MARC train/Metro for a few days.

Speaking of the storm, as the Mid-Atlantic region digs out, AHRI reminded local residents to protect their furnace vents and heat pumps by clearing piled up snow away from them:

“With a massive winter storm blasting the Nation’s Capital, it is important clear away snow and other debris that block airflow through the outdoor part of your heat pump.” said AHRI President Stephen Yurek. “We have so many things on our minds during a massive storm like this, but it is very important for those who use heat pumps to keep warm, to keep the outdoor part of their unit clear of snow.  Yurek also reminded those who have highly-efficient furnaces (those that require through-the-wall venting) to keep the vents clear of snow and ice for their safety and that of their loved ones. Failure to do so can result in a buildup of deadly carbon monoxide gas.”

With school off another day, I just had to get back to work.  And the Senate does too, launching its energy reform package tomorrow.  The legislation, a bipartisan measure that cleared committee on an 18-4 vote last year, and includes provisions pushed by both Republicans and Democrats. They include measures to expedite liquefied natural gas exports, reform federal energy programs and improve the reliability of the electric grid.  While Senate Energy Chair Lisa Murkowski said she hopes the legislation will move forward in a bipartisan manner, that may be wishful thinking in this election year.  Lots of rumors about amendments and they may take all forms from simple fixes in a manager’s amendment to off-the-wall political bombshells.  We’ll see how it plays out over the next couple weeks.

Many events are cancelled especially today and tomorrow, including the two House hearings and the Senate EPW markup/hearing.  I have provided a list of other events below but check them events before you venture out because Uber and Cabs are still up-charging I think.

Finally, if you want to think WARM, remember next week launches the Waste Management Phoenix Open.  Weather report from TPC Scottsdale says SUNNY and 70s all week.  WM launches with its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum on Tuesday, Celeb Pro-Am on Wednesday and real PGA golf starting Thursday.

Call if you have energy bill questions, need driving tips or are wondering how to prevent snow plows from covering your driveway after you’ve already shoveled it… and be safe out there.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864
(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

SCOTUS Lets FERC DR Rule Stand – The Supreme Court rejected a challenge to a FERC rule  that promotes electricity conservation, handing a big victory to environmentalists and federal power regulators.  The 6-2 decision overturned a federal appeals panel ruling and affirmed the commission’s authority to offer incentives to reduce power consumption during peak demand periods by paying large users to curb their electricity use, policies that green groups say help open the power grid up to more renewable sources like wind and solar.

Bracewell FERC Experts Weigh In – My colleagues who are FERC experts weighed in with an Energy Blog Post yesterday. They say the Court was persuaded that FERC had taken care not trample on state regulatory authority by the fact that FERC’s DR regime permitted retail purchaser’s to participate in wholesale markets only if state regulators did not forbid them from doing so. They added that although it is early to tell, this decision appears to affirm a broader view of FERC’s jurisdiction over wholesale power markets than previously understood.

NRECA Protests Ruling – NRECA expressed disappointment over the Court’s ruling.  NRECA had challenged FERC Order 745 on the grounds that the Commission overstepped its jurisdictional authority.  “For decades, co-ops have been able to save co-op member-owners millions of dollars by creating robust demand response programs. We are concerned that by giving this pricing authority squarely to FERC, the Court has diminished the ability of state public utility commissions and the cooperative and municipal boards, to protect the interest of consumers. NRECA will continue to advocate for compensation levels that benefit co-op owner-members,” said Jay Morrison, vice president of regulatory affairs.  Electric cooperatives have aggressively pursued cost savings for consumer-members by offering a wide range of demand response programs; in fact in 2012, co-ops’ share of total retail electric sales was 11%, yet they were responsible for 19% of actual peak reduction,” he added.

Segal Looks at Impact on CPP Consideration – My Bracewell colleague Scott Segal, also the director of the ERCC read the opinion and found it interesting looking for implications towards future consideration of arguments on the CPP.  Segal said the Court says there is still a substantial statutory separation between FERC’s wholesale authority and state retail rate-making and recognized demand response as an exception noting that FERC was responding to a market-developed concept that had been approved by Congress and had a consumer protection and reliability rationale.  Segal adds that is a pretty limited view.  Segal: “The Court’s reasoning should give no comfort to supporters of the Clean Power Plan.  First, CPP in no sense was developed by the market.  Far from approved by Congress, it has been roundly opposed by Congress as inconsistent with 40 years of Clean Air Act precedent.  And rather than protecting consumers and reliability, a broad consensus of impartial third parties has found that CPP will have the opposite effect.”

BLM Rolls Methane Rules Just Before Big Storm – Talk about clearing the decks… Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) proposed updates on Friday to 30-year-old natural gas emissions regulations for oil and gas operations on public and Native American lands, including a requirement that producers adopt modern techniques and equipment to limit flaring.   My expert colleague Sandra Snyder said if adopted, BLM’s regulations may have the unintended effect of deterring development on federal lands, thereby decreasing federal royalties.  The BLM rule BLM announced today rule proposes to add additional requirements to the already onerous process of obtaining an Application for Permit to Drill (APD).  Since 2010, it has taken industry on average well over 200 days to obtain an APD from BLM.  Adding additional requirements will inevitably lead to additional delays.  Moreover, she adds BLM needs to make good on its pledge to avoid redundant requirements, while also recognizing the voluntary efforts of industry to reduce emissions through the implementation of innovative technologies.  The financial benefit of capturing more of its product is not news to oil and gas production companies — they’ve been ahead of the government on this issue for quite some time.

Cabot Already Ahead of BLM Rules – As Sandra mentioned, the fact is, industry has been ahead of the curve on this for years, working diligently on its own to reduce methane emissions.  It’s both good environmental stewardship and makes sense from a business standpoint; since companies strive for efficiency, it makes sense to capture as much product as you can.  To cite one example: Cabot Oil & Gas has been achieving substantial methane emissions reductions for years. Starting back in 2011, Cabot unleashed new technological initiatives to decrease methane emissions from its operations.  The company cut methane emissions by 85% between 2011 and 2014—particularly impressive given that its natural gas production grew 250% during the same period.  A big part of the trick involves optimizing “green completions,” which means minimizing natural gas flaring during the cleanup phase after a well is completed by diverting gas into a pipeline.

IPAA Says Rule’s Timing is Bad – The IPAA said the reduction of emissions through limited venting and flaring is in the government and the industry’s best interest. Financially, no oil or natural gas producer would choose to lose valuable resources that could otherwise be sold. And when the product is sold, the U.S. treasury receives a royalty. Further, increased natural gas production and use have resulted in cleaner air for the United States. We are concerned that these new rules could create a regulatory regime that prevents the extension of the financial and important environmental benefits generated by American oil and natural gas production.  “This is the latest in the string of bad policies released by this administration showing a lack of knowledge of how the oil and gas industry truly works. Imposing these new regulations will make it more expensive and harder for independent producers to operate, reducing America’s total energy production and preventing additional receipts from going back to the US Treasury. Making matters worse, lifting the royalty rate ceiling simply leaves the door open for the federal government to increase rates on producers down the road. This will change the predictability and certainty for operators on federal lands, making it harder to plan and commit to long-term projects. With oil and natural gas prices currently at their lowest in decades, now is the worst time to raise fees on America’s independent producers.”

Court Denies Stay Request for CPP – Last Thursday, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals granted a petition for expedited briefing in the case regarding the carbon rules for the power sector, while denying the imposition of an immediate stay.  My colleague Scott Segal said the expedited briefing schedule is indicative of the seriousness with which the court is taking the case and the very substantial legal issues that need to be resolved in order to safeguard electric reliability and consumer interests.  He added a record 27 states are challenging the GHG plan, along with some 25 national and state trade associations, 39 rural cooperatives, 12 major corporations, and three labor unions with combined membership nearing one million.”

WV AG Considers SCOTUS Review on Stay Request – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey said his office will consider urging the U.S. Supreme Court to halt ongoing, irreversible harm caused by EPA’s Power Plan.  Morrisey says if left intact, the plan will lead to skyrocketing electricity bills and devastate West Virginia’s coal industry and the countless jobs depending upon its success.  “We are disappointed in today’s decision, but believe we will ultimately prevail in court,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “The court did not issue a ruling on the merits and we remain confident that our arguments will prevail as the case continues. We are pleased, however, that the court has agreed to expedite hearing the case.”

Rural Co-ops Say Stay Important to Protect Rural Consumers – NRECA also expressed deep disappointment with a court’s refusal to halt implementation of EPA’s rule. NRECA was among those that petitioned the court to stay the rule while a separate battle over its legality plays out: “Charging ahead with implementation of the Clean Power Plan will cause immediate and irreparable harm to America’s electric co-ops,” said Debbie Wing, NRECA director of media relations. “While the rule’s emission reduction requirements don’t kick in for several years, co-ops must start taking immediate costly and irreversible steps to achieve the goals set forth in the EPA’s overreaching regulations. The result will be lost jobs, economic harm to rural communities and significant electric rate increases for some of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens—families living on fixed incomes or in poverty.”

Chamber Says Expedited Review of CPP Essential – The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy, said the D.C. Circuit Court decision to expedite legal review of carbon regulations indicates that the court agrees that it is important to review the rules quickly. As the Chamber and its partners have argued all along, the rule is already hurting American businesses. The Court’s decision to deny the stay motion is about procedure. The Chamber says it looks forward to presenting our arguments to the Court as part of an expedited review process, and we will continue our efforts to halt the EPA’s unprecedented effort to restructure the American economy.

AEA: Don’t File a Plan – AEA President Thomas Pyle penned an op-ed in Morning Consult cautioning state leaders against submitting a state plan for EPA’s carbon regulation–what EPA calls the “Clean Power Plan.” EPA, environmental groups, and utilities are pressuring state leaders to submit state plans by implying that a federal plan will be much worse for their citizens. But as Pyle points out, state and federal plans are essentially the same. The only major difference is that a state plan locks citizens in to this costly regulation—even if the rule is thrown out in court—while a federal plan does not.  Click here to continue reading the op-ed.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar – After the Snow out over the weekend, the Washington Auto Show continues really launched this week.  The opening on Friday was delayed due to the weather.  The show runs through Sunday.

AHRI Forum To Highlight New Technologies – Our friends at AHRI were lucky to miss the storm by decamping to Orlando for their annual AHR Expo, an annual trade show co-sponsored by AHRI and ASHRAE. It is one of the largest industry expos, drawing over 1400 exhibitors and over 60,000 HVAC professionals.  The event focuses on highlighting advancements that address the dynamic requirements of today’s HVACR industry.  Over 80% of the Show Exhibitors are introducing new or upgraded products, systems and technologies that are being unveiled and showcased on the 2016 AHR Expo floor.  Spanning categories from indoor air quality to software, and addressing the interests of contractors, engineers, wholesalers/distributors, facility managers and owners/operators, these innovations are expected to touch every corner of interest from across the HVACR industry.

CANCELLED — House Ag to Host EPA’s McCarthy – The House Agriculture Committee hearing today on the impact of EPA regulations on the rural economy featuring EPA Chief Gina McCarthy will be rescheduled

CANCELLED – SAFE Forum to Look at Iran, Saudi Arabia Conflict – Securing America’s Future Energy and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) Capitol Hill lunch event tomorrow has been postponed to February 12th pending speaker confirmations.  The event was to discuss the rising tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and U.S. energy and national security interests in the region and feature  SAFE Energy Security Leadership Council member General Charles F. Wald (U.S. Air Force, Ret.), former NSC head John Hannah, former National Economic Council official Bob McNally and FP Correspondent Indira Lakshmanan.

NAS Social Cost of Carbon Presser – CANCELLED

Forum to Look at Paris Event – The United Nations Environment Program and the George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative will host an event tomorrow that will highlight key achievements of 2015: the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the outcomes of the recent Paris climate conference.  The event will provide an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they mean for the public and private sectors with a particular focus on implementation of the environmental dimension. It will also highlight the SDGs regarding sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change and their relevance for North America.

CANCELLED – House Oversight to Look at RFS – The House Oversight Hearing On the RFS will also be rescheduled to a Later date.

NAM State of Manufacturing Tour to Start in NH, FL – The National Association of Manufacturers, the unified voice of more than 14,000 manufacturers in the United States, will tour the country for the 2016 State of Manufacturing Tour starting tomorrow in Manchester, New Hampshire and Tampa, Florida.  See full schedule here.  NAM is showcasing modern manufacturing, highlighting the importance of manufacturing to America and laying out solutions that will create more jobs, seize global leadership and expand the circle of opportunity so wide that the American Dream is available to everyone.

Nuclear Summit Set for Newseum – Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory are partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to host a first-of-its-kind Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, DC on Wednesday at the Newseum.  In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, are developing plans for advanced nuclear reactors. The influx of ideas and investment into the advanced nuclear industry has made it a burgeoning part of the clean energy sector. The Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase builds upon the conversations sparked by the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Innovation Workshops sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory.   Along with national policymakers and influencers, the Summit will establish that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions, and that government has a vital role to play in bringing the promise of the sector to reality.

CSIS to Look at GHG plan – Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2016. The expert panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year.  John Larsen, Director with the Rhodium Group and Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, will highlight recent analysis from the CSIS-Rhodium Group study regarding emissions impacts and preview forthcoming work on energy sector impacts of the rule. Kathryn Zyla, Deputy Director with the Georgetown Climate Center, will give an overview of the approaches being considered by various states and the issues that matter most to their decision making. Kyle Danish, Partner with VanNess Feldman LLP, will discuss legal challenges to the CPP and the likely timeframe and pathways for resolving those challenges. Emily Holden, ClimateWire Reporter with E&E Publishing, will provide additional perspective on the various state, regional, and congressional issues that are important to watch this year.

ELI Book Forum to Tackle Coal Grandfather Issue – On Wednesday at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will host a book forum to anti-coal lawyer Richard Revesz.  In their forthcoming book, “Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the ‘War on Coal’”, Revesz and Jack Lienke detail the history of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the political compromises that led to exempting existing power plants, many of which are coal-fired, from significant portions of the CAA’s regulatory authority. ELI will feature an expert panel with Revesz, Lienke,, Bill Bumpers, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, and former EPA Air Administrator Bill Rosenberg as they discuss the environmental implications of the Clean Power Plan and the ramifications of grandfathering. Hear Professor Revesz and other experts in the field discuss to what degree the Clean Power Plan really reduces pollution, and the interaction between grandfathering and pollution reduction

RFF to Look at FIP, Trading on GHG Plan – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. on the federal implementation plan and model trading rules. The comments, due January 21, 2016, give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the challenges and opportunities for state implementation of the carbon dioxide emissions guidelines for power plants.  RFF will be joined by EPRI for a special seminar focusing on a diverse set of stakeholder comments on how the federal implementation plan and model trading rules might impact the electric power sector.  This is the first event in the RFF/EPRI 2016 Clean Power Plan Seminar Series. The next event, on February 11, will highlight modeling results of how the Clean Power Plan impacts various states and regions. Speakers will include NRDC’s Ben Longstreth, EPRI’s Vic Niemeyer, RFF’s Karen Palmer and AEP’s Resource Planning Managing Director Scott Weaver.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Forum to Look at Low Oil Prices, Middle East Impacts – The Atlantic Council’s Global Energy Center will host a panel discussion on Thursday at 9:00 a.m. looking at the impact of low oil prices in the Middle East. The collapse in crude oil prices since mid-2014 has shaken the foundation of global energy markets, with sweeping economic and political implications for the Middle East. Amidst falling oil revenues, governments from the Gulf to Iraq and beyond face fiscal crises, market upheaval, disruption of traditional ways of doing business, challenges to longstanding fuel subsidy programs, and slumping economic growth. In the midst of this volatile landscape, energy producers in the region face an uncertain future that will have ramifications in the years to come.  Our friend Jamie Webster of IHS will be among the speakers.

Senate Energy to Explore Innovative Nuclear Technologies – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.

Battery Storage 101 Features ESA, Tesla – On Friday at 1:00 p.m., the Battery Energy Storage Caucus and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus will hold a “Battery Energy Storage 101 and Introduction to the Battery Storage Industry” briefing.  The future of renewables comes in a battery. Companies across the country are developing batteries for home storage connected to solar panels, grid scale storage and automobiles. From Tesla’s lithium ion battery Gigafactory in Nevada to Michigan-based Sakti3 which is commercializing a high-energy density battery, the storage revolution is upon us.  The event will discuss how exactly battery energy storage works with the Energy Storage Association and learn what leaders in the industry are doing in the grid side application of storage to make our grid more secure and cost effective.

FUTURE EVENTS

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Panel to Look at Geoengineering – Next Monday, February 1st at 12:15 p.m., Future Tense New America will hold a book lunch on Geoengineering and how it could change the world.  Geoengineering is the deliberate hacking of Earth’s climate and might be one of the most promising potential responses to climate change, especially in the absence of significant carbon emission reductions. It’s also one of the most controversial.  In his new book, “The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World,” Oliver Morton argues that the risks of climate change merit serious action. According to Morton, geoengineering is not a simple or singular solution to the problem, but it is worth exploring, even if it’s never actually deployed.

Wilson Forum to Look at Middle East Oil Price Equation – The Wilson Center’s Middle East Program will host a forum next Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. on the implications of the collapse of oil prices for the Middle East.  The collapse of the oil prices has shocked both producers and consumers worldwide. As the most important producing region of the world, the Middle East has been particularly affected; state revenues are down, and cutthroat competition for market share and low global demand translates into greater challenges and uncertainty. The regional economic outlook is unclear, and questions remain about the potential long-term impact of sustained low oil prices. Three experts will analyze the geopolitical and financial aspects of the sharp decline in oil prices on both importing and exporting countries in the Middle East.

WCEE Forum with FERC ALJs – The Women’s Council on Energy & Environment will host a Litigation Roundtable next Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. with the women Administrative Law Judges at FERC and EPA. The Judges will discuss why and how they became Administrative Law Judges, interesting developments in their careers, who mentored them along the way and how they have mentored others, and share the dos and don’ts regarding hearings and settlement conferences.

Jacobson to Address Anti-Nuclear Group – The anti-nuclear group NIRS will hold a tele-briefing next Tuesday on “Paris and the path forward to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy future.  As if there is one…  The discussion will feature controversial advocate/academic Mark Jacobson of Stanford and IEER’s Arjun Makhijani, both of who will explain what the climate agreement achieved and what its implications are for our energy future and nuclear power here in the U.S.

BPC Event to Look at Energy Innovation – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 8:30 a.m. at the Liaison Capitol Hill Hotel, the American Energy Innovation Council of the BPC will hold an event that will examine the rationale and implications of expanding federal support for energy innovation. The first panel will explore the economic impact of federal investments in energy innovation, focusing on how these investments can best leverage additional investments and ensure America’s competitive advantage in a rapidly evolving global energy marketplace. Phil Giudice, CEO at Ambri, will join to discuss how his grid storage company is working to develop transformative innovations in energy storage. A second panel will review new, collaborative institutional models that are working to create better bridges across the “valleys of death,” while aligning public and private sector priorities. ARPA-E Director Ellen Williams and our friends Kevin Kolevar of Dow Chemical and author Steve LeVine,

Forum to Discuss Transformations in Energy Technology – On Wednesday, February 3rd at 9:00 a.m., the Atlantic Council will host a panel discussion reflecting on BP’s Technology Outlook and its insights on how we may identify, extract, store, and ultimately consume our energy. The event will feature a presentation and panel with David Eyton, Head of Technology at BP, and Melanie Kenderdine, Director of the Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis at the Department of Energy and Energy Counselor to Secretary Moniz.

NAS Hosts Meeting on Domestic Transportation of Petroleum, NatGas, Ethanol – On February 4th  and 5th, the National Academies of Science will host a meeting on domestic transportation of fuels.  Given a number of recent events, look for a candid discussion of potential policies.

Sustainable Energy Factbook Release – For the fourth year in a row, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) & the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) have produced the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, which provides the latest industry information and trends from the energy efficiency, natural gas & renewable energy sectors in the United States. On Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 p.m., a panel of executives from BCSE member companies and analysts from BNEF will discuss why 2015 was a watershed year for the US clean energy economy,

WCEE Feature World Bank Expert on Green Bonds – The Women’s Council On Energy and the Environment will host a forum on Thursday, February 4th at 12:00 noon on Green Bonds featuring World Bank expert Akiko Nakagawa. Nakagawa shares her work on developing and supervising projects financed through green bonds as well as how these bonds are placed in the climate negotiation’s context.  Laura Tlaiye will explain the requirements of green bond eligible projects and how bonds are structured.

Woolsey to Headline Lecture – On Friday, February 5th at 5:30 p.m., the Institute of World Politics will host the third Brian Kelley Memorial Lecture on the topic of “Energy Security in the 21st Century.”  The year’s lecture will feature Ambassador R. James Woolsey, Former Director of Central Intelligence.  Woolsey has been one of the most prominent analysts of national security issues, as well as energy policy. He has been a proponent of US energy independence and the protection of major infrastructure vulnerabilities, such as our electric grid upon which everything in our civilization depends.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th in Oak Ridge, TN. Continuing on the important work of the 2015 Advanced Reactors Technical Summit II at UMass Lowell and the inaugural 2014 Special Technical Symposium at Argonne National Laboratory, the Technical Summit III will continue the discussion on approaches for improving the cost and deployment time frame of advanced reactors. Specifically the Summit III will engage in a discussion of common ground practical ideas and concepts that have the potential of significantly accelerating advanced reactor design, deployment, and operations. The Technical Summit III features the leading advanced reactor concepts as well as key thought and policy leaders.  Speakers will include NRC Commissioner William Ostroff and DOE’s John Kotek, among many others.

Energy Update: Week of January 19

Friends,

As we prep for the “massive” snow headed toward the East Coast (hurry up and rush out to get your bread and milk) we should remember that it is winter.  Regardless, stay tuned and we’ll be ready to report to you next week regardless of the weather.

Keeping it short this week because I’m still on a birthday downer.  As I get older, I just see it as another day, but I feel really humbled and blessed by all the folks who took a minute out of their day to wish me well over the weekend.  Thanks for that.  Presents:  A great new USA Field Hockey pullover for umpiring and a new visor for my Hockey helmet.  Can’t ask for more than that…other than a few more grants to help pay for Hannah’s Wellesley tuition this summer.

We are two weeks away from Iowa votes and it is getting really busy including tomorrow’s annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.  The Nation’s mayors are in DC this week for the 84th Winter Meeting so you can expect to hear about climate actions and other energy issues.

Meantime, the Senate returns this week while the House returns next .  A couple of good hearings in Senate Energy  this week with EIA’s Adam Sieminski and our friend Jim Lucier on Energy markets today and Thursday experts on auto innovations.  Tomorrow, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee digs into Iran issues following the weekend’s moves on sanctions and swapping prisoners.  We can cover a lot of issues from human rights to Iran oil issues, so please let us know.

Off the Hill, FTC holds a panel this morning on emerging trends in the auto industry, such as car-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, which will feature SAFE CEO Robbie Diamond following the DOT announcements last week for $4B self-driving car pilot projects over a 10-year span.

Kudos to Rep./Dr. Phil Sharp, RFF President and former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, who will receive the second Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security from Energy Secretary Moniz tomorrow at 10:30 a.m.  Cato holds a forum at 11:00 a.m. on GMOs and the future of the global food supply and medical innovations.  And the Washington Auto Show also launches it policy day on Capitol Hill that will explore how technology is making our nation’s roads and vehicles safer and infrastructure smarter and transforming the way we live, work and travel featuring Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and our friend Joe White of ThomsonReuters.   Media day will be Thursday.

Also on Thursday, US Energy Assn hosts its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.

Finally, on Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at the Wilson Center will hold its 4th annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016.

Call if you have questions and are not snowed in…

Best,

Frank Maisano
(202) 828-5864
(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Industry, Advocates Reach Agreement on AC Efficiency Standard – Industry and efficiency advocates reached an agreement last week on a new energy efficiency rule for residential central air-conditioners and heat pumps. The deal will save around 2.8 quadrillion Btu over the 30-year life of the new standard (for reference, the U.S. consumed about 97 quads in 2011). The previous version was finalized in 2011 and the Energy Department is required to complete a new standard for the equipment by June 2017 or state that one isn’t economically justified given current technology. But in an effort to keep the rule on schedule, DOE organized a negotiated rulemaking process last year between industry and advocates. While the agreement is a big deal, other approvals are needed and DOE still has to turn the details into a proposed rule.

White House Proposes $4B for Self-Driving Cars – In an announcement at the Detroit Auto Show, Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx says the 2017 budget proposal will include $4B for self-driving car pilot projects over a 10-year span. Among other things, the funds would cover a program to test self-driving cars on technologically advanced roads.  To encourage tests, the DOT also plans to make up to 2,500 self-driving cars exempt from some proposed safety rules for up to two years, and to work with state governments to create state regulations for autonomous vehicles.  Remember, last year in October, there was a NPC Newsmaker on the topic that including Google advisor and former GM exec Larry Burns, Domino’s Pizza EVP Lynn Liddle and Robbie Diamond, President of SAFE, who respectively spoke to the implications of driverless cars for the business community and the opportunity to reduce America’s dependence on oil.  SAFE also formed an Autonomous Vehicle Task Force, a group of leading experts that are guiding action plans to facilitate the widespread deployment of this transformative technology.

SAFE CEO Says DOT Regs Good Start – In response to DOT Secretary Foxx’s announcement of pending regulations on driverless and connected cars, SAFE President and CEO Robbie Diamond said the United States is crossing the threshold into the largest transformation in transportation since the invention of the automobile. Diamond: “Driverless, connected cars will save lives, reducing road fatalities by 90 percent. They will also encourage the mass deployment of electric vehicles and lessen America’s dependence on oil through improved fuel efficiency, diversity and drastically different ownership models.   With the government setting aside $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to put the rubber to the road, it demonstrates the need to test and prove this technology immediately on public streets. This does not, however, need to be a large, expensive government program. Any future rules at the national or state level should be minimal until proven necessary to give businesses the space to continue their investment in transportation innovation. Accelerating driverless vehicle technology will reduce fatalities and injuries, drastically lower healthcare costs, offer more fuel choice, cut congestion, and give mobility to millions of people who currently have none due to age or disability.”  We can find you great resources on this topic, so please let me know if you are covering it.

Solar Jobs Expanding – The Solar Foundation released its highly anticipated jobs report, which found that the U.S. solar industry employed about 209,000 people last year.  SF’s National Solar Jobs Census 2015 is the 6th annual update of current employment, trends and projected growth in the U.S. solar industry. Census 2015 found that the industry continues to exceed growth expectations, adding workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy and accounting for 1.2% of all jobs created in the U.S. over the past year. Our long-term research shows that solar industry employment has grown by 123% in the past six years, resulting in nearly 115,000 domestic living-wage jobs.  The solar workforce is larger than the oil and gas extraction industry, which shed 13,800 jobs in 2015 and now employs 187,200 people. The oil and gas pipeline construction industry, which employs 129,500 workers, lost 9,500 jobs (U.S. BLS) during the same period. The solar industry is already three times larger than the coal-mining industry, which employs 67,929 people (JobsEQ 2015Q3). Solar employers surveyed expect to add more than 30,000 jobs over the next 12 months. The expected increase of 14.7% would bring the count of U.S. solar workers to 239,625 by the end of 2016.

Foundation Awards Scholarships to HVACR Students, Veterans – The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr., Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), today announced $60,500 in scholarship funds to 35 students, including five veterans, studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry.  The awards are for qualified and dedicated students that are pursuing careers in the HVACR and water heating industry that can help close the employment and skills gaps, according to AHRI CEO Steve Yurek.   Since the Rees Scholarship Foundation was founded in 2003, it has awarded almost $440,000 in scholarships to more than 250 deserving students and instructors. For a list of past scholarship recipients, click here.   The Rees Scholarship Foundation was established to assist with the recruitment and competency of future HVACR and water heating technicians by awarding scholarships to qualified students enrolled in an institutionally accredited school. Eligible students must be preparing for a career in either residential or light commercial air conditioning, heating, or water heating, or commercial refrigeration.

Murkowski, Faison Set Marker for Republican Climate Energy – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski and a conservative clean-energy advocate say there is vast untapped potential for hydropower across the country in a New York Times op-ed that ran last week. Murkowski and Jay Faison call on the president to back the energy bill for its hydropower provisions. Murkowski and Faison say they “believe climate change is a threat, and appreciate [Obama’s] offer to collaborate.” They argue that the president should back the energy bill because it clears away bureaucratic red tape that slows the growth of hydropower, a zero-emission power source that faces opposition from environmentalists and a costly relicensing process.

DOE Awards Southern to Grant to Lead Advanced Nuclear Tech Development – Southern Company was awarded up to $40 million from DOE to explore, develop and demonstrate advanced nuclear reactor technologies through subsidiary Southern Company Services.  The effort will be managed through a new public-private partnership with TerraPower, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Electric Power Research Institute and Vanderbilt University. Housed at the DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the research will bolster the development of molten chloride fast reactors (MCFR), an advanced concept for nuclear generation.  Researchers believe MCFRs could provide enhanced operational performance, safety, security and economic value, relative to other advanced reactor concepts. The MCFR project is one of two DOE cost-shared advanced reactor concept development projects awarded $6 million in 2016, with an opportunity for $40 million each in total funding over multiple years.  A long-standing proponent of nuclear power, Southern Company – through its subsidiaries – is the only electric utility in America today developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including being one of the first to build new nuclear units in more than 30 years. The company is building the two new nuclear units at subsidiary Georgia Power’s Plant Vogtle, which are expected to provide enough emission-free generation to power 500,000 homes and businesses.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Rolls On – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) continues this week in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview today and tomorrow. Last week was press week and to see a the full 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule look under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Food, Energy, Water Conference Set –The Food-Energy-Water Nexus conference will be held today and tomorrow at the Hyatt at Reagan National Airport.  The conference will feature 1,200 other leaders in science, technology, government, business, civil society, and education to create strategies and initiatives that transform ideas into action.

EIA Head to Discuss Energy Markets at Senate Energy – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing this morning to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.  EIA’s Adam Sieminski will testify along with several others including our friends Jim Lucier of Capital Alpha Partners and Ethan Zindler of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

SAFE CEO, Others to Join FTC Forum –The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will host a one-day workshop today to explore competition and related issues in the U.S. auto distribution system, including how consumers and businesses may be affected by state regulations and emerging trends in the industry. The event will take place in Washington, D.C. at the FTC’s Constitution Center Auditorium.  The January workshop will focus primarily on exploring the competition issues arising from state level regulation of auto distribution.  It also will explore emerging trends in the auto industry, such as car-sharing, connected cars, and autonomous vehicles, with a focus on how those trends will affect the current regulatory system that governs the auto industry.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Markets – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing today to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.

Heritage to Look at Western Lands – The Heritage Foundation holds a discussion today at Noon on rethinking Federal Management of Western Lands. Utah House Speaker Gregory H. Hughes will be the main speaker.

Forum to Look at GMOs – Cato will hold a forum tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. on GMOs and the future of the global food supply and medical innovations.  The event will feature Monsanto’s  Robert Fraley, North Carolina State’s  Jennifer Kuzma and Marian Tupy, Editor of  www.humanprogress.org.   For thousands of years, farmers used selective breeding to produce more plentiful harvests and increase the usefulness of domesticated animals. Today, genetic engineering allows businesses to do the same—but more cheaply, precisely and speedily. Unbeknownst to most people, the use of genetically modified organisms is not limited to agriculture. GMO technology is all around us, helping to produce life-enhancing products, such as synthetic insulin, and life-saving medicines, such as cancer-fighting Avastin. Still, controversy surrounding GMOs persists. Join us to hear our two distinguished speakers discuss the risks and benefits associated with GMO science.

Energy to Hold Appliance Efficiency Meeting –  DOE and its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy will hold a meeting of the Appliance Standards and Rulemaking Federal Advisory Committee Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Moniz to Present Schlesinger Energy Medal – On Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., Energy Secretary Moniz will present the “Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security,”  at Forrestal.  The James R. Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security honors an individual’s distinguished contributions to advancing our understanding of the threats, opportunities and energy policy choices impacting the domestic and international energy security interests of the United States through analysis, policy or practice.   The first Medal was given to Daniel Yergin on October 1, 2014, the 37th anniversary of the Energy Department’s formal opening in 1977.  Wednesday, Dr. Phil Sharp, President of Resources for the Future and former U.S. Congressman from Indiana, will receive the second Schlesinger Medal for Energy Security .

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar – The Washington Auto Show also launches it policy day on Capitol Hill that will explore how technology is making our nation’s roads and vehicles safer and infrastructure smarter and transforming the way we live, work and travel featuring Michigan Sen. Gary Peters and our friend Joe White of ThomsonReuters.   Media Day will be Thursday.

Forum to Look at Climate, Food Security – The American Meteorological Society the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America will hold a briefing on climate change and food security in Russell 485 at 3:00 p.m.

Senate Energy to Look at Auto Tech innovations – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday to examine the status of innovative technologies within the automotive industry. Witnesses for Thursday include DOE’s David Friedman, AAMA’s Mitch Bainwol, Electric Drive Transportation Association President Genevieve Cullen, NREL’s Transportation and Hydrogen Systems Center Director Chris Gearhart and Xavier Mosquet of the Boston Consulting Group.

USEA Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will host its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday at Noon in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.  Speakers will include NEI’s Marvin Fertel, API’s Jack Gerard, APPA’s Susan Kelly, EEI’s Tom Kuhn, AGA’s Dave McCurdy, NMA’s Hal Quinn, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AFPM’s Chet Thompson and INGAA’s Don Santa among others.

Brookings Expert to Look at Climate Economics – Brookings Institution Climate and Energy Economics Project Director Adele Morris delivers remarks at a National Economists Club luncheon on Thursday at Noon in Chinatown Garden Restaurant.  Morris will focus on climate change economics and policy.

Forum to Look at African Energy Finance – On Thursday afternoon, the US Africa Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum on the future of energy investment in Africa. The event will explore a variety of deep-dive topics related to energy investment and development in Africa, and will host attendance from both major players in various energy markets on the continent, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) currently operating within the energy sector in Africa and the U.S. See below for the panel schedule.

Green Car Journal to Announce Winner at Auto ShowGreen Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on Thursday . Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

Forum to Look at Energy, Russia Relations – The Wilson Center will hold a forum on Friday at 10:00 a.m. on how energy/environment issues impact prospects for U.S.-Russia Relations.

EPRI’s Tyrant to Address Grid Issues – On Friday at Noon at Carmines, the US Assn of Energy Economists will host Barbara Tyran of EPRI at its monthly lunch to discuss grid interconnect issues.  Tyran is the principal liaison between EPRI executive management, and Congress, the Administration, the national trade associations, the national leadership of the state public utility commissions, state legislators/regulators, and the Washington energy community.

SEJ, Wilson to Look at 2016 Enviro Issues – On Friday at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at Wilson will hold its fourth annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016. Jessica Coomes, deputy news director at Bloomberg BNA, will present Bloomberg BNA’s Environment Outlook 2016, followed by a panel discussion featuring leading journalists from National Geographic, Huffington Post, Bloomberg BNA, Environment & Energy Daily, and more to be confirmed.  Speakers will Include our friends Meaghan Parker, Jeff  Burnside and Doug Fischer.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Enviro Justice Issues in GHG Plan – Next Monday at 11:00 a.m., the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing discussing how environmental justice (EJ) is addressed through EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The panel will explore how incorporating environmental justice concerns into the Clean Power Plan’s implementation can impact vulnerable communities.  Speakers for this forum include EPA Senior Advisor to the Administrator for Environmental Justice Mustafa Ali.

GU Group to Look at Paris Results – Georgetown’s Mortara Center for International Studies will hold a forum on next Tuesday to assess COP 21’s results.  The panel will feature GU Prof Featuring Joanna Lewis, Vicki Arroyo, Executive Director of the Georgetown Climate Center and students Norah Berk, SFS ’15 and Alexandra Donovan, SFS ’17.

Forum to Look at Paris Event – The United Nations Environment Program and the George Washington University Sustainability Collaborative will host an event on Wednesday January 27th that will highlight key achievements of 2015: the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the outcomes of the recent Paris climate conference.  The event will provide an overview of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they mean for the public and private sectors with a particular focus on implementation of the environmental dimension. It will also highlight the SDGs regarding sustainable cities, sustainable consumption and production, and climate change and their relevance for North America.

Nuclear Summit Set for Newseum – Third Way and the Idaho National Laboratory are partnering with Argonne National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to host a first-of-its-kind Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase in Washington, Dc on Wednesday January 27th at the Newseum.  In North America, 48 companies, backed by more than $1.6 billion in private capital, are developing plans for advanced nuclear reactors. The influx of ideas and investment into the advanced nuclear industry has made it a burgeoning part of the clean energy sector. The Advanced Nuclear Summit and Showcase builds upon the conversations sparked by the White House Summit on Nuclear Energy and the Nuclear Innovation Workshops sponsored by the Idaho National Laboratory.   Along with national policymakers and influencers, the Summit will establish that there is a robust advanced nuclear sector being developed by private companies and research institutions, and that government has a vital role to play in bringing the promise of the sector to reality.

CSIS to Look at GHG plan – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the CSIS Energy and National Security Program is hosting a discussion on the future of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) in 2016. The expert panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year.  John Larsen, Director with the Rhodium Group and Senior Associate with the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, will highlight recent analysis from the CSIS-Rhodium Group study regarding emissions impacts and preview forthcoming work on energy sector impacts of the rule. Kathryn Zyla, Deputy Director with the Georgetown Climate Center, will give an overview of the approaches being considered by various states and the issues that matter most to their decision making. Kyle Danish, Partner with VanNess Feldman LLP, will discuss legal challenges to the CPP and the likely timeframe and pathways for resolving those challenges. Emily Holden, ClimateWire Reporter with E&E Publishing, will provide additional perspective on the various state, regional, and congressional issues that are important to watch this year.

ELI Book Forum to Tackle Coal Grandfather Issue – On Wednesday, January 27th at Noon, the Environmental Law Institute will host a book forum to anti-coal lawyer Richard Revesz.  In their forthcoming book, “Struggling for Air: Power Plants and the ‘War on Coal’”, Revesz and Jack Lienke detail the history of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and the political compromises that led to exempting existing power plants, many of which are coal-fired, from significant portions of the CAA’s regulatory authority. ELI will feature an expert panel with Revesz, Lienke,, Bill Bumpers, NRDC’s Dave Doniger, and former EPA Air Administrator Bill Rosenberg as they discuss the environmental implications of the Clean Power Plan and the ramifications of grandfathering. Hear Professor Revesz and other experts in the field discuss to what degree the Clean Power Plan really reduces pollution, and the interaction between grandfathering and pollution reduction

RFF to Look at FIP, Trading on GHG Plan – Resources for the Future will hold a forum on Wednesday, January 27th at 12:30 p.m. on the federal implementation plan and model trading rules. The comments, due January 21, 2016, give stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the challenges and opportunities for state implementation of the carbon dioxide emissions guidelines for power plants.  RFF will be joined by EPRI for a special seminar focusing on a diverse set of stakeholder comments on how the federal implementation plan and model trading rules might impact the electric power sector.  This is the first event in the RFF/EPRI 2016 Clean Power Plan Seminar Series. The next event, on February 11, will highlight modeling results of how the Clean Power Plan impacts various states and regions. Speakers will include NRDC’s Ben Longstreth, EPRI’s Vic Niemeyer, RFF’s Karen Palmer and AEP’s Resource Planning Managing Director Scott Weaver.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, January 27th, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Senate Energy to Explore Innovative Nuclear Technologies – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday January 28th to examine the status of innovative technologies within the nuclear industry.

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Wind Summit to Look at Finance, Investment – Infocast is holding its annual Wind Power Finance & Investment Summit February 9-11 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego.   Now that the PTC question has been settled, the Summit will focus on the critical issues and opportunities for the wind industry, including the impacts of EPA’s Clean Power Plan on Wind, long-term outlook for natural gas prices, the outlook for tax equity and debt and many other topics.

Nuclear Innovation Conference Set – The Energy Innovation Reform Project and Oak Ridge will hold a nuclear innovation conference on February 10 and 11th in Oak ridge, TN.

Energy Update: Week of January 11

Friends,

Tough lead today with the loss of the innovative and iconic rock legend David Bowie who passed away last night after an 18-month battle with cancer.   Ground control to Major Tom, your circuits dead, there’s something wrong…Can you hear me Major Tom???

The loss is especially difficult for those who have followed Bowie through his Changes that crossed generational and economic spectrums.  Only if We could steal time…Just for one day.  Either way, there’s a Starman waiting in the sky.

All the way from Washington, You want the Young Americans to say the energy week starts with the President’s final  State of the Union address tomorrow night.  We expect a heavy dose of general platitudes and self-congrats on the Paris agreement and the domestic implementation piece: the Administration’s GHG rules.  We don’t expect a lot of specific policy focus in spite of having a solar advocates sitting with the first lady in the President’s box.

Congress also joins the fight with action this week with a more Congressional Review Act action focused on limiting EPA’s controversial and currently blocked-by-the-court Waters of the United States rule.  The House will take up the STREAM Act which .Finally, if you follow energy efficiency (as I SO do) a House Energy panel will look at legislation that will redefine certain energy efficiency rules for DOE.  Tomorrow, the House Science Committee will mark up bipartisan legislation intended to boost public and private research on advanced nuclear reactor technologies.

The biggest event this week is the US Chamber’s annual “State of American Business” address on Thursday at 9:30 a.m. featuring  Chamber President Tom Donohue perspective/policies on the economy and energy issues.  Wednesday has three great events with WCEE looking at hydraulic fracturing (in light of last week’s SAB draft report), our friend Sam Thernstrom’s  Energy Innovation Reform Project briefing/discussion of the future of nuclear power and the World Resources Institute’s 2016 Stories to Watch.  Finally, Thursday, Bloomberg First-Word Energy editor Mark Drajem joins BGov analysts Loren Duggan, Adam Schank and Danielle Parnass for a free webinar tackling key energy issues and other questions.

Remember to mark your calendars for next week’s USEA 12th annual State of Energy event on Thursday, January 21st and Friday’s annual SEJ/Wilson Center forum on environment and energy stories for 2016.  And remember just three weeks to the Greenest Show on Grass: The Waste Management Phoenix Open, a PGA event which always includes a great environmental policy forum.

Finally, in case you missed it last week, we are resending our top issue for 2016 for your review.  Tell us you thoughts are let us know what issues we may have missed.

Enjoy tonight’s big game…let’s hope it’s as exciting as the Valero Alamo Bowl, perhaps the only really fun game of a drab Bowl season.   Perhaps more fun:  Watching hockey given Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin hit the 500 goal mark (in just 801 games) yesterday against Ottawa.

We can beat them, forever and ever…  We can be heroes, just for one day.   Don’t forget the National Press Club Event on Paris and utilities with Tom Friedman, Tom Kuhn, and SAFE’s Robbie Diamond starting right about now.  As usual, call with questions…

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932

 

IN THE NEWS

Journal Study Says Climate Could Limit Water Use at Power Plants – A new study from an Austrian research center says climate change could lead to significant declines in electricity production in coming decades as water resources are disrupted.  Hydropower stations and thermoelectric plants, which depend on water to generate energy, together contribute about 98% of the world’s electricity production, said the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.  Shifts in water temperatures, or the availability of fresh water due to climate change, could lead to reductions in electricity production capacity in more than two thirds of the world’s power plants between 2040 and 2069.

House Moves on Regulation Reforms – With regulations a major focus in the President’s last year in office, the House passed legislation aimed at reducing unnecessary and burdensome regulations.  The bill would establish the Retrospective Regulatory Review Commission, a group that would review federal regulations, especially those with an estimated annual cost of $100 million or more, and advise Congress on the potential repeal of regulations that have excessive costs and place unnecessary burdens on those regulated. Smith said the outsized growth of burdensome regulations has created the need for a special group to study regulatory reductions that “make government smaller, more efficient, and accountable” to its citizens. The vote was 245 to 174.

SAB Questions Continue – The EPA’s Science Advisory Board criticized its conclusion that there’s no evidence the gas drilling leaves “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water,” saying it didn’t reflect noted “uncertainties and data limitations.”  The SAB released 133-page draft report late last week that said the EPA’s previous report could be improved.   The report questions the “clarity and adequacy” of the EPA draft report and says EPA “needs to do a better job of recognizing the importance of local impacts” from fracking.  SAB cites Dimock, Pavilion and Parker County as examples where the local community makes claims regarding localized impacts.  Finally, with respect to the “no widespread, systemic” language, SAB said the phrase “does not reflect the uncertainties and data limitations” that is well expressed elsewhere in the EPA draft report.

Segal Challenges SAB Approach – My Bracewell & Giuliani colleague Scott Segal, who testified before the SAB and has decades of experience representing a number of oil and gas producers, said as someone who participated in the SAB process, “I can confirm that reviewers were presented with no new information that challenges the finding in the EPA draft report of no ‘widespread’ or ‘systemic’ contamination resulting from natural gas development.  The SAB panel did hear a parade of anecdotal statements, many of which came from plaintiffs in active litigation.  By contrast, the SAB panel had before it conclusions from the National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, MIT, GAO, the Groundwater Protection Council, and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission – all largely supportive of the claim that contamination is neither widespread or systemic, just as EPA’s Draft Assessment found.  The experts at EPA’s Office of Research and Development should not let largely discredited, anecdotal or litigation-inspired evidence stand in the way of conclusions based on scientific consensus.”

Top 10 Issues In 2016

  • We’ll Always Have Paris – In December, nations agreed to a next step climate approach.  While hailed as a breakthrough, it is clearly not the historic agreement many advocates had hoped for.  In fact, it appears to be another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than they would ever have found remotely acceptable.  Nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.   How this plays out this year globally will determine whether this is a turning point or the same old, same old.  Another test for the Administration’s position will be regarding the funding requests for the UN’s Green Climate Fund. While Congress has already hit the funding several times, it remains controversial especially as the developing world waits to be “Shown the Money” following Paris.
  • Legal Eagles for CPP Year – The linchpin to meeting Paris and addressing climate change for the Administration is centered around its Clean Power Plan, which regulates GHGs and requires existing power plants to slash their carbon emissions by 2030. Almost 30 states and a wide array of industry groups have challenged the rule, claiming EPA doesn’t have the legal authority to enact it.  Arguments will center around the contention that Congress never gave EPA the authority to encourage emission control methods outside the fence line of a power plant, such as forcing increased renewables.  They will also challenge regulating power plants under Section 111(d) after they already regulated them under Section 112, which covers hazardous air pollutants.  Also look for Rural Co-ops to weigh heavily in to the legal battle as they have a very strong case for being aggrieved the most by the rules.  Lots to do on this with key dates set for early this year and folks like my colleague Jeff Holmstead ready to discuss at any point.
  • Politics All The Time – As we progress through 2016, we will be under a full slate of political action starting this month in Iowa where the first-in-the-nation votes are well underway.  This year-long sweep will keep a target on the back of candidates, parties, Congress and President Obama for every little political move and its meaning.  It also will likely clear the Congressional schedule some time around mid-March or April to focus on theme legislating and political campaigning – always a dangerous time for both Congress and the Administration.    Who is standing at the end of the day on November 2nd remains a mystery, today but the road will be loud, twisting and bumpy.
  • Regs, Regs and More Regs – It is 2016…the last year of President Obama’s time in office.  And like with any end of a second-term President, expect a full regulatory dump.  While most are looking at gun safety, e-cigarettes and other social regs, the energy and enviro side will see the same barrage.  Already, DOE is pounding the pavement to rush out over 20-plus efficiency regulations that will tie appliance and HVAC industries in knots trying to comply.  Other key regulations like Methane from gas drilling, Federal land fracturing regs, tougher Ozone rules, a battle of EPA Water of the US rules and more individual climate rules will all be a part of the year-long sweep.   Many industry and regulatory watchdogs are on guard, but the sheer volume of the effort masked in the President election may allow some to side through.
  • Expanding the Innovation Agenda – Last year was a great year for the innovation agenda.  It picked up extra steam not only in our national labs but also with private companies investing millions in the effort.  Southern Company was the prime example promoting several bold and innovative individual  technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass and new generation nuclear.  They also started an innovation center to house the creative outcomes of its workforce.  We also saw its emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  • Ozon‘ing Out – The Ozone/NAAQS instantly become one of the biggest political and policy fights of 2015 when the White House/EPA announced it would roll out a standard at 70 ppb.  Last year we predicted that the  Administration had only so much political capital at its disposal and it made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  Given the state and industry pushback and the symbolic Keystone victory the White House gave to enviros, the Administration clearly didn’t have the bandwidth to sustain a tougher ozone rule, especially as we venture into an election year.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will still say the current EPA plan is unrealistic and enviros have already filed suited calling for 60 ppb.  Just before Christmas both sides hammered EPA with lawsuits.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NAM are the loudest industry voices complaining that imposing new standards make no sense when many communities haven’t even complied with previous ozone reduction levels.  This battle will play out in the election year where state and local officials end up playing an oversized role since  they are impacted the most.
  • RFS, Ethanol: Same Old Sad Song – The disaster known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) continued last year with EPA finalizing its long-awaited rule in early December.  The original law establishing the RFS set in place an increasing level of use for ethanol expressed in terms of actual volume numbers.  As time has gone by, however, the actual total gasoline fuel pool has declined due to more efficient autos, more mass transit, and even electric cars.  As a result, the volume number – if EPA fails to adjust it downward – will exceed 10% by volume of gasoline.  But above that level, autos have significant performance issues.  The ethanol folks want the continued higher growth; fuel makers and consumers are queasy about the higher numbers.  There is little environmental case for higher ethanol use any more, especially as commercial   second-gen biofuels remain elusive.  Indeed, major enviro groups like EWG have produced studies showing the higher levels are actually worse for carbon emissions when the ethanol lifecycle is taken into account. It is likely the RFS won’t be repealed, but a wholesale revision is closer to a reality that ever.  Now, Congress will be expected to once again roll up its sleeves on a bipartisan basis and amend the law to a more functioning workable approach.
  • Crude exports, Iran: Catching the Garbage Truck? – The year–end budget deal achieved a goal of many in the oil industry and Congress to remove the decades-old ban of crude exports.  Going forward with market prices low and the world supply broad, there is some question as to how this policy will impact the markets going forward.  2016 will be a key year to see how this plays out.  Another warning sign is the role Iran will play as it comes off sanctions and moves to place it oil into the marketplace.
  • Renewable Reset – The year-end tax/budget deal also renewed the PTC/ITC for five years even though it will eventually phaseout.  The move was a long-standing wish for the renewable industry which has struggled to survive the boom and bust cycles of Congressional budget battles holding the tax credit hostage over the years.  One need only look at AWEA’s graphs charting the installation numbers to understand why the long-term approach will help Installation despite stiff competition from low natgas prices.  2016 looks to be a strong year for renewables especially in light of the Administration efforts to push utility switches with its GHG regs.  It remains an uncertain question though as to whether folks will build more renewables though because of other factors like costs, local NIMBY opposition, state regulatory woes or infrastructure challenges.   Certainly, the technologies are bursting onto the scene in the developing world where China and India (and many others) are already building a number of projects with infrastructure and without opponents at every turn.
  • Build It…Infrastructure – Our continued failure to seriously invest in our transportation and energy infrastructure is costing us jobs and putting our global competitiveness at risk.  Today, we are producing more oil, natural gas and renewable energy than ever before, yet we cannot get that energy efficiently to where it is needed because of we lack the transmission lines, pipelines, roads, rail, trucks, and ships that can move it .  Not investing in our outdated infrastructure will stifle our energy growth, leave us vulnerable to supply disruptions, and weaken our energy security.   Industry trade associations and DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review underscored this challenge.  Yet at the same time, the Keystone opponents were handed a symbolic, but important victory on the most high-profile infrastructure project in 2015.  Expect a reinvigorated attack in 2016 on energy projects and infrastructure, using Keystone as the template.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Detroit Auto Show Set to Go – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) starts today and runs through January 24th in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview today and tomorrow. With more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries expected to attend the upcoming show, automakers and suppliers exhibiting at NAIAS garner considerably greater global visibility and impact when compared to other domestic shows.  The 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule is available on the NAIAS website under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Press Club to Host Forum on Paris Utility Impacts – Today at 2:30 p.m., the National Press Club will host a discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman in the First Amendment Lounge.   Friedman will lead a panel discussion on the impact of the recent UN Climate Conference in Paris and what it will mean for the U.S. Electric Utility industry and their customers. The panel will includes EEI’s Tom Kuhn, Larry Kellerman of 21st Century Utilities LLC,  former Florida PSC Chair Joe Garcia and Robbie Diamond, the founder of an energy non-profit SAFE.

House Energy to look at Efficiency Legislation – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. on the External Powers Supplies (EPS) Act of 2016.  This legislation would exempt certain lighting technologies from the definition of “External Power Supplies” included in the Department of Energy’s EPS efficiency standard, which was finalized in 2014. Relief is necessary as the requirements of DOE’s final rule go into effect in February of 2016.  Witnesses will include the National Electrical Manufacturers Association member Pekka Hakkarainen and ACEEE’s Jennifer Amann.

Blood Oil Author to Be Featured – Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the Center for Global Development will hold a book forum on Blood Oil with author Leif Wenar.  All of the recent reforms around extractives—from transparency to certification to oil-to-cash—point toward the modern idea that the people, not power, should have the ultimate right to control a country’s resources. Can the US lead the West toward the next global revolution, by abolishing its legal trade in authoritarian oil and conflict minerals.

State Of The Union Address –Tomorrow at 9:00 p.m., President Obama will present his final State of the Union Address before Congress.

Stories to Watch 2016 – On Wednesday at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club,
the World Resources Institute will present the big stories that will shape the world in 2016.
WRI President Andrew Steer will look at the Paris Agreement, major trends in energy, finance, business, food and cities and many other items.

Nuclear Forum to Look at Future Action – The Center for the National Interest and the Energy Innovation Reform Project will hold a briefing and luncheon discussion of the future of nuclear power on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. The meeting is the first in a new series of programs on nuclear energy and will feature remarks by John Kotek, Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy for Nuclear Energy.  The combination of innovative energy technologies with energy and climate change policies in the United States and other leading energy producers and consumers has produced turmoil in international energy markets as well as in domestic markets in many countries. This event will have two components, a briefing on new nuclear technologies-including small modular reactors-from and a lunch discussion of the Obama administration’s efforts to promote nuclear innovation featuring Samuel Thernstrom, EIRP Executive Director.

CAP to Look at Paris, Climate Finance – On Wednesday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for American Progress will host a discussion on the future of climate finance in the Paris era. Specific issues will include the influence of multilateral climate funds in the global economy; how developed countries, such as the United States and Japan, can cooperate and improve resilience in the most vulnerable regions; and how countries and multilateral efforts can work with the private sector.  Featured panelists include Global Environment Facility (GEF) CEO Naoko Ishi and Leonardo Martinez-Diaz, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy and Environment of the U.S. Department of the Treasury and U.S. Board Member of the Green Climate Fund (GCF).

UC-Davis Forum to Look at Freight System Efficiency – The National Center for Sustainable Transportation at UC-Davis hosts a briefing Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. in B-369 Rayburn looking at increasing the efficiency and economic competitiveness of the nation’s freight system.

Cato Forum Look at Book on Oil –
On Wednesday at Noon, the Cato Institute
will host a Book Forum in its Hayek Auditorium
on “Blood Oil” featuring the author Leif Wenar of King’s College London, Bruce W. Jentleson of Duke University and Cato’s Ian Vásquez. The benefits from development and global connectedness — in which we are all inescapably complicit — have been huge. However, the natural resources that enabled that development also benefited people who systematically made the lives of others desperate and miserable, fueled violent conflicts, and funded many of the world’s autocracies.

This cycle continues today, but there is hope. In his book, Blood Oil, Leif Wenar explores this great moral challenge of our time, and “shows how citizens, consumers, and leaders can act today to avert tomorrow’s crises — and how we can together create a more united human future.”

Wenar, the chair of philosophy and law at King’s College London, has written a timely and provocative book.

WCEE to Continue at NatGas Drilling Series – On Wednesday at 12:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host its third in a series of Lunch & Learn seminars looking at the topic of hydraulic fracturing. Part 3 of the series will focus on induced seismicity, which are the earthquakes associated with energy development, particularly in the states of Kansas and Oklahoma. 

This event will have an in-person option; and for those unable to attend, a webinar option.  Speakers will include Julie Shemeta, President and Founder of MEQ Geo, an independent micro-seismic consulting company based in Denver, Co. She has experience with conventional and unconventional oil development, geothermal energy and mining and has worked on projects in North America, Australia, India, Argentina, Columbia, Germany and Mexico. Julie was one of eleven authors of the National Academies National Research Council’s 2012 Study, Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies.  Also speaking will be Rex Buchannan, Interim Director of the Kansas Geological Survey. He was appointed Interim Director in 2010 and has been with the Survey since 1978. In this role, he also chairs the Kansas Taskforce on Induced Seismicity. In addition, Mr. Buchannan serves as Secretary of the American Association of State Geologists and has been a past Chair of the Geology and Public Policy Committee of the Geological Society of America.

NAS to Host Arctic Sessions – On Thursday, the National Academy of Sciences Polar Research Board will host a series of lively, public-friendly presentations from top scientists and other experts who study the connections between Arctic-region changes and impacts that can affect people and places around the globe. Attendees can also explore a series of interactive exhibits and displays.  The event is free and open to the public. Some of the topics/speakers at this event will include:
 Permafrost carbon: a climate change amplifier by Max Holmes of  Woods Hole Research Center; The Polar vortex: Impacts of arctic warming on the weather where we live with
Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University; Plants and animals: How arctic warming can affect global ecological dynamics
by Natalie Boelman of the  Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Sea level rise from the loss of polar ice
 featuring  Penn State’s Richard Alley; the Arctic Ocean implications of the shrinking polar ice cap
by US Navy Admiral Jonathan White and Arctic as a new frontier for sustainable development
by Gwen Holdmann of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.

World Bank Transpo Conference Set – The World Bank and EMBARQ, the urban mobility initiative of WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities will hold its annual Transforming Transportation conference Thursday and Friday.  The event convenes leading transport and urban development experts from national and local governments, multilateral development banks, foundations, civil society, research institutions, and businesses from around the world. At Transforming Transportation, they share the latest experiences, information, and best practices around sustainable transport.  More information at www.TransformingTransportation.org.

Wilson Forum to Look at Security, Disasters, Climate – On Thursday at 9:00 a.m., the Woodrow Wilson Center will hold a discussion of whole-of-government interventions to reduce climate change vulnerability. The panelists will discuss opportunities to increase collaboration across U.S. agencies and what role can disaster risk management play in building stability.

U.S. Chamber State of American Business on Thursday – The U.S. Chamber will host its annual “State of American Business” address and press conference on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 9:30 a.m. at the Chamber’s HQ. The Chamber’s Tom Donohue will provide the business community’s perspective on how the economy and country are doing, and he will lay out the organization’s key policy priorities, including on energy issues.

BGov to Look at Lame Duck 2016 – Bloomberg Government analysts and First Word Editor Mark Drajem will conduct a webinar at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday to provide a deep-dive discussion in these key policy areas: tax overhaul, energy and health care. The webinar will answer what House Speaker Paul Ryan’s chances are of making meaningful headway on simplifying the tax code, the likelihood of enacting legislation on climate change, renewable fuel standards and exports of U.S. shale gas, as well as expected action on Obamacare.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies, Businesses – On Thursday at Noon, the Alliance to Save Energy will host a Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies and Businesses: Opening the Door for Energy Efficiency Deployment at Scale. This event will focus on technologies, systems efficiency, and the keys to bringing energy efficiency to scale in the built environment.  The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

Forum to Look at G20, Green Finance – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
will look at public policy and private institutional innovations for a more sustainable global financial system. A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), The Financial System We Need, captures this momentum to harness the world’s financial system for the transition to a low-carbon, green economy.  Following the launch in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals, along with the successful Paris climate agreement, 2016 looks set to be the ‘year of green finance,’ focusing on the operational measures needed to mobilize the trillions of dollars required for the transition. Spearheading this movement, China intends to place a special focus on green finance in 2016 under its G20 presidency. The United States now has an historic opportunity to advance leadership on green finance internationally, as well as to scale-up domestic innovations already in place.  Participants will include former IMF director John Lipsky, Carnegie’s David Livingston, former Obama NSC official Michelle Patron and Jay Shambaugh, current member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar Green Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on January 21. Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

Food, Energy, Water Conference Set – Next week, the Food-Energy-Water Nexus conference will be held at the Hyatt at Reagan National Airport.  The conference will feature 1,200 other leaders in science, technology, government, business, civil society, and education to create strategies and initiatives that transform ideas into action.

Senate Energy to Look at Energy Markets – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing next Tuesday to examine the near-term outlook for energy and commodity markets.

Senate Energy to Look at Auto Tech innovations – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday January 21st to examine the status of innovative technologies within the automotive industry.

USEA Hosts State of Energy Forum – The US Energy Assn will host its 12th annual State of the Energy Industry Forum on Thursday, January 21st at Noon in the National Press Club.  Senior leaders from the energy industry’s major trade associations will provide their outlook and overview of their priorities for 2016.  Speakers will include NEI’s Marvin Fertel, API’s Jack Gerard, APPA’s Susan Kelly, EEI’s Tom Kuhn, AGA’s Dave McCurdy, NMA’s Hal Quinn, SEIA’s Rhone Resch, AFPM’s Chet Thompson and INGAA’s Don Santa among others.

Forum to Look at African Energy Finance – On Thursday afternoon, January 21st  the US Africa Chamber of Commerce will hold a forum on the future of energy investment in Africa. The event will explore a variety of deep-dive topics related to energy investment and development in Africa, and will host attendance from both major players in various energy markets on the continent, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) currently operating within the energy sector in Africa and the U.S. See below for the panel schedule.

SEJ, Wilson to Look at 2016 Enviro Issues – On Friday, January 22nd at 3:00 p.m., the Society of Environmental Journalists and the Environmental Change and Security Program at Wilson will hold its fourth annual “Year Ahead in Environment and Energy” event, where leading reporters and editors will discuss the critical issues that will shape 2016. Jessica Coomes, deputy news director at Bloomberg BNA, will present Bloomberg BNA’s Environment Outlook 2016, followed by a panel discussion featuring leading journalists from National Geographic, Huffington Post, Bloomberg BNA, Environment & Energy Daily, and more to be confirmed.  Speakers will Include our friends Meaghan Parker, Jeff  Burnside and Doug Fischer.

CSIS to Host Infrastructure Discussion – On Wednesday, January 27th, CSIS will hold an expert panel discussion on meeting infrastructure demands around the world. According to the World Bank’s Global Infrastructure Facility, the unmet demand for infrastructure around the world is estimated to be above $1 trillion per year. Meeting the financing need for bankable and sustainable projects must be a priority, for both governments and the private sector, in the coming decades. In addition to financing needs, donors and the private sector must work together to build capacity and provide technical assistance that will ensure continued success long after the individual projects have been completed. Panelists will discuss ways in which infrastructure can become a driver of development and stability, and how targeted investments in smart projects and capacity building can produce measurable results to pave the way for sustainable economic growth in low and middle-income countries.

Greenest Show on Grass: Waste Management Phoenix Open – February 1st through 7th, Waste Management will host its annual PGA tour event at the Phoenix Open in Arizona.  Waste Management has been a partner of the Phoenix Open for 15 years, and is dedicated to making the Open the greenest tournament on the PGA TOUR. The tournament has also become a major platform for Waste Management Think Green solutions, including the Four Rs – reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.  As a regular part of the event, WM is hosting its 6th annual Executive Sustainability Forum which provides a platform to discuss how and why the circular economy is fractured.  The event will identify collective challenges, and approaches to overcoming these challenges through collaboration along the value chain.  Speakers will include WM CEO David Steiner, our friend Dana Perino, NYT’s John Tierney  and Bloomberg View’s Adam Minter, among many others.

Sustainability Forum Set at GMU – Leaders in Energy, Association of Energy Engineers – National Capital Chapter, and George Mason University will hold an Energy and Sustainability Extravaganza on its GMU Arlington campus on February 5th.

Energy Update: Week of January 4

Friends,

Welcome to 2016!!!!  I hope you were able to enjoy a few days over the holidays to relax.  It sure seemed like it as the traffic was non-existent over the past two weeks.

2016 Looks to be a promising year for political banter so I will just mention it and remind you that we will be on top of it for you.  To that end, as usual, I am forwarding a few of the top issues we expect to see in 2016 in our energy and environment arena.  As you may recall last year, I had the top 15 for 15, but this year, I am just returning to a David Letterman-like Top 10 now that he has retired.

Looking forward, the 50th Super Bowl (Super Bowl L) plays on February 7th in Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara and Coldplay will be on the halftime docket.   This year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs should be entertaining and as a hockey fan generally who happened to live in the Washington area, I am excited and intrigued by the Washington Capitals this year.  I know, it is only January and I still will take the Red Wings, but I am excited about the possibility of a long DC playoff run.

2016 also brings the Summer Olympics in Rio.  Already we’ve heard about the environmental problems, traffic woes and many other challenges to pulling this off – especially a developing economy country, but it is important to mark on the Calendar as there is always so much great fanfare and human interest at the Olympic Games.

In the concert scene, 2016 appears to see more resurgence from long-time hard rock acts as AC/DC, Tool, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Def Leppard (w Styx), Megadeth (w Suicidal Tendencies) and Disturbed all will be on the road in the first half of this year.  We’ll keep you posted.

And as you review key 2015 energy, don’t overlook two important sleeper successes that will have lasting impacts:

Hot Water Heater Victory – In April Congress passed legislation to stop rules that would have blocked the use of grid-enabled water heaters. These are crucial to demand-response levers, loved by both utilities and energy conservation advocates. However, DOE’s planned new standards would have  banned their manufacture. Rather than an another top-down mandate, this legislation showed progress can be made when Congress, the president, industry and environmental groups work together.
Global HFC Deal – Before Paris, nations across the globe came together to limit hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, a greenhouse gas several times more potent than carbon dioxide. The agreement builds on the successful legacy of the Montreal Protocol, which has resulted in a 97% reduction in the production of ozone-depleting substances. The signatories have now agreed to work in 2016 to include HFC refrigerants under the purview of the treaty, and set a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants. The HFC reductions could have far more impact that the UN’s Paris climate agreement on cutting the release of compounds blamed for the Earth’s warming.

There are a few great event this week starting tomorrow when WCEE hosts Gina McCarthy for a breakfast chat at the Cosmos Club and API holds its annual State of the Energy Industry event featuring CEO Jack Gerard at the Reagan Trade Center.  Finally, mark next week’s launch of the world-renowned Detroit Auto Show, a Monday afternoon National Press Club discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman, EEI’s Tom Kuhn and SAFE’s Robbie Diamond and next Tuesday’s State of the Union Address as key events.

As usual, call with questions…and on to the Top 10!!!

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
Top 10 Issues In 2016

  • We’ll Always Have Paris – In December, nations agreed to a next step climate approach.  While hailed as a breakthrough, it is clearly not the historic agreement many advocates had hoped for.  In fact, it appears to be another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than they would ever have found remotely acceptable.  Nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.   How this plays out this year globally will determine whether this is a turning point or the same old, same old.  Another test for the Administration’s position will be regarding the funding requests for the UN’s Green Climate Fund. While Congress has already hit the funding several times, it remains controversial especially as the developing world waits to be “Shown the Money” following Paris.
  • Legal Eagles for CPP Year – The linchpin to meeting Paris and addressing climate change for the Administration is centered around its Clean Power Plan, which regulates GHGs and requires existing power plants to slash their carbon emissions by 2030. Almost 30 states and a wide array of industry groups have challenged the rule, claiming EPA doesn’t have the legal authority to enact it.  Arguments will center around the contention that Congress never gave EPA the authority to encourage emission control methods outside the fence line of a power plant, such as forcing increased renewables.  They will also challenge regulating power plants under Section 111(d) after they already regulated them under Section 112, which covers hazardous air pollutants.  Also look for Rural Co-ops to weigh heavily in to the legal battle as they have a very strong case for being aggrieved the most by the rules.  Lots to do on this with key dates set for early this year and folks like my colleague Jeff Holmstead ready to discuss at any point.
  • Politics All The Time – As we progress through 2016, we will be under a full slate of political action starting this month in Iowa where the first-in-the-nation votes are well underway.  This year-long sweep will keep a target on the back of candidates, parties, Congress and President Obama for every little political move and its meaning.  It also will likely clear the Congressional schedule some time around mid-March or April to focus on theme legislating and political campaigning – always a dangerous time for both Congress and the Administration.    Who is standing at the end of the day on November 2nd remains a mystery, today but the road will be loud, twisting and bumpy.
  • Regs, Regs and More Regs – It is 2016…the last year of President Obama’s time in office.  And like with any end of a second-term President, expect a full regulatory dump.  While most are looking at gun safety, e-cigarettes and other social regs, the energy and enviro side will see the same barrage.  Already, DOE is pounding the pavement to rush out over 20-plus efficiency regulations that will tie appliance and HVAC industries in knots trying to comply.  Other key regulations like Methane from gas drilling, Federal land fracturing regs, tougher Ozone rules, a battle of EPA Water of the US rules and more individual climate rules will all be a part of the year-long sweep.   Many industry and regulatory watchdogs are on guard, but the sheer volume of the effort masked in the President election may allow some to side through.
  • Expanding the Innovation Agenda – Last year was a great year for the innovation agenda.  It picked up extra steam not only in our national labs but also with private companies investing millions in the effort.  Southern Company was the prime example promoting several bold and innovative individual  technologies like carbon capture, large-scale biomass and new generation nuclear.  They also started an innovation center to house the creative outcomes of its workforce.  We also saw its emergence on the global scene in the Breakthrough Coalition led by Bill Gates and the govt-to-govt “Mission Innovation” initiative.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like this by world and business leaders can achieve success.
  • Ozon‘ing Out – The Ozone/NAAQS instantly become one of the biggest political and policy fights of 2015 when the White House/EPA announced it would roll out a standard at 70 ppb.  Last year we predicted that the  Administration had only so much political capital at its disposal and it made clear that controlling greenhouse gases is its legacy issue.  Given the state and industry pushback and the symbolic Keystone victory the White House gave to enviros, the Administration clearly didn’t have the bandwidth to sustain a tougher ozone rule, especially as we venture into an election year.  There is no doubt that many in Congress and the states will still say the current EPA plan is unrealistic and enviros have already filed suited calling for 60 ppb.  Just before Christmas both sides hammered EPA with lawsuits.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and NAM are the loudest industry voices complaining that imposing new standards make no sense when many communities haven’t even complied with previous ozone reduction levels.  This battle will play out in the election year where state and local officials end up playing an oversized role since  they are impacted the most.
  • RFS, Ethanol: Same Old Sad Song – The disaster known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) continued last year with EPA finalizing its long-awaited rule in early December.  The original law establishing the RFS set in place an increasing level of use for ethanol expressed in terms of actual volume numbers.  As time has gone by, however, the actual total gasoline fuel pool has declined due to more efficient autos, more mass transit, and even electric cars.  As a result, the volume number – if EPA fails to adjust it downward – will exceed 10% by volume of gasoline.  But above that level, autos have significant performance issues.  The ethanol folks want the continued higher growth; fuel makers and consumers are queasy about the higher numbers.  There is little environmental case for higher ethanol use any more, especially as commercial   second-gen biofuels remain elusive.  Indeed, major enviro groups like EWG have produced studies showing the higher levels are actually worse for carbon emissions when the ethanol lifecycle is taken into account. It is likely the RFS won’t be repealed, but a wholesale revision is closer to a reality that ever.  Now, Congress will be expected to once again roll up its sleeves on a bipartisan basis and amend the law to a more functioning workable approach.
  • Crude exports, Iran: Catching the Garbage Truck? – The year–end budget deal achieved a goal of many in the oil industry and Congress to remove the decades-old ban of crude exports.  Going forward with market prices low and the world supply broad, there is some question as to how this policy will impact the markets going forward.  2016 will be a key year to see how this plays out.  Another warning sign is the role Iran will play as it comes off sanctions and moves to place it oil into the marketplace.
  • Renewable Reset – The year-end tax/budget deal also renewed the PTC/ITC for five years even though it will eventually phaseout.  The move was a long-standing wish for the renewable industry which has struggled to survive the boom and bust cycles of Congressional budget battles holding the tax credit hostage over the years.  One need only look at AWEA’s graphs charting the installation numbers to understand why the long-term approach will help Installation despite stiff competition from low natgas prices.  2016 looks to be a strong year for renewables especially in light of the Administration efforts to push utility switches with its GHG regs.  It remains an uncertain question though as to whether folks will build more renewables though because of other factors like costs, local NIMBY opposition, state regulatory woes or infrastructure challenges.   Certainly, the technologies are bursting onto the scene in the developing world where China and India (and many others) are already building a number of projects with infrastructure and without opponents at every turn.
  • Build It…Infrastructure – Our continued failure to seriously invest in our transportation and energy infrastructure is costing us jobs and putting our global competitiveness at risk.  Today, we are producing more oil, natural gas and renewable energy than ever before, yet we cannot get that energy efficiently to where it is needed because of we lack the transmission lines, pipelines, roads, rail, trucks, and ships that can move it .  Not investing in our outdated infrastructure will stifle our energy growth, leave us vulnerable to supply disruptions, and weaken our energy security.   Industry trade associations and DOE’s Quadrennial Energy Review underscored this challenge.  Yet at the same time, the Keystone opponents were handed a symbolic, but important victory on the most high-profile infrastructure project in 2015.  Expect a reinvigorated attack in 2016 on energy projects and infrastructure, using Keystone as the template.

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

WCEE to Host EPA’s McCarthy – Tomorrow morning, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host a Leadership Breakfast with EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the Cosmos Club.  McCarthy will share her insights about her path to leadership and remark on recent policy events in the field of energy and the environment including the Clean Power Plan and COP21.

API State of Energy Set – API will host its annual State of Energy event tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building Atrium Ballroom featuring API head Jack Gerard.  The event will kick off America’s energy policy discussion ahead of the critical 2016 elections.   In order to take best advantage of America’s tremendous energy potential, API will continue to keep the national energy conversation focused on the facts for the public and for lawmakers, both current and prospective.

WCEE To Host Planning Session for Event Agenda – On Wednesday at Noon, WCEE will holds its 4th annual “Brainstorming” event at Exponent (1150 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 1100).  As the new year kicks off, the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment would also like to kick off planning for 2016, brainstorming about the topics for WCEE’s coming year’s “Lunch & Learn” (brown-bag) events.

CSIS To Look at Paris
Agreement – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a discussion on Thursday looking at the Paris Agreement reached at the 21st Conference of Parties meeting under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (COP21). To help understand what the new climate agreement means for future U.S. and international efforts to combat climate change, Paul Bodnar, Senior Director for Energy and Climate Change at the White House’s National Security Council will discuss what the agreement entails and what actions the U.S. government and the international community are likely to focus on in the coming years.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

Detroit Auto Show Set to Go – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) run from January 11th to 24th in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview, Jan. 11-12. With more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries expected to attend the upcoming show, automakers and suppliers exhibiting at NAIAS garner considerably greater global visibility and impact when compared to other domestic shows.  The 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule is available on the NAIAS website under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Press Club to Host Forum on Paris Utility Impacts – Next Monday at 2:30 p.m., the National Press Club will host a discussion on the impact of the Paris accord on Electric Utilities with NYT Columnist Tom Friedman in the First Amendment Lounge.   Friedman will lead a panel discussion on the impact of the recent UN Climate Conference in Paris and what it will mean for the U.S. Electric Utility industry and their customers. The panel will includes EEI’s Tom Kuhn, Larry Kellerman of 21st Century Utilities LLC,  former Florida PSC Chair Joe Garcia and Robbie Diamond, the founder of an energy non-profit SAFE.

BPC to Host Allowance Forum on GHG Rules – The Bipartisan Policy Center
will host a discussion next Monday looking at the allowance allocations in the Administration’s GHG rules.   BPC will introduce some of the key issues related to allocation. Through moderated discussion, panelists will explore options for distributing allowances, lessons learned from past policy experience, the implications of electricity market structure, and the expected impacts on companies and customers. Panelists will weigh the benefits of a simple allocation approach versus a more complex design, including how allocation might attempt to address leakage of emissions to non-covered sources and the potential for disproportionate impacts on communities, companies, and/or industries.  Participants will be announced.

State Of The Union Address – Next Tuesday, January 12th at 9:00 p.m., President Obama will hold his final State of the Union Address before Congress.

Stories to Watch 2016 – On Wednesday, January 13th at 9:00 a.m. at the National Press Club,
the World Resources Institute will present the big stories that will shape the world in 2016.
WRI President Andrew Steer will look at the Paris Agreement, major trends in energy, finance, business, food and cities and many other items.

Cato Forum Look at Book on Oil –
On Wednesday, January 13th at Noon, the Cato Institute
will host a Book Forum in its Hayek Auditorium
on “Blood Oil” featuring the author Leif Wenar of King’s College London, Bruce W. Jentleson of Duke University and Cato’s Ian Vásquez. The benefits from development and global connectedness — in which we are all inescapably complicit — have been huge. However, the natural resources that enabled that development also benefited people who systematically made the lives of others desperate and miserable, fueled violent conflicts, and funded many of the world’s autocracies.

This cycle continues today, but there is hope. In his book, Blood Oil, Leif Wenar explores this great moral challenge of our time, and “shows how citizens, consumers, and leaders can act today to avert tomorrow’s crises — and how we can together create a more united human future.”

Wenar, the chair of philosophy and law at King’s College London, has written a timely and provocative book.

WCEE to Continue at NatGas Drilling Series – On Wednesday, January 13th at 12:00 p.m., the Women’s Council on Energy and the Environment (WCEE) will host its third in a series of Lunch & Learn seminars looking at the topic of hydraulic fracturing. Part 3 of the series will focus on induced seismicity, which are the earthquakes associated with energy development, particularly in the states of Kansas and Oklahoma. 

This event will have an in-person option; and for those unable to attend, a webinar option.  Speakers will include Julie Shemeta, President and Founder of MEQ Geo, an independent micro-seismic consulting company based in Denver, Co. She has experience with conventional and unconventional oil development, geothermal energy and mining and has worked on projects in North America, Australia, India, Argentina, Columbia, Germany and Mexico. Julie was one of eleven authors of the National Academies National Research Council’s 2012 Study, Induced Seismicity Potential in Energy Technologies. 

Also speaking will be Rex Buchannan, Interim Director of the Kansas Geological Survey. He was appointed Interim Director in 2010 and has been with the Survey since 1978. In this role, he also chairs the Kansas Taskforce on Induced Seismicity. In addition, Mr. Buchannan serves as Secretary of the American Association of State Geologists and has been a past Chair of the Geology and Public Policy Committee of the Geological Society of America.

NAS to Host Arctic Sessions – On Thursday, January 14th, National Academy of Sciences Polar Research Board will host a series of lively, public-friendly presentations from top scientists and other experts who study the connections between Arctic-region changes and impacts that can affect people and places around the globe. Attendees can also explore a series of interactive exhibits and displays.  The event is free and open to the public. Some of the topics/speakers at this event will include:
 Permafrost carbon: a climate change amplifier
by Max Holmes of  Woods Hole Research Center; The Polar vortex: Impacts of arctic warming on the weather where we live with
Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University; Plants and animals: How arctic warming can affect global ecological dynamics
by Natalie Boelman of the  Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; Sea level rise from the loss of polar ice
 featuring  Penn State’s Richard Alley; the Arctic Ocean implications of the shrinking polar ice cap
by US Navy Admiral Jonathan White and Arctic as a new frontier for sustainable development
by Gwen Holdmann of the Alaska Center for Energy and Power.

ASE to Host Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies, Businesses – On Thursday, January 14th at Noon, the Alliance to Save Energy will host a Congressional Briefing on Cutting Edge Technologies and Businesses: Opening the Door for Energy Efficiency Deployment at Scale. This event will focus on technologies, systems efficiency, and the keys to bringing energy efficiency to scale in the built environment.  The purpose of the briefing is to educate and engage congressional staff and energy efficiency professionals on the work and progress being done in this area, while also discussing solutions and best practices that can help further advance energy efficiency in the built environment.

Forum to Look at G20, Green Finance – On Friday, January 15th at 10:00 a.m., the
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
will look at public policy and private institutional innovations for a more sustainable global financial system. A new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), The Financial System We Need, captures this momentum to harness the world’s financial system for the transition to a low-carbon, green economy.  Following the launch in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals, along with the successful Paris climate agreement, 2016 looks set to be the ‘year of green finance,’ focusing on the operational measures needed to mobilize the trillions of dollars required for the transition. Spearheading this movement, China intends to place a special focus on green finance in 2016 under its G20 presidency. The United States now has an historic opportunity to advance leadership on green finance internationally, as well as to scale-up domestic innovations already in place.  Participants will include former IMF director John Lipsky, Carnegie’s David Livingston, former Obama NSC official Michelle Patron and Jay Shambaugh, current member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar Green Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on January 21. Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

Holiday Energy Update: Week of December 21

Friends,

Well, we wrapped up the legislative year with a bang on Friday.  There was a lot in the legislation beyond the big ticket items like crude exports and wind and solar tax credits.  One great piece that passed the Senate is the Electrify Africa Act of 2015. (see below)

If you were trapped in the budget bill, you might have missed two other Interesting things:

  • DOE released its long-awaited commercial air conditioning efficiency rule which will ultimately save the nation considerable energy.  The basis of this rule is a consensus agreement worked out by affected stakeholders, including AHRI, which is the preferred process for developing federal efficiency standards.
  • The long-awaited TSCA legislation passed the Senate after a series of delays over non-related controversies.
  • I am still waiting to see if Steve Harvey is going to announce that Keystone decision actually was approved, but the President just read it wrong.

The President’s year-end news conference really focused on bigger issues, but it did feature some conversation about the recent climate deal.  He said he expects a lot of complaints about the climate policies during the 2016 election.  He also managed to veto the two Congressional Review Act disapproval resolutions aimed at the new and existing GHG rules for power plants.  While the vetoes were widely expected, it seems strange that he actually “pocket vetoed” the bipartisan resolutions by just not signed or formally vetoing them.

And just so you know no good deed for the environmental community goes unpunished, please read this excellent piece in the New Yorker in which a pro-climate columnist Michael Specter exposes social science gadfly/activist Naomi Oreskes new attack to the policy debate labeling NASA ‘s Jim Hansen, Ken Caldeira and others as “climate deniers.”

Hope you finished you shopping.  If not, EPA has a tip for you: consider giving gift cards for Christmas presents this year to save the environment.  In its tips to “Reduce Waste for Greener Holidays,” the agency instructed readers to think about how much wrapping paper they use.

Finally, we are assuming that the Wall Street Journal is NOT taking EPA’s shopping tips.  Over the weekend, it hammered EPA with government emails obtained by the Energy & Environment Legal Institute that show the EPA secretly worked with environmental lobbyists to craft its Clean Power Plan regulating greenhouse gases. The emails show the secret alliance designed a standard that would be impossible or economically ruinous for existing coal plants to meet—in order to force their closure. The New York Times first reported on the issue in July saying lawyers, David Doniger and David Hawkins, and scientist Dan Lashof, worked with a team of experts to write a 110-page proposal, widely viewed as innovative and audacious, that was aimed at slashing planet-warming carbon pollution from the nation’s coal-fired power plants.

As you know, every year, before Christmas, I do a Christmas Note filled with holiday cheer and some good quips…so , here we go:

It is the week of Christmas and all through DC; we finally have a Budget that allows Congress to flee. 

Congress traded the Oil Exports for renewables annoying greens; who argue that Paris should make us more mean.

But new Wind turbines will spin and solar’s Ivanpah will shine bright; and there’s major relief we won’t have the annual tax credit fight. 

GHG rules remain the biggest issue we face, I’m sure we’ll be arguing about it on each and every case.  

You may have heard that Wellesley is on my daughter plate; now only to figure out how to pay for the freight. 

Dropping gas prices and crude tumbling could help too; pretty good for the economy but makes the oil industry seems blue. 

Still, energy independence remains closer than ever; and that’s mostly because the oil and gas industry is always getting better.

And the Paris climate agreement seems to be somewhat historic; our environmental leaders that support it seem overly euphoric.

Mostly because while bold no one will follow, a crazy agreement that is surely very hollow.

It is why we  continue to push new climate techs game; but it is uncertain to work is the global debate stays lame.

For this New Year there’ll be new President, elections, battles over rights; all become more prominent if we can’t turn on the lights.

So as we wrap another crazy energy year, I hope you will take a few minutes to share…

Some fun, peace and joy… and more holiday cheer, mostly because it really is the best time of year.

We’re always working hard to be there for you; interviews, sources, background – something is always new.

So as you settle in for the holidays during this week and next; The Winter Classic, some football, some well-deserved rest. 

From Our Bracewell family to yours, have a great holiday season; Can’t wait to make next year even better for whatever reason.

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
IN THE NEWS

Congress Finalizes Budget, Moves to 2016 – On Friday, Congress approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill and $680 billion tax package with a two strong bipartisan votes.  The House moved first, passing the government funding bill on a 316-113 vote. The Senate followed suit just a few hours later, clearing the legislation on a 65-33 tally.

What is in the Legislation – Here are a few items to look for:

Washington Post: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2015/12/16/heres-what-made-it-into-congresss-big-tax-and-spending-bills/

The Hill: http://thehill.com/policy/finance/258594-budget-deal-winners-and-losers

Fortune: http://fortune.com/2015/10/29/budget-deal-winners-losers/

Africa Electrification Big Winner in Year-End Bill – Another big winner the year end Senate action that may have slipped under the radar was the Electrify Africa Act of 2015.  Given the recent Paris agreement and the focus on Developing Country partnerships, this move is an important step forward for providing reliable power in places that are in desperate need.    The bill encourages meaningful public-private partnerships that will bring electricity to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa and help to lift impoverished African communities out of subsistence living.  NRECA supported the legislation  praising the bill’s emphasis on electricity distribution and expanding access. “Poles and wires are what move electricity from power plants to people, and this bill will promote economic development by expanding access to electricity will benefit people on both sides of the Atlantic,” NRECA President Jeff Connor said.

US Crude Exports Panned By Enviros – In light of the crude export ban being lifted, About 100 environmental advocacy groups, joined in a recent call looking for ways to stop oil exports from proceeding without restrictions again.  “To lift the crude oil export ban flies in the face of climate progress less than a week after the United Nations Paris Agreement,” the group stated. Some felt hoodwinked because when they headed off to Paris, they believed President Obama would veto any bill that included lifting the ban. That no longer seems to be the case.  Ouch…

India Already Not Following Deal – As You saw above, environmental groups say the US oil export legislation undermines the goals of Paris and they let Democrats and the President have it on the topic.  But the export fight was only the first sign that no one will really follow the agreement.  Just two days after, India said it would double its coal use no matter what they agreed to in Paris.

Japan, S Korea Doing Same – Less than a week since signing the global climate deal in Paris, Japan and South Korea are pressing ahead with plans to open scores of new coal-fired power plants, casting doubt on the strength of their commitment to cutting CO2 emissions.  Asia’s two most developed economies are burning more than ever and plan to add at least 60 new coal-fired power plants over the next 10 years.  Officials at both countries’ energy ministries said those plans were unchanged. South Korea did scrap plans for four coal-fired power plants as part of its pledge to the Paris summit, but 20 new plants are still planned by 2021.  In Japan, 41 new coal-fired power plants are planned over the next decade, and taxes favor imports of coal over cleaner-burning natural gas.

Britain Cutting Renewable Subsidies – Britain cut more renewable energy subsidies last week and it is drawing criticism for losing credibility in tackling climate change after the landmark deal in Paris. Britain cut the tariff for domestic-scale solar up to 10 kilowatts in capacity, such as rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations, to 4.39 pence per kilowatt hour. The government also capped spending on the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) scheme at a maximum 100 million pounds a year for new installations from February next year to April 2019.

Solar Extension Will Increase Installations – A five-year extension to the solar investment tax credit (ITC), which is currently included in the omnibus spending bill under consideration in Congress, would result in 25 gigawatts (GW) of additional solar capacity over the next five years – a 54 percent increase over a no-extension scenario. According to GTM Research, which today released preliminary updated state- and segment-level forecasts based on the current omnibus language, ITC extension will foster $40 billion in incremental investment in solar between 2016 and 2020. The impact will be most pronounced in the utility-scale sector, where ITC extension will increase deployments 73 percent through 2020.  In the distributed solar market, residential installations will see a 35% impact versus no extension, while commercial solar will increase by 51%.

CFR Emissions Analysis Says Renewable Tax Extension Outweighs Oil Exports – A new Council on Foreign Relations analysis says extending federal tax credits for wind and solar “will do far more to reduce carbon dioxide emissions over the next five years than lifting the (crude oil) export ban will do to increase them.” Varun Sivaram and Michael Levi focused on 2016-2020 for three reasons: (a) it’s the period for which we have the best data; (b) beyond 2020, complex interactions with the Clean Power Plan make things much tougher to model; and (c) most important, beyond 2020, the primary effect of the ITC/PTC extension should be to make reducing emissions cheaper, and thus enable stronger policy. While they offered no judgement on the budget deal, they said it looks like a win for climate.

AAPCA Releases Info Graphic on Compliance – The Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies (AAPCA) released a new infographic/timeline, State Clean Air Act Deadlines, 2016 – 2021. The timeline includes requirements affecting many environmental agencies under the Clean Power Plan, National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone (2008 and 2015), sulfur dioxide, lead, and fine particulate matter, regional haze, and the Startup, Shutdown, and Malfunction State Implementation Plan Call.

For context, Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality’s Air Director recently testified: “In an era of diminishing appropriations and seemingly ever-increasing regulation complexity and burden, each action taken by EPA to mandate a response by my state forces us to make critical decisions involving programs, spending and personnel.” For the revised ozone NAAQS, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality estimated “that the agency’s level of effort required to develop an attainment demonstration and reasonable further progress [State Implementation Plan] revision for a moderate nonattainment area is 45,000 to 55,000 hours of staff time, with an estimated cost of over $1 million dollars.”

SoCo Wind Project Operational – Southern Company said its 299MW Kay Wind facility in Kay County, Oklahoma, is fully operational.  Kay Wind is Southern Power’s first wind project.  The electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility will be sold under 20-year power purchase agreements with Westar Energy Inc. in Kansas and Grand River Dam Authority (GRDA) in Oklahoma. Westar Energy has contracted for approximately 199 MW, and GRDA has contracted for approximately 100 MW. Both companies will have the option to either keep or sell the RECs.  Apex Clean Energy developed and will operate and maintain the facility. Blattner Energy Inc. served as the engineering, procurement and construction contractor.  The Kay Wind project consists of 130 wind turbines manufactured by Siemens and is capable of generating enough electricity to help meet the energy needs of approximately 100,000 average U.S. homes.

And a Solar Project – Southern Company has also acquired a controlling interest in the 200-megawatt (MW) Garland solar facility under construction in California from Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. Southern Power now owns more than 650 MW across nine operating or planned facilities in California.  One of North America’s largest solar developers, Recurrent Energy is constructing the facility and will retain the remaining interest in the project. Southern Power and Recurrent Energy have now announced the development of three jointly owned projects that together are expected to generate more than 550 MW of solar electricity in California and Texas. Upon completion, the Garland solar facility is expected to be capable of generating enough solar energy to meet the energy needs of approximately 45,000 homes.

Fanning Praised As Energy Leader – The 2015 edition of SNL Energy’s 10 Most Influential People highlights the work of Southern CEO Thomas Fanning, Ahmad Chatila, Robert Murray, Pope Francis and several other people whose actions had a major impact on the direction of the North American energy industry over the past 12 months.   The selection process for SNL Energy’s 10 Most Influential People list relied on the industry expertise in the SNL Energy newsroom. SNL Energy reporters and editors nominated people who had an impact on various sectors of the energy industry over the past year. The final list of people was selected by a committee of veteran energy journalists at SNL Energy.

DOE Announces Commercial AC Rules Agreement – As I mentioned earlier in the week, the DOE released its new efficiency standards for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. Developed with industry, utilities, and environmental groups, these standards will save more energy than any other standard issued by the Department to date. Over the lifetime of the products, businesses will save $167 billion on their utility bills and carbon pollution will be reduced by 885 million metric tons.  AHRI’s President & CEO Stephen Yurek said the basis of this rule is a consensus agreement worked out by affected stakeholders, including AHRI.  Yurek: “While we are still reviewing the final rule, we hope and expect that it includes the provisions agreed to by the parties.  This is an agreement that will ultimately save the nation considerable energy and we are proud of the role our member companies played in its development.  It is a good example in a sometimes cynical city that when disparate parties come together in good faith, good things can happen.”
ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Christmas!!!!!

 

FUTURE EVENTS

New Year’s Day

Football

API State of Energy Set– API will host its annual State of Energy event On Tuesday January 5th at 11:30 a.m. at the Ronald Reagan Building Atrium Ballroom featuring API head Jack Gerard.  The event will kick off America’s energy policy discussion ahead of the critical 2016 elections.   In order to take best advantage of America’s tremendous energy potential, API will continue to keep the national energy conversation focused on the facts for the public and for lawmakers, both current and prospective.

Detroit Auto Show Set to Go – The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) run from January 11th to 24th in the Motor City.  The official press conference schedule for the 2016 NAIAS begins with Press Preview, Jan. 11-12. With more than 5,000 credentialed journalists from 60+ countries expected to attend the upcoming show, automakers and suppliers exhibiting at NAIAS garner considerably greater global visibility and impact when compared to other domestic shows.  The 2016 NAIAS Press Conference Schedule is available on the NAIAS website under the main Press tab.  In its 28th year as an international event, the NAIAS is among the most prestigious auto shows in the world, providing unparalleled access to the automotive products, people and ideas that matter most – up close and in one place.

Washington Auto Show Sets Policy Bar Green Car Journal has announced finalists for the 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ and 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ awards that will be presented at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on January 21. Focused on aspirational vehicles with exceptional green credentials, nominees for 2016 Luxury Green Car of the Year™ include the BMW X5 xDrive40e, Lexus RX 450h, Mercedes-Benz C350e, Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV. Vying for the all-new 2016 Connected Green Car of the Year™ award are the Audi A3 e-tron, BMW 330e, Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid, Toyota Prius, and Volvo XC90 T8 PHEV.  Finalists previously announced for the 2016 Green SUV of the Year™ award that will also be presented at The Washington Auto Show® are the BMW X1 xDrive 28i, Honda HR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Mazda CX-3 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.  The 2016 Green Car Awards recognize vehicles that exhibit laudable environmental achievement. Along with improved environmental performance, traditional buyer touchstones like functionality, safety, quality, value, and performance are also considered. Affordability and availability are important to ensure honored models are accessible to a wide range of buyers. Honoring continual environmental improvement places emphasis on new vehicles and those in the very early stages of their model lifecycle. The Connected Green Car of the Year™ award considers these elements plus the integration of connected technologies that enhance efficiency, safety, and the driving experience.

 

Energy Update: Week of December 14

Friends,

That was a very busy weekend — way more busy than it should be around the middle of December…  At least the weather was beautiful for Mid-December.

Anyway, the Paris Climate deal is done although we really don’t know what it will really “should” or “shall”  do.  It certainly isn’t clear that the agreement is as historic as the initial coverage has portrayed.   Full details and links below.

The second major issue comes to a head today when the budget discussions surrounding crude oil exports, refiner credits and tax incentives for renewables hit a deadline.  The Senate and House are both in session this week primarily working to complete a $1.1 trillion spending measure to fund the government. Members have until midnight Wednesday to agree to and pass the omnibus spending bill.   We are happy to offer the latest thoughts, perspective and timing.

This is really the last week for events around town as before the holidays roll in.  Tomorrow, CSIS will host a panel discussion looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure.   On Wednesday the Energy Times will interview Perdernales Electric Cooperative CEO John Hewa and discuss his co-op’s innovations in a webcast on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Perdernales is one of the nation’s largest rural electric co-ops and emerging as the vanguard of innovators when it comes to engaging and partnering with its member-consumers  in supporting their energy goals.  also Wednesday, the Wilson Center gets into the just-approved UN Climate plan.  Finally, on Friday, former EIA head and current CSIS energy expert Guy Caruso will discuss the current energy state of the play.

So while, the UN climate deal and the Congressional budget deal might seem like big news to us today, we might expect it to be off the radar by Thursday when the new Stars Wars movie rolls out.  While there are three world premieres tonight, it will be in already sold-out theaters on Thursday.  Speaking of Star Wars, perhaps my favorite Bill Murray song as Saturday Night Live’s Nick Winters: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqedbxGxfgE

Call with questions…And May the Force Be With You

 

Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT

The Deal – 196 nations agreed to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future in Paris over the weekend.  For the first time, the accord brings all nations into a common cause based on their historic, current and future responsibilities.  The universal agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Here is the text: http://unfccc.int/documentation/documents/advanced_search/items/6911.php?priref=600008831

The Word “Shall” – As you may have seen, there has been wide-spread reporting of the one-word change that was essential to getting an agreement.  US negotiators discovered in the final draft text in Article 4 a line declaring that wealthier countries “shall” set economy-wide targets for cutting their greenhouse gas pollution.  But the word shall Implied a legal obligation and the as you know, that would force the hand of the President to submit the agreement to Congress.

French Negotiator Rams in Through as Technical Correction –French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius worked the words into the technical changes where the wording was read aloud by a delegate in the plenary hall and lost in a package of other technical revisions.   Prior to that Fabius had worked the room on several key negotiating teams and already received approval (or at least no objection to) the change and the deal was inked.  Minutes later, French banged his gavel and the most significant international climate change deal in history won the resounding approval of 196 governments, representing nearly every country on the planet.

President Obama Speaks form Oval Office – While this speech was as bold and important as his speech to the nation on terrorism issues last week, President Barack Obama made a statement Saturday Night from the Oval Office.  “We came together around the strong agreement the world needed,” Obama said from the White House. “We met the moment.  He added “the American people can be proud — because this historic agreement is a tribute to American leadership.”

Chamber Expert in Paris Offers Comment – Stephen Eule, vice president for climate and technology at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy:   “The Paris climate conference delivered more of the same—lots of promises and lots of issues still left unresolved.  While we are reviewing the final agreement, it’s clear that implementation still faces the same obstacles that we’ve been warning about for years.  None of the commitments made, including those by the U.S., are binding, and many aren’t even complete. Moreover, Congress must appropriate any funds that the Obama administration has pledged.  The White House’s overall domestic strategy of making energy more expensive and less abundant to satisfy international constituencies, many of whom compete against the United States, should worry the business community, American workers, and consumers. We will continue our efforts to understand how this deal affects the U.S. jobs and growth.”

Not Every Enviro is On Board – While most enviro groups swallowed hard, put on a happy face and supported the agreement, some wouldn’t go so quietly.  In response to the final agreement reached, Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute unloaded: “The plain truth is that Paris didn’t produce the strong, just and binding treaty we need to protect the planet’s most climate-vulnerable people and our very web of life from climate chaos. But the summit did highlight the growing power of a global movement for true climate justice.”  You can see the full extent of their complaints here.

 

With the climate agreement, here is some initial analysis.  

Historic? No So Much – It is impressive to get 195 nations to agree on anything and clearly a positive to have them all at a table talking about the issue of climate change.  I remain skeptical that this is a historic agreement but yet another incremental step that is much less bold and demanding than many advocates would ever have found remotely acceptable.  It is clear that nobody is really bound to anything other than to keep trying and reviewing their progress every five years, with no prescribed penalties for missing them.

Signal to Business – Secretary of State Kerry said the deal didn’t need to be mandatory because it still sends a strong signal to business that clean energy is only future.  “The result will be a very clear signal to the marketplace of the world, that people are moving into low-carbon, no-carbon, alternative, renewable energy, and I think it’s going to create millions of jobs, enormous investments into R&D, and that R&D is going to create the solutions, not government,” Kerry said.  Given the broad and always-changing nature of our energy picture, there may be some truth to his statement, but it is clear not as clear as Kerry says given the volatility of energy pricing, the key questions of infrastructure and reliability and the nature of regional differences in our energy mix.

Temperatures – As for the temperature goal, the vague wording remains as aspirational as ever with little hope of achieving the target through this agreement or any ensuing actions, especially since nobody will be bound to them.  Maybe emissions reductions, new technologies or increased political will can meet these goals, but it is unlikely and nearly every one participating in the UN process knows that.

Process is Flawed – This agreement underscores what I have argued since Kyoto in 1997.  Only small incremental steps can be achieved in this flawed UN Climate process, unless there is a new global dedication to innovation and technology advancement that is moved to the front and center.  Only a bold private-public innovation/technology partnership process like the one detailed at the beginning the Paris conference by world and business leaders can achieve success.

I find the following section intriguing, not to mention the parts in bold seem like great quotes:

1.    17. Notes with concern that the estimated aggregate greenhouse gas emission levels in 2025 and 2030 resulting from the intended nationally determined contributions do not fall within least-cost 2 ˚C scenarios but rather lead to a projected level of 55 gigatonnes in 2030, and also notes that much greater emission reduction efforts will be required than those associated with the intended nationally determined contributions in order to hold the increase in the global average temperature to below 2 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing emissions to 40 gigatonnes or to 1.5 ˚C above pre-industrial levels by reducing to a level to be identified in the special report referred to in paragraph 21 below;

2. The terms “invites” and “requests,” among others point to the degree to which this agreement lacks teeth.

3. ABC reprinted a summary that provides some interesting information http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/key-points-landmark-paris-climate-agreement-35735723>

Here are some of the key elements of the deal:

—LONG-TERM GOAL: The long-term objective of the agreement is to make sure global warming stays “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) and to “pursue efforts” to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Temperatures have already increased by about 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times. To achieve that goal, governments pledged to stop the rise in heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions “as soon as possible.” By some point after 2050, the agreement says, man-made emissions should be reduced to a level that forests and oceans can absorb.

—EMISSIONS TARGETS: In order to reach the long-term goal, countries agreed to set national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions every five years. More than 180 countries have already submitted targets for the first cycle beginning in 2020. Only developed countries are expected to slash their emissions in absolute terms; developing nations are “encouraged” to do so as their capabilities evolve over time. Until then, they are expected only to rein in the growth of emissions as their economies develop. The Paris deal doesn’t make national emissions reduction targets legally binding, so its success will largely depend on the effectiveness of a new system to revisit each country’s progress and raise targets every five years.

—REVIEWING TARGETS: The initial targets won’t be enough to put the world on a path to meet the long-term temperature goal. So the agreement asks governments to review their targets in the next four years and see if they can “update” them. That doesn’t require governments to deepen their cuts. But the hope is that it will be possible for them to do so if renewable energy sources become more affordable and effective. The Paris agreement attempts to lay down new rules to make sure all countries calculate and publicly report their emissions reductions in the same way after 2020, making it possible to keep track of global progress.  The US already has a sophisticated GHG tracking inventory and reports annually.  But developing countries are still new to international reporting on climate policies as evidenced by reports recently that large and sophisticated developing countries like China have been already underreporting emissions.

—TRANSPARENCY: There is no penalty for countries that miss their emissions targets. But the agreement has transparency rules to help encourage countries to actually do what they say they will do. That was one of the most difficult pieces to agree on, with China asking for softer requirements for developing countries. The agreement says all countries must report on their emissions and their efforts the reduce them. But it allows for some “flexibility” for developing countries that “need it.”

—MONEY: The agreement says wealthy countries should continue to offer financial support to help poor countries reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. It also encourages other countries to pitch in on a voluntary basis. That paves the way for emerging economies such as China to contribute, even though it doesn’t require them to do so. Actual dollar amounts were kept out of the agreement itself, but wealthy nations had previously pledged to provide $100 billion annually in climate finance by 2020.

—LOSS AND DAMAGE: In a victory for small island nations threatened by rising seas, the agreement includes a section recognizing “loss and damage” associated with climate-related disasters. The U.S. long objected to addressing the issue in the agreement, worried that it would lead to claims of compensation for damage caused by extreme weather events. In the end, the issue was included, but a footnote specifically stated that loss and damage does not involve liability or compensation.

—INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY:  The business community won on IP issues when direct references to IPR have been banished from the text. But that pleasure is tempered by the language that found its way into the text: “Accelerating, encouraging and enabling innovation is critical for an effective, long-term global response to climate change and promoting economic growth and sustainable development. Such effort shall be, as appropriate, supported, including through financial means by the Technology Mechanism and the Financial Mechanism of the Convention, for collaborative approaches to research and development, and facilitating access to technology, in particular for early stages of the technology cycle, to developing countries.”  Translation: We would like for developed countries to give us more money to buy down IPR and, who knows, maybe even provide compulsory licensing.

 

Enhanced Action Prior to 2020 – The whole section either “urges” or “recognizes.” For example, it “Urges host and purchasing Parties to report transparently on internationally transferred mitigation outcomes, including outcomes used to meet international pledges, and emission units issued under the Kyoto Protocol with a view to promoting environmental integrity and avoiding double counting;”

Can I have a strongly urges? –  Resolves to enhance the provision of urgent and adequate finance, technology and capacity-building support by developed country Parties in order to enhance the level of ambition of pre-2020 action by Parties, and in this regard strongly urges developed country Parties to scale up their level of financial support, with a concrete roadmap to achieve the goal of jointly providing USD 100 billion annually by 2020 for mitigation and adaptation while significantly increasing adaptation finance from current levels and to further provide appropriate technology and capacity-building support;

Asks for Another High Level Meeting before 2020 – “121. Agrees to convene, pursuant to decision 1/CP.20, paragraph 21, building on the Lima-Paris Action Agenda and in conjunction with each session of the Conference of the Parties during the period 2016–2020, a high-level event that:”… “Provides an opportunity for announcing new or strengthened voluntary efforts, initiatives and coalitions.”

What Comes Next – First, there will be a signature ceremony on April 22, 2016 that lays out the basic template for “ratification, acceptance, approval or accession,” and sets up a template for future dialogue.  Negotiators will meet again in Morocco next year in early November 7, 2016 in Marrakesh.  It will be the second time they have been to Marrakesh where the COP was held in 2001.  Many delegates never attended the Morocco meeting following the terrorists attacks in U.S. in September of that year.  Next year they will focus on innovation and adaption while continuing efforts to limit emissions.

One Significant Success on HFCs, Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – One great success that will probably achieve more than the entire Paris agreement was reached midway through the two week session.   Governments and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. At the Focus Event on SCLPs Action Agenda at COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.  They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs) which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).  Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

AHRI Knows the Value of HFCs, Montreal Protocol – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the trade association representing refrigerant producers and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers, commented on the topic recently when nations reached agreement on HFCs at 27th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in Dubai earlier in November.

“AHRI is very pleased that the signatories to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to work toward adoption of an amendment in 2016 to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants under the purview of the treaty and to work toward setting a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants,” Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal,” Yurek added.

 The AHRI research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP) has been underway since 2011 and is now in its second phase.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at Health Impacts, Octane – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing today at 1:00 p.m. examining the health impacts of current octane sources and the need for cleaner, cost-effective octane providers. Octane is necessary for vehicle performance and increasing octane volumes would enable highly efficient engines. At the same time, octane-boosters in use today have historically been highly toxic compounds. But cleaner alternatives are available–namely biofuels.  Speakers for this forum are DOE’s Reuben Sarkar, Carol Kwiatkowski of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and former GM engineer Dean Drake.

US AID Head Addresses Climate, Asia Developing Countries – The Stimson Center will hold a forum tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. looking at climate change and developing countries in Asia.  USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia Jonathan Stivers will discuss the challenges that climate change and environmental protection pose for developing countries in Asia and the cooperative and leadership opportunities that it creates for the US Rebalance. Stimson’s Brian Eyler will provide regional context and moderate questions.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion tomorrow looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

Forum Focused on Fusion – The American Security Project will host a panel discussion tomorrow at Noon on Fusion Energy. The event will focus on leaders in fusion energy from the private sector and research labs to discuss the significant progress made in advancing fusion and what this clean, safe, and abundant energy source means for America’s national security and energy future.  Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.

TX Co-Op CEO Feature in Energy times Webinar – The Energy Times will interview Perdernales Electric Cooperative CEO John Hewa and discuss his co-op’s innovations in a webcast on Wednesday at 2:00 p.m.   Perdernales is one of the nation’s largest rural electric co-ops and emerging as the vanguard of innovators when it comes to engaging and partnering with its member-consumers  in supporting their energy goals.  In a recent interview, Hewa laid out his vision for crafting effective strategies to achieve advancements in demand response, energy efficiency and increased renewable partnerships in its central Texas territory, including fast-growing regions outside of Austin and San Antonio.  You can register here.

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

STEM Reception to Honor Efforts – STEM4US! will host a Talk & Congressional Reception om Thursday evening in B-369 Rayburn on investing in STEM.   The event will feature executives from some of the most well-known brands in energy, technology/telecom, and health sciences along with Members of Congress and other leaders for a conversation about the impact of their investments in STEM and growing the pipeline of diverse workers in the energy, tech, and telecom fields.  Particular focus will be given to initiatives in exciting and inspiring youth about good-paying, sustainable STEM jobs as a way of stemming the spike in violence sweeping the nation.  STEM4US! is an advocacy organization formed to provide universities, schools, and parents with the tools to excite and prepare young people for careers in energy, technology, and other STEM fields.

Caruso to Address Energy Economists – The US Assn of Energy Economics will host Guy Caruso, former EIA Administrator (2002-2008) and current senior adviser in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, on Friday at Noon for a reflective one-on-one conversation about what he’s seen during his career in energy and what the world of tomorrow will look like.

Energy Update: Week of December 7

Friends,

The first night of Hanukah (seems early this year) was overshadowed last night by the Kennedy Center Honors award that feature some real music and Hollywood star power in DC.  With the latest rendition of Star Wars less than two weeks from theaters, George Lucas was praised for his contributions to all our childhood memories.  And December 7th also reminds us of our loss at Pearl Harbor Hawaii in 1941 that launched our participation in WW II.  Next year, it will be 75 years and starting today the National WWII Museum is raising awareness for events leading up to next year’s commemoration which features a weeklong tour and four-part symposium focusing on the event incidents leading up to that fateful day.  The events will include visits to historic sites such as the USS Arizona Memorial, a private dinner on the deck of the USS Missouri and a ceremony commemorating the 75th anniversary of the attacks.

It will remain busy this week in Washington and Paris.  In DC, Congress is negotiating a budget package while across the pond in France, the Administration’s top energy and environment officials are in Paris to highlight its carbon reduction pledges and press for a deal to address climate change.

We have a full report on Paris below after negotiators released the latest draft agreement for Ministers as they begin the final push.  The draft discusses provisions on climate finance, liability, carbon reductions, but still hasn’t been able to overcome concerns about temperature limits, the divide between developed nations and developing countries and whether it should be legally binding.

Here is DC, look for the budget deal making to hit high gear this week.  One of the key talking points is focused a possible swap to allow the crude oil export ban to be lifted.  Still a lot to do on this though and late last week, Kirk Lippold, the former Commander of the USS Cole (which was attacked by terrorists in Yemen in 2000) sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.

As for Committees, House Science goes into Biotech issues tomorrow, while Presidential candidate and Commerce panel Chair Senator Ted Cruz will chair a hearing on Climate change tomorrow afternoon.    Senate Energy looks in to terrorism and oil on Thursday.

Busy week…  I’m monitoring Paris closely (and have good resources on the ground) so let me know if you have questions or need sources.  Taking a break for the Detroit Red Wings and the Capitals tomorrow night.  STILL HAVE A TICKET OR TWO IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN JOINING ME.  Let me know.

 

Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS CONTINUES ON

New Draft Text Out – Over the weekend, negotiators managed to submit a new draft text, which will now move onto the ministerial level for approving the final package. The new draft text includes a 21-page legally-binding “agreement,” a 22-page non-binding “decision” and a five-page “annex.” While to many the text is seen as a sign of progress, it does not meaningfully remedy the core issues facing negotiators. For example, the issues of climate financing, global temperature goals in centigrade, and long-term goals have yet been fully dealt with. Currently, the document contains more than 900 square brackets, used to note areas of considerable disagreement. “That’s how you can track progress in the negotiations — is where the brackets are,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the climate program at the World Resources Institute. “All the difficult political issues remain unsolved, and will be solved by the ministers,” said Miguel Arias Canete, the European Union’s Climate Commissioner. “Next week is the week of compromise; it’s a difficult week,” he told a news conference. “Nothing has been decided and nothing will be left behind,” said French climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana. “This text marks the will of all to reach an agreement. We are not at the end of the route. Major political issues are yet to be resolved,” she warned. Others, including Nozipho Joyce Mxakato-Diseko, the chair of the influential G77 and China bloc of developing countries praised the text. She said on Twitter that she “welcomes that we now have a Party-driven negotiating text.”  Negotiators are due to reach a final accord on Friday, but the talks are widely expected to run into overtime, as previous summits have. A full copy of the draft text can be found on the UNFCCC website, available here.

Some Specific issues –

  • Finance – This will remain a controversial issues until the end, but it seems it will be divided into two or three options.  On the first point, the options are either to say that financial flows have to follow towards a low-emission, climate-resilient future depending on countries’ “sustainable development priorities and efforts to eradicate poverty,” or will be provided from wealthy countries on the U.N.’s Annex 2 list of OECD countries that were not deemed “economies in transition” in 1992.
  • Responsibilities –  The phrase first proposed by the U.S. and China in November 2014, “in the light of different national circumstances,” is still there at the beginning of the agreement, and the square brackets are now gone. The language is aimed at breaking down the rigid divide between the wealthy, who have traditionally shouldered the brunt of responsibility for climate change, and poorer countries that are still industrializing.
  • Loss, Damages – Developing countries would like to see the developed world – which emitted most of the CO2, historically – help them deal with damage from rising sea levels, hurricanes and other effects of climate change. But while the U.S. and European Union are willing to pony up, they don’t want to expose themselves to massive legal liability. Delegates are arguing over two matters: 1) A plan to address losses and damages for both ‘extreme events’ and ‘slow onset events’ caused by climate change. Or 2) simply offer no reference to loss and damage, a position likely unacceptable to the G77.
  • 1.5 or 2 C degree – Still undecided (see more below on the island nations), there remains a large challenge over whether the temperature rise goal will be less than 1.5 or 2 degrees Celsius by 2100.  Those words are mentioned throughout the text.  There is also text requiring the IPCC to provide a special report in 2018 or 2019 on the effects of a 1.5 degree temperature rise and the emissions cuts needed to reach that limit. Saudi Arabia blocked the inclusion of 1.5 degrees in yesterday’s discussion, saying it was in the interest of developing countries.  US lead Negotiator Todd Stern says today the limit will stay at 2C.
  • Intellectual Property – Still nothing on IP issues yet.  This remains a major problem in the tech transfer debate but still remains in flux.

How It Works – The French have really taken over the administration of the negotiations and lead official Laurent Fabius is running the show under a stern, precise schedule.  Our friends from POLITICO say negotiators have formed a committee (almost like the Committee of the Whole House when the House of Reps legislates) where much of the draft text will be negotiated.  While the Committee is meeting for the first time now, closed door meetings remain a constant.  Fabius has been clear that officials must be finalized by the weekend, trying to avoid the typical overtime sessions that these events often run into.  Finally, Fabius has also developed a team of 14 “facilitators” pairing negotiators from a developed and developing country, with each responsible for the central policy areas still in play.

 

EVENTS

Sen Dems In Paris – Speaking of Senators, Democratic Sens. Ben Cardin (Md.), Ed Markey (Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.), Brian Schatz (Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Al Franken (MN), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (NM) and Cory Booker (NJ) traveled to Paris over the weekend, returning today in time for Senate Budget action.  Led by Cardin, the delegation met with U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, former Vice President Al Gore, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, the U.S. negotiating team and delegates from other countries during their trip.

EPA, Energy Kerry In the House – EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz and Sect of State Kerry are all in Paris for the second week push.  McCarthy arrived on Saturday and will be in Paris through December 10, While in Paris, McCarthy will highlight the Obama administration’s new greenhouse gas rules for power plants. She’ll appear with Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Union’s Energy and Climate Action commissioner for an event on the rule today.   Tomorrow at 5:15 a.m. EDT, Moniz will participate in the Clean Energy Ministerial on implementation and ambition beyond Paris, while at 6:45 a.m., McCarthy will hold a side event on EPA’s role in meeting the US climate action plan.  Finally, McCarthy will lead a White House CEQ side event on implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan on Thursday at 7:15 a.m.

You can see news and each day’s agenda Here:  http://newsroom.unfccc.int/

You can watch live here: http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/

Monday – Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference tonight at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary, Climate Hustle.

Tuesday – The Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) will host a presser at 1:00 pm Paris time, Room 3 to issue a call to action to governments to create strong signals for clean energy investment in the Paris climate change agreement. Press conference participants will also discuss the actions taken by these companies and sectors to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Among the speakers BCSE’s Lisa Jacobson, AGA’s Kathryn Clay, Johnson Controls’ Clay Nester and Bloom Energy’s KR Sridhar.  You can see live steam here.

Tuesday – Former VP and climate gadfly Al Gore delivers a slide presentation on the impacts of and solutions to the climate crisis, La Loire, Blue Zone

Wednesday – Moniz, California Gov. Jerry Brown, UN official Christiana Figueres and OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria will hold a side-event discussion on the future of energy.

Wednesday – OSTP Director John Holdren, NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan discuss the climate and the Energy-Water-Food Nexus solving interdisciplinary problems with interdisciplinary solutions.

Wednesday –  EEI and the International Emissions Trading Association co-sponsor an event to highlight how utilities might use carbon trading markets to meet CPP targets.  Officials from PG&E, Calpine Corp. and Berkshire Hathaway will participate, and EPA air chief Janet McCabe will speak.

Thursday – Business leaders will hold a side event in Room 5 at 3:00 pm Paris time which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.

 

OTHER CLIMATE/PARIS NEWS

Cutting Short-Lived Climate Pollutants – on Friday, Governments and industry leaders in the Climate and Clean Air Coalition committed to further essential advances in reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) that have a global warming potential many times that of the main greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. At the Focus Event on SCLPs Action Agenda at COP21, the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), whose Secretariat is hosted by the United Nations Environment Program, committed to double their membership in two key initiatives to reduce these pollutants – in freight and landfills – as well as detailing advances in the critical area of refrigeration.  They pushed forward a proposal for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to phase down under Montreal Protocol, jointly with many ministers. The Protocol signed in 1987 aimed at suppressing gas harming the ozone layer (CFCs) which have been mainly replaced by hydrofluorocarbon gas (HFCs).  Reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants – HFCs, methane, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone – is essential to keep the global temperature rise below 2°C and to improve air quality. Action in this area contributes to meet the main international climate change objective, improves public health, saves massive costs on medical care and avoids severe pollution damage to the environment, all at the same time.

AHRI Knows the Value of HFCs, Montreal Protocol – The Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, the trade association representing refrigerant producers and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers, commented on the topic recently when nations reached agreement on HFCs at 27th Meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in Dubai earlier in November.

“AHRI is very pleased that the signatories to the Montreal Protocol have agreed to work toward adoption of an amendment in 2016 to include hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants under the purview of the treaty and to work toward setting a schedule to phase down the worldwide use of these refrigerants,” Yurek said  “AHRI has supported including HFCs in the Montreal Protocol for many years. Even as other MP signatories have debated the original North American Proposal to do so, AHRI’s member companies — including refrigerant producers and original equipment manufacturers —  have proactively been researching potential alternative refrigerants to ensure that the world’s air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers will have access to appropriate refrigerants.  AHRI, U.S. government agencies, and energy efficiency advocacy groups have all worked diligently for many years to ensure a phase-down of these chemicals.   This collaboration is an excellent example of what can be accomplished when all parties work together in good faith to achieve a common goal,” Yurek added.

The AHRI research program, known as the Low-Global Warming Potential Alternative Refrigerants Evaluation Program (Low-GWP AREP) has been underway since 2011 and is now in its second phase.

NRECA Joins Event to Highlight Co-op Role – Yesterday, NRECA’s Martin Lowery joined cooperative representatives from Germany and France in Paris to discuss the cooperatives’ contribution to developing renewables and increasing energy efficiency at an event sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance.  At the event, leaders discussed the intrinsic qualities of co-operatives that allows them to be natural allies in fighting climate change, especially considering their long-term commitment, their resilience, and their capacity to simultaneously act on several levels. Firstly, co-operatives have long-term commitment. As they are not listed on the stock exchange, they are under no obligation to act according to their share price, nor are they dependent upon the opinions of analysts.  Naturally, to be commercially viable, they must be cost-efficient, but they are able to invest according to a broader horizon. They can consider the consequences of their actions for future generations, a determining skill when fighting climate change.  As businesses serving individuals and communities, co-operatives have proven their great resilience and their capacity to endure crises. In doing so, they contribute to stable economies. Their model can be adapted and used anywhere in the world.

Harbert Takes on Climate Issues – Karen Harbert, the president and CEO of the Energy Institute, was on Maria Bartiromo’s Fox News show on Monday explaining why American consumers and businesses should be seriously concerned about the COP21 negotiations.  She outlined the consequences America will face if the Obama administration continues its push for an unrealistic and lopsided climate agreement, including:

  • How the Obama Administration is making promises it won’t be able to keep.
  • How a lopsided agreement would favor U.S. competitors and put America’s energy advantage at risk.
  • How some of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases, like China and India, get a free pass to emit as much as they want.
  • How the pledges countries have made will have no real impact on emissions.
  • How the Obama Administration will most likely commit the U.S. to greenhouse gas reductions without advice or approval from Congress.

Chamber Launches Site to Monitor Talks – One way you can stay informed about how this conference is to visit the new Chamber  COP21 webpage to learn more about the conference, learn the Obama administrations’ plans, and get updates throughout the two-week meeting.   USCoC’s Steve Eule is headed to Paris and will be reporting.

Barrasso releases Senate Report – Senator John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Multilateral International Development, Multilateral Institutions, and International Economic, Energy, and Environmental Policy, released a new report entitled: Senate Outlook on United States International Strategy on Climate Change in Paris 2015. The report outlines how President Obama plans to bypass Congress and transfer American taxpayer funds overseas. It also highlights how the president is undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris.

Key Findings Highlighted in the Report:

  • The president is forcing American taxpayers to pay for past economic success through his contributions to the Green Climate Fund.
  • The president and foreign nations in Paris plan to bypass Congress to reach a climate change deal, thus eliminating the voice of the American people who are opposed to his climate change policies.
  • The president is demonstrating failed leadership as he is making false promises to foreign countries about his capability to meet his greenhouse gas reduction targets.
  • By undermining American sovereignty and binding the American people to targets and timetables for greenhouse gas reduction targets in Paris, the president is threatening jobs, industries and communities at home.  

11 Countries Still Haven’t Made Pledges – Only 11 countries, for varying reasons, have yet to submit their individual pledges for carbon emissions reductions at the international climate summit in Paris.

Nicaragua, which has a booming renewable energy sector, refused to submit a goal because the developed world needs to take “historic responsibility” and make deeper cuts than it has proposed so far.  Venezuela’s minister of eco-socialism, Guillermo Barreto, said his country is waiting to see what other countries promise before submitting a target.  Other countries that have not submitted goals include North Korea, which isn’t participating in the climate talks; Syria, which is gripped by civil war; Libya, which remains politically unstable; and Nepal, which usually plays a key role in climate negotiations but is recovering from this year’s devastating earthquake.  The other holdouts are Uzbekistan, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, Tonga, and East Timor, the only country of the 40 aided by the United Nations Development Program.

Bhutan is Biggest Pledge – The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan has made the world’s most far-reaching climate promise to the Paris climate summit, according to the ‘carbon comparator’ tool developed by the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).  Almost three quarters of the mountainous nation is covered in forests, often watered by snowmelt rivers, and Bhutan has pledged to reforest its land even further. Last summer, it set a world record for the most trees planted in one hour – nearly 50,000.  The country is now an unparalleled carbon sink, absorbing three times more CO2 emissions than its 700,000 population produces, mostly through hydropower. A substantial portion of the country lacks access to the electricity grid, however.

Kerry Rolling Stone Interview – Some much for actually discussing music, Rolling Stone after featuring Al Gore, James Hansen and President Obama, have Now turned their praise to John  Kerry.  Kerry, in his infinite brilliance, says climate change is the fight of our times.   Here is the Jeff Goodell Interview.

UN Report Favors Renewables –A head-to-head U.N. Environment Program analysis comparing the environmental impacts of six power generation sources found that while no electricity fuel is benign, renewable resources such as wind and solar present a tiny fraction of the environmental downsides of coal and natural gas. The report found  that renewable energy produces only 5 to 6% of the greenhouse gas emissions of comparably sized coal-fired power generation under a life-cycle scenario. Wind and solar fared similarly well against natural gas, producing only 8 to 10% of the greenhouse gases of comparable gas-fired power plants.  Other environmental damages — including impacts of water and mineral resources — were three to eight times lower for renewable energy resources than for fossil fuels based on a life-cycle evaluation, the analysis found. In addition to coal, natural gas, wind and solar, the analysis evaluated the impacts of hydropower and geothermal energy. It did not evaluate nuclear power.

Bill Gates Weighs in On Nuclear – One person was talking nuclear.  Following the big Breakthrough Coalition roll out, Bill Gates said nuclear power must be a part any clean energy future.  Gates joined with Nuclear for Climate, an initiative launched by members of the French Nuclear Energy Society (SFEN), the American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the European Nuclear Society (ENS). It now brings together nuclear professionals and scientists from all parts of the globe, through the representation of 140 regional and national nuclear associations and technical societies.  They outline a number of key principles on nuclear power and is role as part of the solution.  You can see those here.

Re-Write May include Public/Private Funding– With the Still divisions between developing and developed countries as wide as ever, the G77 and China have expressed specific concern that developed countries are trying to re-write the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change by aiming to include private as well as public money to pay for climate change costs (developing countries prefer government cash) and make better-off developing countries shoulder more of the burden.

Island Nations Demanding 1.5 C Limit – Negotiators from small island nations and countries that are the most vulnerable to climate change are pushing to include language in the agreement that lowers the current target for limiting the rise in global temperatures from 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels. Media reports say tensions over the issue continue to boil over in closed-door meetings in the backroom negotiations.  here last night and

UN Climate Head Temp Demand Won’t Crash Deal – Given the realization already expressed by US and other leaders, delegates have been raising significant concerns whether it could threaten the outcome of the talks.  The buzz has caught the attention of UN Climate chief Christiana Figueres, who told reporters, “No, we do not think that that is going to block [a final deal]. Everyone here agrees that we do need to head for the deepest decarbonization pathways.”  She said there is room to negotiate a compromise on the issue, adding, “It is not a discussion about the temperatures. That is just a proxy. It is a discussion about the decarbonization of the economy.” Of course, the type of disagreement won’t collapse the talks because most countries are likely to agree to anything that will create a deal without any real intention of following through anyway, so it won’t matter if it is 2 or 1.5 C, it will be whatever it takes.

Report: Island Residents Will Relocate – Speaking of Island countries, a new first-of-its-kind survey by the U.N. University and the European Union says many residents of low-lying Pacific islands would consider moving if the impacts of climate change — like storms and rising seas — worsen, yet few have enough money to do so.  Respondents from more than 70% of households surveyed in Kiribati and Tuvalu and 35% of those in Nauru said they would be willing to move if climate change worsened. With average monthly earnings at $12 per capita, only 26% of the 6,852 people surveyed in the three nations believed they had enough savings to migrate.

Can’t Please Them All – Tuvalu’s prime minister and a top climate negotiator Enele Sosene Sopoaga was annoyed He wasn’t Invite to President Obama’s Island Meeting last week and he accused the President of trying to divide island nations at the climate change negotiations.  He also said that vulnerable countries should to stand firm in their push for recognition of the losses and damage faced by poor countries.

Cuts by Cities, Regions, Companies Alone Surpass Total Global Iron/Steel Sector – Global action in support of a new, universal climate change agreement that unlocks faster progress towards a low-carbon, resilient future for all was revealed today in a report by Yale University which underscores the speed, breadth and depth of growing alignment between government, cities, business and civil society.

The report by Yale’s Data Driven Environmental Solutions finds that the combined greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments recorded in two UN-backed platforms by cities, regions and companies alone surpasses the global emissions of the iron and steel sector.  Released on the eve of the UN climate conference’s Action Day-COP21, the report also finds that 15 of the world’s 20 largest banks totaling close to $2 trillion in market value have made commitments to act and green bonds worth close to $50 billion are financing climate projects.

Polls Show Low Concern Over Climate – Opinion polls taken in the run-up to the United Nations’ climate conference in Paris show battling climate change is not high on the agenda for many people around the world.  GlobeScan surveyed approximately 1,000 people in each of 20 countries and found majorities in only four – Canada, France, Spain, and the UK – would have their governments set ambitious targets at the Paris climate conference. GlobeScan found less than half of those surveyed viewed climate change as a “very serious” problem in 2015, compared with 63 percent who did so in a similar GlobeScan survey taken just before an international climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009. In 2009, majorities in eight countries wanted strong climate action. The number of survey participants rating climate change as a very serious issue meriting strong action has increased in only four of the 20 countries polled, declining in the other 16 countries.  Closer to home, a November Fox News poll of more than 1,000 registered voters in the United States found only 3 percent listed “climate change” as the most important issue facing the country today, down from 5 percent in August. Six percent of registered Democrats surveyed listed global warming as their top concern, as did 1 percent of registered Republicans.

 

MORE RESOURCES

Special thanks to my long-time friend and former NYT science reporter Andy Revkin for his resource suggestions.  He is covering for NYT and Pace University at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/?_r=0

Here are some excellent standing sources of information:

Twitter: A recommended first stop, of course, is Twitter, through the hashtag #COP21. For important secondary issues, there’s #climatefinance and #climatejustice.

What’s Going On: For basic developments at the negotiations, there’s no better source than the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, with a name dating from when it was a hastily printed flyer in the early days of environmental treaty-making. It’s now an excellent online portal and has a very active Twitter feed, @IISDRSClimate Home is similar and similarly helpful.

Website On Paris: One of the most significant signs that this round of talks was different than in previous years came when Climate Nexus, a climate communication initiative set up in 2011 by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisers, launched a website on the talks called TheRoadThroughParis.org. It could as easily have been The Road to Paris, but in that subtle shift, made the important point that what is being created is a long-term process more than some grand outcome. The related Twitter feed is @ClimateNexus.  Even if you reject the policy prescriptions or science interpretations of the Global Warming Policy Forum, the director, Benny Peiser, is an energetic aggregator of climate coverage that you might otherwise miss. I tell my communication students at Pace University that it’s important to recognize the “filter bubble” we tend to create around ourselves and poke one’s head out on occasion.

NYT Portal on Paris: The Times news desk has also set up a portal for running coverage called “Chasing a Climate Deal in Paris.”
IN THE NEWS

USS Cole Commander to Ryan, McConnell:  Crude Exports are Risk – Given the Congressional budget discussions surrounding a possible crude exports deal, the former commander of the USS Cole, Kirk Lippold sent a letter to Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell warning about security risks associated with repealing the crude export ban and tapping the Strategic Petroleum Reserve as a budget pay-for.  Lippold, who was commander of the USS Cole when it was bombed by al-Qaida terrorists in Yemen in 2000, killing 17 U.S. sailors.

Solar Report Shows Corporate Growth – Growth in the use of solar energy has surged 183% among America’s top companies in the four years since the first Solar Means Business report was published. The study by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) also shows a 59% growth in solar installations since just last year.  For the fourth year in a row, Walmart ranked #1 in the Solar Means Business report, which identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users. The big box retailer, based in Bentonville, Ark., boasts a robust 142 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity at 348 locations.  Other top companies recognized for both their amount of solar capacity and number of solar installations include Kohl’s, Apple, Macy’s, Walgreens, Target, IKEA, Prologis, FedEx, Intel, General Motors, Verizon, Johnson & Johnson, Bed Bath & Beyond, Safeway, Hartz Mountain, Staples, L’Oreal, Kaiser Permanente and Toyota.

UMich Study Questions CCS Economics – A new study from University of Michigan researchers  says there are serious flaws in a decade’s worth of studies about the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stabilize the climate.  The U-M researchers have found that most economic analysis of carbon capture and storage, or CCS, technology for coal-fired power plants severely underestimates the technique’s costs and overestimates its energy efficiency.   The new analysis puts the cost of reducing carbon emissions with CCS-equipped coal plants higher than any previous study—and most importantly, higher than wind and comparable to solar power. It’s the first study to confront the so-called “energy loop” inherent in the CCS process.  Beyond a one-time “energy penalty” these plants pay because they have to burn more coal to power devices that capture carbon, the researchers say the disadvantage compounds until fuel costs leap to four times today’s accepted estimates. The paper on the findings, titled Reassessing the Efficiency Penalty from Carbon Capture in Coal-Fired Power Plants was published in Environmental Science and Technology and was funded by the National Science Foundation.

Pompeo Calls for Reg Moratorium – Following last week’s roll out of the Administration’s overburdensome regulatory agenda,  Rep. Mike Pompeo wrote Speaker Ryan urging him to consider an 18-month “pause” on Energy Department efficiency rulemaking into the omnibus spending bill.   In his letter, the Kansas Republican said that while the EPA’s Clean Power Plan had garnered a lot of attention on Capitol Hill, DOE’s efficiency rules were being rushed out with little recognition of the costs.  Pompeo praised amendments to the original fiscal 2016 energy and water spending bill from his GOP colleagues that would defund DOE regulatory work on ceiling fans, incandescent lamps and residential furnaces. But he’s opted to go for everything on the whole menu.

Oil Jobs Taking a Hit – While the economy’s job number improved in November, the number of people employed in the U.S. oil and gas extraction sector fell by 2,400 in November to 184,800 on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the monthly data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The November figure was 16,200 down from the 201,000 people who were employed in the sector a year earlier, when the industry began sharply ramping back spending on oil drilling as oil prices tumbled.  Employment levels in the coal extraction sector also continued to decline, slipping 1,300 in November to 64,900. Those workers had numbered 72,700 a year ago.  For years, while the economy struggled, the oil and gas sector carried the job number on its back, but with low global prices still struggling to rebound, the sector continues to lose jobs.

PSEG Exec to Head AGA Board – While assuming the 2016 Board Chairmanship of the  American Gas Association (AGA), PSE&G President and COO Ralph LaRossa said the US has an opportunity to create jobs and revitalize our economy through increased use of natural gas.  At an event at AGA headquarters in Washington, DC this morning, LaRossa shared his vision for investing in the next generation of the energy workforce.   “A diverse and motivated workforce is the key to continued success in the energy sector,” LaRossa said. “People who are dedicated and focused on delivering good quality service are going to serve the customers in the best way possible.”  LaRossa also discussed several priorities for making his vision a reality, including the continued improvement and efficiency of the nation’s pipeline infrastructure, the recently introduced SAFE PIPES ACT, the significant role natural gas plays in spurring economic growth, and helping to ensure the infrastructure is in place to expand delivery of natural gas to more homes and businesses.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

Forum to Look at GHG Rules – POWER magazine is hosting a one-day conference in Las Vegas today that will provide power generators and industry partners with access to the latest developments and insights concerning the legal aspects of compliance with environmental regulations.  The conference looks at existing power plants’ financial, legal, or operational decisions about compliance with environmental regulations.  EPA General Counsel Avi Garbow and former Air Office head Bob Meyers are among the speakers.

NJ Event to Look at Grid – National Journal LIVE will hold a forum tomorrow on powering the 21st Century and making the grid work for all consumers.    The event will explore Washington’s role in encouraging energy innovation, the future of the grid and how best to ensure the benefits of new power generation methods are sustainable and extended to all communities.  The nation’s policy makers, innovators, stakeholders and thought leaders will conduct a robust conversation about grid modernization and the future of American energy.  Speakers will include North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, ACORE’s Todd Foley, Opower’s  Jim Kapsis, RFF’s Phil Sharp, DOE’s Karen Wayland and several more.

House Science Panel to Look at Biotech – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Research and Technology will hold a hearing tomorrow on the future of biotechnology.  The hearing will look at solutions for energy, agriculture and manufacturing.  Witnesses will include Mary Maxon of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Steve Evans of Dow AgroSciences, Martin Dickman of Texas A&M’s  Institute for Plant Genomics and Biotech and several others.

Senate Commerce to Take on Climate – The Senate Commerce Committee Panel on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will hold a hearing tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. on the debate over the magnitude of human impact on Earth’s climate. The hearing will focus on the ongoing debate over climate science, the impact of federal funding on the objectivity of climate research, and the ways in which political pressure can suppress opposing viewpoints in the field of climate science.  Witnesses will include John Christy of the University of Alabama-Huntsville, Georgia Tech’s Judy Curry, Princeton’s Will Happer, author Mark Steyn and Penn State’s David Titley, who serves are the director of the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be held tomorrow and Wednesday in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

Heritage to Look at New Silk Road Energy Issues – The Heritage Foundation is holding a forum on Wednesday looking at transportation and energy issues in the 21st Century in the traditional “Silk Road” region.  The area from the Baltic and the Mediterranean to the Pacific is more active than ever. In the area includes the Southern Gas Corridor, will significantly affect the political climate in Eurasia. The Gas Corridor is especially important in light of the complicated relationships between Russia and the European Union and Turkey.  The Heritage forum will focus on the future of The New Silk Road and new transportation projects such as the Port of Baku and the Kars-Tbilisi-Erzurum railroad. Our speakers will address the technical, political, economic, and security concerns related to each of the projects and routes as well as the infrastructure needs, potential pitfalls, and opportunity costs.  Keynote speakers will include State Department Energy official Amos Hochstein and Georgian Defense Minister Tinatin Khidashell.

Group to Look at Role of Nuclear – The Global Nexus Initiative will hold a briefing at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room on Wednesday at noon on the role of nuclear power in addressing climate change, expectations for the UNFCCC COP-21, and release of policy memo and recommendations.  Featured speakers will include Partnership for Global Security President Ken Luongo, NEI’s Mary Pietrzyk and former Natsource exec Richard Rosenzweig.

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

NAPE Hits Denver – The National Assn of Petroleum Engineers (NAPE) will hold their annual conference and expo in Denver on Wednesday and Thursday.  The Business Conference will hear from Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and will feature other  leading executives, experts and speakers to examine E&P trends, legislative and regulatory challenges, technical advances and other topics.

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its Thursday Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda. Among other items, FERC’s Clark will discuss current priorities and critical issues like the electric system reliability, particularly in light of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan, capacity performance issues, with new programs in the PJM and New England, the role of demand response and the case now filed at the Supreme Court and other key issues.

Senate Energy to Look at Terrorism, Oil – On Thursday, the Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine terrorism and the global oil markets.

Forum to Look at US-Japan Energy – The Howard Baker Forum, the United States-Japan Roundtable and the Reischauer Center for East Asia Studies will host a forum on Thursday addressing the US-Japanese challenges of energy security and climate change.   The event will focus on how the two strategic partners address challenges like  what role must nuclear power play and mitigating climate concerns.

Event Looks at Demand-Side Innovations – The George Washington University and the Center for International Science and Technology Policy will host a forum on Thursday looking at demand-side innovations.  For many years, innovation policy has focused on the support of the supply side, looking at market and system failures that prevent those generating innovation from doing so effectively and efficiently enough. In recent years, however, demand side policies have had a revival in the innovation policy debate. However, their application is still contested, and the roll out of those measures does not keep pace with the rhetoric about them. University of Manchester Alliance Business School’s Jakob Edler will speak.  He is the director of the Manchester Institute of Innovation Research.  Edler will introduce the concept of demand side innovation policy, explain why and when they are justified and present and discuss a typology of instruments. It will then discuss the major challenges of demand side policy instruments which all too often are not known to or underestimated by policy makers. The lecture will highlight some of those challenges using the example of public procurement of innovation, and will close with an appeal to a radically new way of understanding and applying innovation policy.

CNAS Forum to Look at Climate Security, Mitgration – On Friday at 10:00 a.m., the Center for New American Security will host an event on climate security and migration. The event will explore questions of how the United States, in collaboration with foreign partners, multilateral institutions, and civil society, should tackle future climate migration. Climate-related issues are  become increasingly severe and manifest in issues such as migration that policy leaders will need to address in the near and mid-term. Potential mass migration events in the future will have global and local implications from governance, policy, technical, legal and financial perspectives, and may feature a climate or weather nexus in managing the causes and consequences of migration. The events over the summer and fall in Europe, albeit not due to climate change, were illustrative of the scale of the challenges involved for policymakers and security leaders. Climatic change will add another layer to the challenges the global community will face in addressing migration, including explicitly climate change-driven migration, in the years ahead. Against this backdrop, CNAS’s event looks to bring together perspectives from both sides of the Atlantic on the ways in which members of the international community can partner together to address the impacts of climate change and migration.  Speakers will include Richard Fontaine, Lars Bo Møller, Sharon E. Burke, Daniel Chiu, Sherri Goodman, and more.

Carnegie Event to Look at Oil, Climate – On Friday at 11:00 a.m., the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Bloomberg Intelligence are co-hosting an event to discuss the future of oil and climate change in the twenty-first century. This event will be held in conjunction with the COP21 climate conference. The event takes place in Salle 10 of the “Climate Generations” area at the COP21 facilities in Le Bourget.  Speakers include Carnegie’s Deborah Gordon and Bloomberg Intelligence’s Rob Barrett, as well as several others.

Forum to Look at DoD Climate Readiness – The American Security Project will hold a forum on Friday at Noon featuring Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, Safety & Occupational Health.  Sullivan is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the Department’s climate change adaptation efforts. She will give an update on DoD efforts around Climate Change.  Two members of ASP’s Board of Directors, Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.) and BGen Stephen Cheney, USMC (Ret.) will also report on what they have learned as a part of ASP’s national climate security tour, and how important the DoD’s efforts on climate change are for national climate preparedness.
FUTURE EVENTS

Forum to Look at Health Impacts, Octane – The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) will hold a briefing next Monday at 1:00 p.m. examining the health impacts of current octane sources and the need for cleaner, cost-effective octane providers. Octane is necessary for vehicle performance and increasing octane volumes would enable highly efficient engines. At the same time, octane-boosters in use today have historically been highly toxic compounds. But cleaner alternatives are available–namely biofuels.  Speakers for this forum are DOE’s Reuben Sarkar, Carol Kwiatkowski of the Endocrine Disruption Exchange and former GM engineer Dean Drake.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 15th looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.

Forum Focused on Fusion – The American Security Project will host a panel discussion next Tuesday at Noon on Fusion Energy. The event will focus on leaders in fusion energy from the private sector and research labs to discuss the significant progress made in advancing fusion and what this clean, safe, and abundant energy source means for America’s national security and energy future.  Leading experts in fusion from the public and private sector will discuss the new developments that have been featured over the last several months in major media outlets like Time Magazine, the New York Times, Science and Nature. ASP is the leading think tank detailing a plan for the future of fusion.

Forum to Look at COP21 Results – The Wilson Center, George Mason University, and World Resources Institute will host a forum on Wednesday December 16th at 3:00 p.m. to look at the results of the Paris Climate Conference.  A panel of experts will discuss how COP21 unfolded and what was accomplished. Speakers will also discuss how the outcomes of negotiations will affect efforts to tackle climate change in the United States and abroad, what was left on table for future discussions, and how any agreement plays out in the continuing evolution of climate change policy. The event is part of the ongoing “Managing Our Planet” series, jointly developed by George Mason University and the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute and its Environmental Change and Security Program.  Speakers include WRI’s Andrew Steer, GMU’s Andrew Light, White NSC advisor Paul Bodnar and Wilson’s Roger-Mark De Souza.

Caruso to Address Energy Economists – Next Friday, the US Assn of Energy Economics will host Guy Caruso, former EIA Administrator (2002-2008) and current senior adviser in the Energy and National Security Program at CSIS, for a reflective one-on-one conversation about what he’s seen during his career in energy and what the world of tomorrow will look like.

Paris Climate Update: December 1

Friends,

What a way to come back from the Thanksgiving Holiday.  This week is going be crazy and may be the busiest energy/environment week of the year.  The major actions include the Paris Climate meetings already under way in France (6 hours ahead), the rollout of the RFS yesterday, energy legislation and GHG regulation action on the House floor, a slate of interesting Congressional hearings and finally the oral arguments on Friday focused on EPA’s mercury rules that were remanded by the US Supreme Court.

Let’s start with Paris…Speeches launched yesterday as world leaders converged on Paris.  The action got going with speeches, sidebar meetings between leaders, some protests gone bad and clean energy innovations initiatives.  India continues to be a thorn in the side of the talks, leaking a US “confidential note” that was shared with select countries which said the developed/developing countries distinction should be eliminated and developing countries should contribute to the Green Climate Fund.  That should make the negotiations later next week fun.  A lot more below…

The House of Representatives has a heavy energy hand this week, readying votes to undermine the GHG Regulations that were approved by the Senate prior to Thanksgiving. They will also consider other attempts to undercut the ability of U.S. negotiators to reach an international accord to address climate change in Paris related to the Green Climate Funding and Congressional Review of any agreement.   Industry groups issued a letter to all House of Representatives’ offices in support of Congressional Review Act (CRA) Resolutions to strike the EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) rules for new and existing power plants. It is a similar Letter that was sent to Senators when they voted on similar legislation prior to Thanksgiving.  The House is expected to vote later this afternoon or this evening.

Then tomorrow, the House will move to energy legislation which will dive into bolstering energy infrastructure and promoting liquefied natural gas exports.  The legislation Is expected to get more than 70 amendments that will be handled by the Rules Committee today.  While that will get Paired down, there may be legislative action on Crude Exports, the RFS, Gene Green’s Cross-Border infrastructure Permits streamlining (in other words fixing woes that dragged down Keystone), rooftop solar and other items.

Congress isn’t only busy on the House Floor.  There are a number of important hearings this week, including this morning hearing in the House Science Committee.   held a thoughtful hearing on the pitfalls of unilateral negotiations at the Paris Climate Conference.   The other important hearing today included FERC Commissioners coming to a House Energy panel to discuss the implications of the Clean Power Plan, electric reliability and many other issues under FERC’s jurisdiction.

Finally, on Thursday The Hill will host a forum on the on the future of energy delivery and Friday oral  arguments in the DC Circuit will determine the future of EPA’s mercury rule.  With the action in Paris getting more wonky now with world leaders departing, we will likely provide you the next update on Friday.  In the meantime, should you have any questions, please call…Best,

 

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS ROLLING

DAY TWO MORNING

President Obama Offers Departing Remarks – President Obama held a presser as he prepared to depart climate talks in Paris.  Here is a link to the briefing: http://keranews.org/post/president-obama-paris-says-hes-confident-climate-deal-will-be-reached-video

This is a brief summary of the Dec. 1st news conference at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. Please note that what follows is paraphrased and not an exact transcript:

Opening Remarks:  President Obama began by speaking on the subject of terrorism, along with the ongoing Syrian refugee issue. He proceeded to argue that climate change is a profound problem that is a threat multiplier. He further that if action now isn’t taken now, the problem will get worse. According to Obama, “this is an economic and security imperative.” The President argued that businesses and investors need certainty to create a low carbon future. He is “convinced that we are going to get big things done.” Bill Gates is an example of someone who understands that climate change is a moral imperative, but also an opportunity. His optimism and the sense that we can do what is necessary is infectious.

Question and Answer:

The following summary reflects only questions pertaining to climate change:

Q: Unrelated question regarding Syria.

A: We still need a Paris agreement, so my main focus is ensuring that the U.S. is a leader in bringing a successful agreement home. There are a number of components of it.  First, the agreement must be ambitious and must seek a low carbon global economy over the course of this century. This means that countries have put forward specific targets and that there is a mechanism with which countries are working on the targets and meeting them. There should be legally binding transparency measures, as well as periodic reviews. Countries should be allowed to update the pledges that they make. We also need a climate fund that allows developing countries to adapt and mitigate. If we hit those targets, then we will have been successful, not because the pledges alone will meet the necessary targets, but because it gets the ball rolling. Changes in say, solar technology, may make it easier to meet even higher targets. Systematically carbon emissions and the pace of climate change can be put downwards. Some of the reporting says that all of the pledges aren’t enough (estimated 2.7 C) increase in temperature. That is too high, but if we have these periodic reviews built in I believe that by sending that signal to researchers and scientists and entrepreneurs we will start hitting these targets faster and we can be even more ambitious. This may result in us meeting the 2 C target. This is not foolish optimism. I sought to double clean energy production when I came into office and our investment allowed us to meet those goals a lot quicker than expected. My expectations were exceeded in regards to solar power. The key here is to set up the structure so that we are sending signals all around the world that this is happening and that we are not turning back. The thing about human ingenuity is that it responds when it gets a strong signal about what needs to be done. The old expression that necessity is the mother of invention is particularly apt. The signal will help us to ultimately meet our goals.

Q: Are you confident that you can hold the U.S. to its commitments under existing treaties with no new vote needed?

A: We already engage in assistance to countries for adaptation, assistance and mitigation. So, this is not just one slug of funding that happens in one year. This is a multi-year commitment that is already embedded in a whole range of programs around the world. My expectation is that we will absolutely be able to meet our commitments. This is part of American leadership and part of the debate that we have to have in the U.S. more frequently. Too often leadership is defined by sending troops somewhere and that is the sole definition of leadership. Our leadership needs to be understood in a broader sense than that. When I made the announcement in Beijing, I was able to do so in part because we led domestically. Whether it is organizing a coalition that is fighting ISIL or dealing with climate change, our role is central, but on large international issues it is not sufficient, at least not if we want it to take and sustain itself.

Q: What happens if another President comes into office, say from the Republican party?

A: After a brief response to the issue, the President referred to the immense global gathering. Whoever is the next president, they will have to think that this is very important because of the emerging global consensus. That is why it is important to not project what is being said on a campaign trail, but to do what is right. The good news is that the politics is changing inside the United States as well. People should be confident that we will meet our commitments.

Q: In terms of sending that market signal you talked about today, do you see a political path back home to putting a price on carbon?

A: I have long believed that the most elegant way to drive innovation and reduce carbon emissions is to put a price on carbon. This is a classic market failure. If you open up an Econ 101 textbook, it will say that markets are very good at determining prices except that there are certain externalities that the market does not price, at least not on its own. Clean air is an example. Clear water or in this case the carbons that are being sent up. If you put a price on it, then the entire market will respond and the best investments and the smartest technologies will begin scrubbing our entire economy.  As the science around climate change is more accepted and people start realizing that even today you can put a price on the damage that climate change is doing. When you go down to Miami and see that it is flooding on high tide, there is a cost to that. Insurance companies are starting to see that in terms of how they price risk. It may be that the politics surrounding a cap-and-trade system. I am not under any illusion that this Congress will do that, but eventually it may happen. It is worth remembering that conservatives and center-right think tanks that figured out that this was a smarter way to deal with pollution than command and control. George H. W. Bush did this in regards to acid rain. More than anything, this is the main message that we want to send. Climate change is a massive problem, a generational problem and a problem by definition is just about the hardest thing for any political system to absorb. The effects are gradual and diffuse, so there isn’t a lot of constituency pressure to deal with it right away. There is the problem of the commons, you need everyone to do it.  There is a huge coordination problem and the danger of free-riders. On all these dimensions it is harder to come up with a tougher and a more consequential problem. I actually think we are going to solve this thing, in spite of that. If two years ago you mentioned that 180 countries would show up with ambitious targets, people would have said that that is a pipe dream. More R&D dollars are important, which is why the mission innovation announcement was so significant.  I am optimistic and I think we are going to solve it. The issue is the pace and how much damage is done before we are able to fully apply the brakes.  In some ways, it is akin to the problem of terrorism and the problem of terrorism and ISIL. In the immediate aftermath of a terrible attack like happened in Paris, sometimes it is natural for people to despair, but look at Paris, we can’t tear down Paris because of the demented actions of a handful of individuals. We have to be steady and continue applying pressure to the problem. Most of all, we have to push away fear and have confidence that human innovation and our values, judgements and solidarity will win out. I have been at this long enough that I have some cause for confidence. We went for a month or a month and a half where Ebola was going to kill us all. No one asks me about it anymore. We set up an entire global health security agenda that was part of American leadership to deal with Ebola, but also future pandemics. It is solvable.

Legally Binding? – One of the key remarks from the briefing was the President’s comment about legally binding portions of the agreement.  Obama stressed today that portions of the pending climate change agreement that diplomats hope to finalize here this month should be legally binding, a remark intended to tamp down tensions over the structure of the deal.  He reiterated his position that the mechanism under which countries review their domestic climate change targets should be legally binding.  But Obama’s decision to stress that position comes amid confusion and frustration from some countries toward the United States over the legal nature of any deal that emerges. While it supports making some aspects of the deal legally binding, the administration strongly opposes making the climate change targets themselves binding because that would trigger a requirement to submit the final agreement to the Senate, where its fate would be likely be rejected.

The Hard Work Launches – With the world leaders departing, the real negotiators are getting down to work with spin-off groups, focused on specific issues in the draft agreement, met to talk about issues including technology development and transfer, capacity-building and legal provisions between now and 2020, as well as the deal’s preamble. The groups met to talk about helping countries adapt to climate change and compensating them for loss and damage and reducing emissions. This afternoon and evening, there will be meetings on financial aid, transparency, how to take stock of progress, what to do before 2020, capacity-building, technology, and other general issues.

 

DAY ONE

Leaders to Arrive Early – The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris began Monday with an unprecedented Leaders Event, immediately after the official opening of the COP, where an estimated 150 Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of States delivered speeches. These speeches are posted on the “white pages” of the UNFCCC website as they are made available to the secretariat.  President Barack Obama made brief remarks aimed at rallying the world to reach a deal to cut greenhouse gases and sealing his environmental legacy with or without Congress’ help. In his speech, Obama quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “There is such a thing as being too late.”  “When it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, now, if we place our short term interests behind the air that our children will breathe and the water our children will drink,” Obama said. “Then we will not be too late for them.”   Chinese President Xi Jinping followed Obama saying “tackling climate change is a shared mission for mankind. All eyes are now on Paris.”  Jinping  also called for countries to determine their own best solutions and for an agreement that includes “global sustainable development at a high level and bring about new international cooperation featuring win-wins.”

Actions, Actions, Actions – Heads of State, Governments and others made major climate action announcements Monday and Tuesday at a series of press conferences and at a number of high-level side events.  All of the speeches and press conferences took place at the Le Bourget venue and still can be viewed on demand via webcast. Summaries of climate action announcements, with links to the official announcements posted online by governments and key stakeholders, will be made available in the UNFCCC Newsroom.  A tentative overview of press conferences, including those of Heads of State and Government, is available on the UNFCCC press page.

Still No Negotiation Observations – In the last pre-COP21 negotiating session in Bonn in October, observers from civil society, business and elsewhere were shut out of the negotiating rooms.  It was the result of the Japanese delegation, but was unopposed by the EU and U.S.  It did draw criticism from the G-77 and China group of developing countries, who argued that opening the doors would send a sign of transparency.

Obama, India’s Modi Hold Meeting – One of the biggest meetings was between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama.  Modi said India will fulfil its responsibilities regarding climate change when he met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines Monday.  Obama said India had to be able to grow and fight poverty, while Modi pledged to ensure development would be coupled with environmental protection.  Modi’s speech held quite a different message though saying India did not create the climate change menace but was suffering its consequences while he delivered a stern message to affluent nations, saying “those with luxury of choices should sharply reduce emissions”.  Modi: “Climate change is a major global challenge. But it is not of our making. It is the result of global warming that came from prosperity and progress of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel,” he said while inaugurating the India pavilion at the summit, toughening his country’s stand in the face of US criticism of India.  Read the Hindu Times coverage Here.

US Negotiators Note Undermines Developing Countries – Speaking of Indian Press, the Business Standard of India reported that the U.S. wants to eliminate the distinction between developing and developed countries in climate talks.  They are circulating a “confidential note” that was shared with select countries, US officials say they wants the successive round of pledges under the proposed Paris agreement to be determined independently by each country and not through a process of international negotiation.  The “non-paper” also adds the wall of differentiation between developed and developing countries should be done away and says developing countries should also contribute to the climate funds in future.  That should really set a positive tone…

India Leads Solar Alliance Effort – Indian Prime Minister Modi and French President Hollande, along with world leaders, launched the International Solar Alliance on the inaugural day of the U.N. Climate Summit in Paris. The solar alliance brings together key countries and invites over 100 solar-rich countries to propel clean energy and protect the climate. The cooperation demonstrated by both developed and developing countries in launching the solar alliance gives a head start to the collective, flexible cooperation needed to hammer out an international agreement in Paris to sustainably and effectively fight climate pollution.  Modi: “We must turn to solar to power our future.” President Hollande praised India’s leadership and called for France and others to mobilize finance and technology to achieve climate justice during the summit. The International Solar Alliance invites countries located between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn to join, including many African and Asian nations, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, France, China and the United States. Prime Minister Modi estimates $100 billion will be needed annually by 2020 to finance the clean power initiative. India’s National Institute of Solar Energy will lead the coordination of the solar alliance initiative for the first five years. The International Solar Alliance is part of India’s effort to advance a low-carbon economy, including domestic targets to install 100 gigawatts of solar energy by 2022. Prime Minister Modi also marked India’s progress, noting that India’s current installed solar energy capacity of 4 gigawatts will jump to 12 gigawatts by the end of 2016.

Key features of the International Solar Alliance

  • Collaborate on research and development of new and affordable solar energy technologies
  • Share regulatory and policy frameworks
  • Exchange best practices for solar energy development and installation
  • Promote joint efforts and programs to train a skilled workforce
  • Cooperate on common industry standards
  • Partner on attracting financial investments and creating innovative financing mechanisms

The launch of the International Solar Alliance shows the flexibility and cooperation needed at the negotiations to achieve a strong agreement to reduce global warming pollution.

Countries Commit to Clean Energy – A group of 20 countries say they will double current spending on clean energy research and development over the next five years.  President Obama, French President Hollande and other world leaders announced the new Mission Innovation initiative this morning in Paris. The 20 countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Private Investors to Fund Tech Innovation – While it rolled out late last week, a separate coalition of 28 private large-scale investors also  launched a complementary effort to funnel capital into “early stage companies that have the potential of an energy future that produces near zero carbon emissions and provides everyone with affordable, reliable energy.”  The group, named the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, is spearheaded by Bill Gates and Includes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Virgin Founder Richard Branson, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Indian Business mogul Mukesh Ambani, Chinese businessman Jack Ma, Vinod Khosla Indian auto magnate Ratan Tata, HP CEO Meg Whitman, activist George Soros and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, among others.

UN Head Supports 5-Yr Climate Reviews – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says governments’ pledges to cut global warming emissions aren’t enough and should be reviewed before 2020.  Ban said he endorsed plans for reviewing targets every five years.  While more than more than 180 countries have submitted climate action plans, however, scientific analyses show that even if those plans are implemented man-made warming is likely to reach almost 3 degrees C (5.4 F), which is beyond the 2-degree C (3.6 degree F) goal of the international talks.  “It’s not enough. We have to do much more and faster to be able to contain the global temperature rise below 2 Celsius,” Ban said.  Still, he said he was encouraged by the recent progress in the climate talks, which for years have been bogged down by disputes between rich and poor countries over who should do what.  “It seems to me that all the stars are aligning,” Ban said. “I’m pretty optimistic that we will be able to have a very robust universal climate change agreement.”

McConnell to Leaders: Key GHG Initiative on Shaky Legal Ground – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell writes in the Washington Post that global leaders shouldn’t work with President Obama in Paris based on a domestic energy plan “that is likely illegal … and that his successor could do away with in a few months’ time.”

House Leader McCarthy Challenge Obama on Energy View – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy also published an article in Reuters. He argues that President Obama’s rhetoric “is blind to the true story of American energy.” Please see a copy of McCarthy’s op-ed here.

Downplaying Results – Several reports have said shown the White House and other world leaders downplaying outcomes for the Paris conference talks saying the success of a global treaty being negotiated by world leaders over the next few weeks won’t be determined instantly, but will take years to change course.  Only in about 2030 will it be possible to look back and determine whether Paris 2015 was the turning point that world leaders are so avidly seeking here. Will all the world’s nations live up to the pledges they brought? Will they do even more? And will emissions, at long last, be heading down? Statements like these are meant to put a gloss on the widely acknowledged reality that the formal emission pledges received so far are inadequate. Those pledges — by  more than 180 countries accounting for at least 95 percent of global emissions – don’t come close to putting the world on a path toward holding global warming below 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

Security Risks? Terrorism v. Climate – The White House wants no part of the “terrorism” versus “climate change” threat ranking game despite repeatedly making the argument.  Republicans have long pounded top Democrats—including Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Bernie Sanders—for deeming climate change a danger on par with (or ahead of) terrorist attacks, saying their statements underscore a failure to take groups such as ISIS seriously.  But when deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes was repeatedly asked on Monday how the two stack up, he refused the premise. “They are both critically important, and we have to do both at the same time,” Rhodes said. “They pose different threats. Obviously there is an immediate threat from terrorism that has to be dealt with to protect the American people, to protect our allies and partners, and to root out the cancer of terrorist networks that we see not just in Iraq and Syria but in different parts of the world. I think over the long-term, clearly we see the potential for climate change to pose severe risks to the entire world.”

Countries Urge a Carbon Price – Leaders from China, Germany, Mexico, Canada and Ethiopia joined French officials yesterday evening and promised to  impose a price on carbon. France’s energy transition law, passed over the summer, sets an example by putting the price of carbon on a trajectory to hit €56 ($59.50) per ton in 2020 and €100 ($106) in 2030, the energy minister noted. Carbon pricing will be a divisive issue in the talks.

 

BACKGROUND

Who’s Going – The U.N. expects the COP-21 to draw some 10,000 government representatives to the Le Bourget conference center in a northeastern Parisian suburb, plus 7,000 observers per week and 3,000 journalists.  Just Last week, more than 1,000 other reporters were cut from the list of accredited media.  We will be in contact with several industry people on the ground in Paris and will be happy to provide you their thoughts and posit your questions to them.    President Obama arrived Sunday and Just departed this afternoon.  Other cabinet members attending: Sect of State Kerry, Interior’s Sally Jewell, DOE’s Moniz, Ag Sect Vilsack, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and NOAA Admin Sullivan.  California Governor Jerry brown and Washington state Governor Jay Inslee are attending.

Congress – Several members of Congress will be attending, mostly near the end of the conference.  Much is still up in the air because the impending budget deadline on December 10th that will require Congressional action/votes.  On the Senate Side there are rumors that Sen. Inhofe will make an appearance at the near the end of week 2.  On the D Side, Whitehouse, Cardin, Markey and Schatz are planning to attend.  Right now, Pelosi and Whitfield are leading the respective delegations.  On the Republican side Jim Sensenbrenner, Pete Olsen and several other E&C members are expected to go to Paris.   Key Senate EPW Staffer  Mandy Gunasekara and House E&C staffers Tom Hassenboehler and Mary Neumayr will also expected to be attending the conference.

Others Attending – Among those attending the main conference are 20 Sierra Club staff members or volunteers, including executive director Michael Brune and 12 from the World Resources Institute, led by Jennifer Morgan. Main Keystone opponent Bill McKibben is going, along with Britain’s Lord Nicholas Stern and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria.

Washington business groups seem to have a smaller presence. There is a large group going with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, including:

– Lisa Jacobson, Business Council for Sustainable Energy

– Kelly Speakes-Backman Alliance to Save Energy

– Kathryn Clay American Gas Association

– Thad Hill CEO of Calpine

– Dan Chartier Corn Refiners Association

– Dan Delurey Demand Response & Smart Grid Coalition

– Nanette Lockwood Ingersoll Rand

– Grady Crosby Johnson Controls

– Tony Earley CEO PG&E

– Rhone Resch CEO Solar Energy Industry Association

 

We have heard of only a handful of other D.C.-based business folks who say they will be there. They include:

– Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute

– Art Lee,  Chevron

– Eric Holdsworth, Edison Electric Institute

– Susan Mathiascheck, Nuclear Energy Institute

– Gene Trisko, United Mineworkers

– Stephen Eule, Institute for 21st Century Energy at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

 

Think Tanks – There will be a bunch of think tanks going but I will report on the number of conservative groups.  CEI will have several people in the second week including climate meeting veterans Myron Ebell, Chris Horner and Harlan Watson.  Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference on December 7th at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary,Climate Hustle.   Heritage Foundation treaty expert Steve Groves will also be in Paris.  Finally, RFF has a great blog from Brian Flannery and Ray Kopp that raises key questions.

Eule Interview with Bloomberg – Steve Eule, who first attended the Milan COP meeting in 2003 as an official in the Bush administration, talked to Bloomberg about what to expect. Eule said there are very few opportunities to lobby or influence what is going on. Every morning at 9 a.m. there’s a business briefing for groups from all over the world. That’s a great way to find out what is happening, he says, because “a lot of businesses are a lot tighter with their governments (than the U.S.) and they get the skinny.”

“There are a lot of really boring hours, but when it starts to be crunch time, the meetings go behind closed doors,” he said. “Then the rumor mill takes over.”

And don’t expect to take a long tour of the Louvre. “Nobody wants to leave because they are afraid they are going to miss something,” Eule said. “I see the hotel room, the Metro and the venue and that’s about it.”

Security Is High – France is deploying  11,000 additional police during the climate meetings to ensure security for two weeks. The location of the COP-21 conference center Le Bourget is just a few miles from the Stade de France in St. Denis, where a terrorist exploded a bomb on November 13th.   France said it will deploy 2,800 police and gendarmes on the conference site itself. Some 8,000 police will be deployed on France’s borders to temporarily re-implement border controls that ended in 1995 with the EU Schengen Area’s creation.

Pre-Conference Protests Go Bad – French riot police fired tear gas at activists protesting as part of global climate demonstrations yesterday.  About 200 protesters, some wearing masks, fought with police on a street leading to the Place de la Republique. Paris police chief Michel Cadot told reporters that some demonstrators hurled glass bottles and memorial candles at police. Demonstrators in France were warned not to gather amid the state of emergency enacted after the Paris attacks. But more than 4,500 people formed a human chain around midday.  Almost 200 people were arrested using the state of emergency rules.  French President Hollande said “everything will be done” to keep violent protesters away from the conference. Some protesters were undeterred by the criticism, chanting, “a state of emergency is a police state.”

Side Events Will Go On – Despite French officials canceling an outdoor climate march due to security concerns in the aftermath of the terror attacks, French and UN officials announced that indoor events organized by civil society during international global warming negotiations in Paris can proceed. One of those events will be NEXT Thursday, December 10th 3:00 p.m.  Business Side Event in Room 5 which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.  Another event will be held TOMORROW at 2:00 p.m. at the UNESCO building (125 avenue de Suffren, 75007 Paris) featuring NRECA’s Martin Lowery.  Lowery will join cooperative representatives from Germany and France in Paris to discuss the cooperatives’ contribution to developing renewables and increasing energy efficiency at an event sponsored by the International Cooperative Alliance.

 

KEY ISSUES TO FOCUS ON

Some Key Points – There are several key points to keep on your agenda as you listen to the discussions, reporting and other items related to the Paris Climate meeting.  There will be a lot of symbolism and hype and focusing on these key points will allow you to get to the heart of the key issues:

1) Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – The Paris agreement is anticipated to be a bottom-up treaty, with each country setting goals based on their unique national circumstances. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, will form the basis of the country-specific commitments under the new UN climate treaty. It is also expected that periodic review of these commitments will be instituted along with measuring, reporting, and verification to ensure the integrity and ambition of the commitments.  While may seem to be making INDCs, there are many questions as to whether countries will live up to these commitments.  Even the US commitment is being questions by experts as not adding up to the 26-28% reduction.

2) Green Climate Fund – Financing issues are among the most controversial in Paris, and they could easily derail any agreement. Many developing country INDCs are conditioned on financial support and technology transfer.  The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was proposed at COP-15 in Copenhagen in 2009, refined in subsequent meetings, and became operational in 2014. GCF aims to provide support to developing country efforts to reduce their GHG emissions and to adapt climate change.  However, this breaks down, it is clear that a significant portion of the expected funds—certainly tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars over many years—would be coming from public sources and would have to be appropriated by Congress.

3) Intellectual property – Developing countries have used this provision deftly to justify their attempts to weaken intellectual property rights (IPR) protections, ostensibly to remove the supposed “barriers” to technology transfer raised by IPR. Compulsory licensing and a fund supported by developed countries to buy down IP are two of many proposals being bruited. IPR serve as a fundamental catalyst of innovation, and study after study has shown that it is not a barrier to technology transfer. A weakened IPR regime such as that being proposed above would provide precious little incentive for companies to invest in advanced technologies if after years of research and development and millions or even billions of dollars invested, their inventions could be expropriated outright by companies in developing countries and manufactured and sold around the world at reduced cost. Under such a circumstance, some of the most innovative companies in the developed world would simply abandon the development of advanced energy technologies.

4) Technology Transfer – Tied to INDCs and the Green Fund, Technology Transfer is one fundamental issue that could bridge the gap.  It frankly is a better way to move toward a positive goal transforming our energy economy:  engage developing countries with advanced technology transfer to help them grow their economies more efficiently and cleanly.  Rather than going to Paris and trying to shame everyone into doing, this approach could be an important way to move forward.  In fact, we are already doing in many ways.  Look at the Clean Coal, Solar and offshore wind technologies that have struggled to catch on here in the US.  While we have struggled, developing nations, specifically China, have looked for these opportunities even without the promise of billions in funds (that will likely not ever come).

5) Verification – An issue that does not receive the attention it deserves is measuring, reporting, and verification of climate policies. As things stand now, the system of MRV that is likely to come out of Paris will focus not on whether a country meets its emissions goal, but on whether it implements the policies and measures designed to meet its goal. In other words, MRV is more about process than results. MRV will be especially challenging in developing countries. Transparency is a key to open markets and planning, and businesses will be reticent to invest in developing economies without assurances that its investments in emission reduction and offset projects are real and that government activities in support of INDCs have integrity.

6) Binding Legal Commitments Or Non-binding Political Agreement – In a recently interview, Secretary of State John Kerry said recently the Paris agreement is “definitively not going to be a treaty.” While it has not been finalized, we can already say that the Paris Agreement will be a multilateral international agreement that will include almost every country in the world. In testimony last week, Hofstra Constitutional Law Professor Julian Ku said If the outcome of the Paris Conference is to make these promises to reduce emissions legally binding, it is my view that the Paris Agreement must be submitted to the Senate for approval as a treaty under Article II.  This will continue to be a contentious point of negotiating among parties and one that US Senators will be watching Closely.  Last week, Senator Barrasso and Inhofe said the any funding for climate initiatives would be tied to Senate review.

 

OTHER IMPORTANT ISSUES

House Members Weigh In On Green Climate Fund – I mentioned the recent letter from Barrasso and Inhofe on the Green Climate Fund.  Last week, more than 100 House members released a letter expressing opposition to Obama’s pledge of $3 billion to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, calling the president’s move “unilateral” and arguing Congress should have oversight. The debate over the fund is one of several expected to arise as Obama tries to implement a potential deal from Paris.

Two Names to Remember – It is likely Poland’s new conservative government will be a skunk at the Paris Climate Garden Party next week.  Reports are they is threatening to veto a deal at the Paris climate summit, making clear its determination to protect the country’s large coal industry. Poland’s previous center-right government also fought to dilute EU emissions reductions goals, defending the coal that supplies the bulk of the country’s electricity and accounts for thousands of politically sensitive jobs. The Law and Justice Party (PiS), which this year took control of both the presidency and the parliament, is an even more ferocious defender of Polish coal than its predecessor. Two names to keep an eye on are new Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, a coal miner’s daughter from the country’s industrial heartland.

China Tops for Clean Energy – China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon pollution, continues to hold the top position as the best developing country in which to invest in clean energy in a study by Climatescope, a research project whose partners include Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the U.K. Department for International Development. The nation scored highest for a second consecutive year in an analysis of 55 emerging market nations including South Africa, Uruguay and Kenya that mapped important progress in the area.

ClearView on the Paris Negotiations – Our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy release a report on the talks saying it appears that a main goal of the talks is forging a durable agreement with five-year review periods. In the absence of specific funding commitments from developed nations and transparency measures for all parties, Book says the talks could produce a weak deal. Topics that could slow negotiations down include the questions of how to apply “common but differentiated responsibilities” to the many provisions of an agreement and whether to include “loss and damage” in the deal at all. Even with a durable agreement, economic reversals, international security incidents and other surprises can still overcome best intentions, making the attainment of voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals somewhat tenuous. Future fossil fuel consumption is likely to depend on the implementation of those goals, and our analysis of third-party global energy outlooks found a wide divergence among reports. Coal consumption projections, for example, ranged from a 28% decline by 2030 to an increase of 43%. All of the estimates that we compiled show a growth in natural gas consumption by 2030.

Dueling Polls – There are two new polls out today that underscore why polling on this subject (as well as other environmental subject is always suspect).  A new Washington Post-ABC News poll says the number of people who believe climate change is a serious problem facing the United States is declining.  The poll shows 63% of those surveyed say climate change is a serious problem facing the country, down from 69% in June. 52% say climate change is a “very serious” problem, down from 57%. About 47% believe the government should do more to deal with global warming, down from 61% in 2008. The poll found 51% of people say there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists” over the existence of global warming, down 11% from 2008. About 43% say scientists agree with one another.  Meanwhile, a New York Times/CBS News poll says Americans support the United States joining an international treaty to limit the impact of global warming, but on this and other climate-related questions, opinion divides sharply along partisan lines.  The poll says 66% of Americans support the United States joining a binding international agreement to curb growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but a slim majority of Republicans remain opposed.  63% of Americans — including a bare majority of Republicans — said they would support domestic policy limiting carbon emissions from power plants.  Again, this seems suspect when you look further into the polling: When considering policies to reduce carbon emissions, Americans generally favor regulating business activity more than taxing consumers. The poll found broad support for capping power plant emissions. Half of all Americans said they thought the government should take steps to restrict drilling, logging and mining on public lands, compared with 45% who opposed such restrictions. Support for limiting mineral extraction on public lands rose to 58% among Democrats.  But just one in five Americans favored increasing taxes on electricity as a way to fight global warming; six in 10 were strongly opposed, including 49% of Democrats. And support was not much higher for increasing gasoline taxes, at 36% overall.

Mayor Call for Strong Climate Plan – Last week more than 60 mayors and California Governor Jerry Brown (D) called on the U.S. to take strong action during the Paris conference. Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and dozens of others representing smaller localities made their case to President Obama.

RFA Says Biofuels Reduce GHGs – Biofuels consumed under the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) have reduced U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 354 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent since 2008, according to a new analysis conducted by California-based Life Cycle Associates. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which sponsored the study, said the findings have important implications for both the pending final rule for 2014–2016 RFS volumes and upcoming global climate talks in Paris.

EWG says RFA Fudges Numbers – A study released by the Renewable Fuels Association makes the bogus claim that the use of corn ethanol as a vehicle fuel reduced emissions by 240 million tons of carbon dioxide since 2008.  EWG’s Emily Cassidy says study after study has shown that widespread use of corn ethanol has proved to be a disaster for the climate. The federal mandate to blend corn ethanol into gasoline has led to the destruction of millions of acres of grasslands and wetlands to suit higher demands for corn for ethanol productions.

Obama Rolls Out Reg Agenda – Prior to the Thanksgiving week and the Paris Climate negotiations, the White House rolled out its fall 2015 regulatory agenda.  It is not the first time the President’s regulatory releases, required by law, came out under the cover of holidays:

  • Fall 2012  –  December 21 (Friday before Christmas)
  • Spring 2013  –  July 3 (day before Independence Day)
  • Fall 2013  –  November 27 (day before Thanksgiving)
  • Spring 2014  –  May 23 (Friday before Memorial Day weekend)
  • Fall 2014  –  December 22 (three days before Christmas)
  • Spring 2015  –  May 21 (Thursday before Memorial Day weekend)

 

The agenda includes over 2,000 regulations are now being written. Of these, 144 are deemed “economically significant”—that is, expected to cost Americans $100 million or more each.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th  to December 11th

House Floor Debate Launches on Resolution of Disapproval – House Republicans are hoping to send President Obama measures blocking the centerpiece of his climate change agenda as administration officials gather in Paris for the start of international climate talks.   The House will vote on two resolutions tomorrow through the Congressional Review Act that would kill U.S. EPA’s carbon rules for power plants. H.J. Res. 71 would block the agency’s rule to lower carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, while H.J. Res. 72 would eliminate the Clean Power Plan for existing power plants.  Before the Thanksgiving break, the Senate approved both resolutions on 52-46 votes.  The White House will veto both resolutions because they would “undermine the public health protections of the Clean Air Act (CAA) and stop critical U.S. efforts to reduce dangerous carbon pollution from power plants.”  But congressional opponents of Obama’s climate change agenda plan to use the effort to undermine the President’s plan in Paris by undermining his signature compliance measure.

House Science to Look at Climate Meeting – The full House Committee on Science will hold a hearing tomorrow on the pitfalls of unilateral negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference.  The hearing is a second hearing that is raising doubts about the international climate talks and its outcomes.  “The so-called Clean Power Plan will cost billions of dollars, cause financial hardship for American families and diminish the competitiveness of American industry around the world,” Science, Space and Technology Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) said at that hearing.  Witnesses will be Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Andrew Grossman of Baker & Hostetler and climate gadfly Dr. Bjørn Lomborg.

FERC Commissioners To Visit House Energy Panel – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing focused on FERC.  Witnesses will include FERC Commissioners Bay, LaFleur, Clark and Honorable.  The clean power plan and electric reliability will be a major part of the discussion.

Senate Foreign Relations to Hold Hearing on Energy Nominee – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will meet tomorrow to consider several nominations including Amos Hochstein appointment to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources.

Panel to Look at Offshore Wind in the U.S.  – The Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) will hold a panel discussion tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. looking at offshore wind in the U.S.  CELI and panelists from the U.S. Department of the Interior, EDF Renewable Energy, and the American Wind Energy Association, will hold a discussion on the potential benefits of and challenges facing offshore wind.  The panel will feature Interior’s Joshua Kaplowitz, EDF Renewable’s Doug Copeland and AWEA’s  Hannah Hunt.

Atlantic Council CEO Series Continues with GDF Suez’s Smati – The Atlantic Council will continue its CEO Series with a discussion on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. on the future of power markets and energy technology with Zin Smati, the President and CEO of GDF SUEZ Energy North America. As Chief Executive of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Zin Smati is tasked with navigating his company through an era of profound change in the world of energy. He brings his perspective to the Atlantic Council to discuss the sweeping energy transition now underway and to assess the future of power markets and energy technology.

NASA’s Chief Scientist Helping Countries Build Climate Resilience – Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Georgetown University will host NASA scientist Ellen Stofan, who will discuss NASA’s International Programs and how they are using data to help countries develop climate resilience. Stofan was appointed NASA chief scientist on August 25, 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments.

RFF to Look at Vehicle Fleet, Regs – Resources for the Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar on where panelists will analyze some of the emerging information, including consumer demand for fuel economy and how lower gasoline prices can affect future fuel savings from the regulations. Manufacturer responses will also be discussed, including how the production of different vehicle sizes and types can affect regulatory compliance strategies, and how the new markets for emissions and fuel economy credits are developing.  Speakers will include RFF fellows Virginia McConnell and Joshua Linn, as well as Chris Knittel of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at MIT and Gopal Duleep of H-D Systems.

Forum to Look at Barriers to Renewables – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in 334 Cannon, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) will host a briefing discussing how all levels of governments in the European Union and United States can expand collaboration on renewable electricity market penetration to meet energy, economic, and environmental needs. The briefing will feature an upcoming report by CCS, funded by the European Union Delegation to the United States, which examines high-priority common challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy sector that are prime candidates for new or enhanced forms of transatlantic collaboration at the regional and Member State/U.S. state levels. Attendees will be invited to provide comments and input for the report; join us to discuss how enhanced transatlantic cooperation can help set the stage for new investments and technologies through greater thought leadership, information sharing, technical assistance, and collaboration.

Mercury Case Arguments Set – The DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments to determine the future of EPA’s mercury rule on Friday at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse.  Judges Garland, Judith Rogers and Kavanaugh will hear the case, the same panel of judges who initially upheld the mercury rule 2-1.  EPA has suggested remanding the rule without vacating it so it can fix the problem identified by the Supreme Court that it should have considered the cost of regulating when issuing an initial “appropriate and necessary” finding.  Late last week, EPA proposed a fix using data collected during the implementation of the rule, and says it can finalize the new finding by next spring.  Opponents say the court should make EPA start from scratch, arguing that if the initial “appropriate and necessary” finding was improper then the entire rule must be trashed.

Energy Update: Week of November 30

Friends,

What a way to come back from the Thanksgiving Holiday.  This week is going be crazy and may be the busiest energy/environment week of the year.  The major actions include the Paris Climate meetings already under way this morning in France (6 hours ahead), the rollout of the RFS today at 3pm, energy legislation and GHG regulation action on the House floor, a slate of interesting Congressional hearings and finally some good off-the-hill events.

Let’s start with Paris…Speeches launched this morning as world leaders converged yesterday and the action gets going with speeches, sidebar meetings between leaders, some protests gone bad and clean energy innovations initiatives.  On the dark side, India continues to be a thorn in the side of the talks, leaking a US a “confidential note” that was shared with select countries which said the developed/developing Countries distinction should be eliminated and Developing countries should contribute to the Green Climate Fund.  That should make the negotiations later next week fun.  A Lot more below…

Today in the next hour or so (3:00 p.m. is the latest), EPA releases its controversial new RFS mandates, and however they come down, you can expect all hell to break loose.  While our guys expect a slight upward adjustment based on EIA’s recalculation of the size of the gasoline pool, I have included some resources below that can help you when the details arrive.

The House of Representatives has a heavy energy hand this week, readying votes to undermine the GHG Regulations that were approved by the Senate prior to Thanksgiving. They will also consider other attempts to undercut the ability of U.S. negotiators to reach an international accord to address climate change in Paris related to the Green Climate Funding and Congressional Review of any agreement.   Then the House will move to energy legislation which will dive into bolstering energy infrastructure and promoting liquefied natural gas exports.  The legislation is expected to get more than 70 amendments that will be handled by the Rules Committee today.  While that will get paired down, there may be legislative action on crude exports, the RFS, Gene Green’s Cross-Border infrastructure Permits streamlining (in other words fixing woes that dragged down Keystone), rooftop solar and other items.   That floor action starts Wednesday.

Congress isn’t only busy on the House Floor.  There are a number of important hearings this week as well, starting tomorrow when the Senate Energy Committee looks at Interior’s well-control rule and the House Science Committee tackles the pitfalls of unilateral negotiations at the Paris Climate Conference.   Other important hearings include FERC Commissioners coming to a House Energy panel, the nuclear waste fund and nuclear innovation legislation.

Finally, there are several great events off the hill including CSIS hosting  IEA’s Fatih Birol to present the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 today, an Atlantic Council CEO event Wednesday featuring GDF Suez CEO Zin Smati, a forum Thursday hosted by The Hill on the future of energy delivery and Friday oral  arguments in the DC Circuit to determine the future of EPA’s mercury rule (Holmstead can Help here).
Call with questions…Best,

Frank Maisano

(202) 828-5864

(202) 997-5932
PARIS ROLLING

Who’s Going – The U.N. expects the COP-21 to draw some 10,000 government representatives to the Le Bourget conference center in a northeastern Parisian suburb, plus 7,000 observers per week and 3,000 journalists.  Just Last week, more than 1,000 other reporters were cut from the list of accredited media.  We will be in contact with several industry people on the ground in Paris and will be happy to provide you their thoughts and posit your questions to them.    President Obama will attend Nov. 30-Dec. 1. Other cabinet members attending: Sect of State Kerry, DOE’s Moniz, Ag Sect Vilsack, EPA’s Gina McCarthy and NOAA Admin Sullivan.

Congress – Several members of Congress will be attending, mostly near the end of the conference.  Much is still up in the air because the impending budget deadline on December 10th that will require Congressional action/votes.  On the Senate Side there are rumors that Sen. Inhofe will make an appearance at the near the end of week 2.  On the D Side, Whitehouse, Cardin, Markey and Schatz are planning to attend.  Right now, Pelosi and Whitfield are leading the respective delegations.  On the Republican side Jim Sensenbrenner, Pete Olsen and several other E&C members are expected to go to Paris.   Key Senate EPW Staffer  Mandy Gunasekara and House E&C staffers Tom Hassenboehler and Mary Neumayr will also expected to be attending the conference.

Others Attending – Among those attending the main conference are 20 Sierra Club staff members or volunteers, including executive director Michael Brune and 12 from the World Resources Institute, led by Jennifer Morgan. Main Keystone opponent Bill McKibben is going, along with Britain’s Lord Nicholas Stern and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the former finance minister of Nigeria.

Washington business groups seem to have a smaller presence. There is a large group going with the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, including:

– Lisa Jacobson, Business Council for Sustainable Energy

– Kelly Speakes-Backman Alliance to Save Energy

– Kathryn Clay American Gas Association

– Thad Hill CEO of Calpine

– Dan Chartier Corn Refiners Association

– Dan Delurey Demand Response & Smart Grid Coalition

– Nanette Lockwood Ingersoll Rand

– Grady Crosby Johnson Controls

– Tony Earley CEO PG&E

– Rhone Resch CEO Solar Energy Industry Association

We have heard of only a handful of other D.C.-based business folks who say they will be there. They include:

– Howard Feldman, American Petroleum Institute

– Art Lee,  Chevron

– Eric Holdsworth, Edison Electric Institute

– Susan Mathiascheck, Nuclear Energy Institute

– Gene Trisko, United Mineworkers

– Stephen Eule, Institute for 21st Century Energy at U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Think Tanks – There will be a bunch of think tanks going but I will report on the number of conservative groups.  CEI will have several people in the second week including climate meeting veterans Myron Ebell, Chris Horner and Harlan Watson.  Climate gadfly Marc Morano and Craig Rucker of CFACT will be holding science Conference on December 7th at the Hotel California (where they will be livin’ it up) and the following day, the will premier Morano’s documentary,Climate Hustle.   Heritage Foundation treaty expert Steve Groves will also be in Paris.  Finally, RFF has a great blog from Brian Flannery and Ray Kopp that raises key questions.

Eule Interview with Bloomberg – Steve Eule, who first attended the Milan COP meeting in 2003 as an official in the Bush administration, talked to Bloomberg about what to expect. Eule said there are very few opportunities to lobby or influence what is going on. Every morning at 9 a.m. there’s a business briefing for groups from all over the world. That’s a great way to find out what is happening, he says, because “a lot of businesses are a lot tighter with their governments (than the U.S.) and they get the skinny.”

“There are a lot of really boring hours, but when it starts to be crunch time, the meetings go behind closed doors,” he said. “Then the rumor mill takes over.”

And don’t expect to take a long tour of the Louvre. “Nobody wants to leave because they are afraid they are going to miss something,” Eule said. “I see the hotel room, the Metro and the venue and that’s about it.”

Security Is High – France is deploying  11,000 additional police during the climate meetings to ensure security for two weeks. The location of the COP-21 conference center Le Bourget is just a few miles from the Stade de France in St. Denis, where a terrorist exploded a bomb on November 13th.   France said it will deploy 2,800 police and gendarmes on the conference site itself. Some 8,000 police will be deployed on France’s borders to temporarily re-implement border controls that ended in 1995 with the EU Schengen Area’s creation.

Pre-Conference Protests Go Bad – French riot police fired tear gas at activists protesting as part of global climate demonstrations yesterday.  About 200 protesters, some wearing masks, fought with police on a street leading to the Place de la Republique. Paris police chief Michel Cadot told reporters that some demonstrators hurled glass bottles and memorial candles at police. Demonstrators in France were warned not to gather amid the state of emergency enacted after the Paris attacks. But more than 4,500 people formed a human chain around midday.  Almost 200 people were arrested using the state of emergency rules.  French President Hollande said “everything will be done” to keep violent protesters away from the conference. Some protesters were undeterred by the criticism, chanting, “a state of emergency is a police state.”

Side Events Will Go On – Despite French officials canceling an outdoor climate march due to security concerns in the aftermath of the terror attacks, French and UN officials announced that indoor events organized by civil society during international global warming negotiations in Paris can proceed. One of those events will be NEXT Thursday, December 10th 3:00 p.m.  Business Side Event in Room 5 which will offer business perspectives on INDCs.  Business groups in Europe, the U.S. and developing nations will discuss implications for domestic and global outcomes from policy, as well as market changes in trade & investment.  They will also present experiences with business engagement in developing INDCs and recommend ways to involve business in assessment and /improvement.

Some Key Points – There are several key points to keep on your agenda as you listen to the discussions, reporting and other items related to the Paris Climate meeting.  There will be a lot of symbolism and hype and focusing on these key Points will allow you to get to the heart of the key issues:

  • Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) – The Paris agreement is anticipated to be a bottom-up treaty, with each country setting goals based on their unique national circumstances. These Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs, will form the basis of the country-specific commitments under the new UN climate treaty. It is also expected that periodic review of these commitments will be instituted along with measuring, reporting, and verification to ensure the integrity and ambition of the commitments.  While may seem to be making INDCs, there are many questions as to whether countries will live up to these commitments.  Even the US commitment is being questions by experts as not adding up to the 26-28% reduction.
  • Green Climate Fund – Financing issues are among the most controversial in Paris, and they could easily derail any agreement. Many developing country INDCs are conditioned on financial support and technology transfer.  The Green Climate Fund (GCF) was proposed at COP-15 in Copenhagen in 2009, refined in subsequent meetings, and became operational in 2014. GCF aims to provide support to developing country efforts to reduce their GHG emissions and to adapt climate change.  However, this breaks down, it is clear that a significant portion of the expected funds—certainly tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars over many years—would be coming from public sources and would have to be appropriated by Congress.
  • Intellectual property – Developing countries have used this provision deftly to justify their attempts to weaken intellectual property rights (IPR) protections, ostensibly to remove the supposed “barriers” to technology transfer raised by IPR. Compulsory licensing and a fund supported by developed countries to buy down IP are two of many proposals being bruited. IPR serve as a fundamental catalyst of innovation, and study after study has shown that it is not a barrier to technology transfer. A weakened IPR regime such as that being proposed above would provide precious little incentive for companies to invest in advanced technologies if after years of research and development and millions or even billions of dollars invested, their inventions could be expropriated outright by companies in developing countries and manufactured and sold around the world at reduced cost. Under such a circumstance, some of the most innovative companies in the developed world would simply abandon the development of advanced energy technologies.
  • Technology Transfer – Tied to INDCs and the Green Fund, Technology Transfer is one fundamental issue that could bridge the gap.  It frankly is a better way to move toward a positive goal transforming our energy economy:  engage developing countries with advanced technology transfer to help them grow their economies more efficiently and cleanly.  Rather than going to Paris and trying to shame everyone into doing, this approach could be an important way to move forward.  In fact, we are already doing in many ways.  Look at the Clean Coal, Solar and offshore wind technologies that have struggled to catch on here in the US.  While we have struggled, developing nations, specifically China, have looked for these opportunities even without the promise of billions in funds (that will likely not ever come).
  • Verification – An issue that does not receive the attention it deserves is measuring, reporting, and verification of climate policies. As things stand now, the system of MRV that is likely to come out of Paris will focus not on whether a country meets its emissions goal, but on whether it implements the policies and measures designed to meet its goal. In other words, MRV is more about process than results. MRV will be especially challenging in developing countries. Transparency is a key to open markets and planning, and businesses will be reticent to invest in developing economies without assurances that its investments in emission reduction and offset projects are real and that government activities in support of INDCs have integrity.
  • Binding Legal Commitments Or Non-binding Political Agreement – In a recently interview, Secretary of State John Kerry said recently the Paris agreement is “definitively not going to be a treaty.” While it has not been finalized, we can already say that the Paris Agreement will be a multilateral international agreement that will include almost every country in the world. In testimony last week, Hofstra Constitutional Law Professor Julian Ku said If the outcome of the Paris Conference is to make these promises to reduce emissions legally binding, it is my view that the Paris Agreement must be submitted to the Senate for approval as a treaty under Article II.  This will continue to be a contentious point of negotiating among parties and one that US Senators will be watching Closely.  Last week, Senator Barrasso and Inhofe said the any funding for climate initiatives would be tied to Senate review.

House Members Weigh In On Green Climate Fund – I mentioned the recent letter from Barrasso and Inhofe on the Green Climate Fund.  Last week, more than 100 House members released a letter expressing opposition to Obama’s pledge of $3 billion to the U.N. Green Climate Fund, calling the president’s move “unilateral” and arguing Congress should have oversight. The debate over the fund is one of several expected to arise as Obama tries to implement a potential deal from Paris.

Two Names to Remember – It is likely Poland’s new conservative government will be a skunk at the Paris Climate Garden Party next week.  Reports are they is threatening to veto a deal at the Paris climate summit, making clear its determination to protect the country’s large coal industry. Poland’s previous center-right government also fought to dilute EU emissions reductions goals, defending the coal that supplies the bulk of the country’s electricity and accounts for thousands of politically sensitive jobs. The Law and Justice Party (PiS), which this year took control of both the presidency and the parliament, is an even more ferocious defender of Polish coal than its predecessor. Two names to keep an eye on are new Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Beata Szydlo, a coal miner’s daughter from the country’s industrial heartland.

China Tops for Clean Energy – China, the world’s biggest emitter of carbon pollution, continues to hold the top position as the best developing country in which to invest in clean energy in a study by Climatescope, a research project whose partners include Bloomberg New Energy Finance and the U.K. Department for International Development. The nation scored highest for a second consecutive year in an analysis of 55 emerging market nations including South Africa, Uruguay and Kenya that mapped important progress in the area.

ClearView on the Paris Negotiations – Our friend Kevin Book of ClearView Energy release a report on the talks saying it appears that a main goal of the talks is forging a durable agreement with five-year review periods. In the absence of specific funding commitments from developed nations and transparency measures for all parties, Book says the talks could produce a weak deal. Topics that could slow negotiations down include the questions of how to apply “common but differentiated responsibilities” to the many provisions of an agreement and whether to include “loss and damage” in the deal at all. Even with a durable agreement, economic reversals, international security incidents and other surprises can still overcome best intentions, making the attainment of voluntary greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction goals somewhat tenuous. Future fossil fuel consumption is likely to depend on the implementation of those goals, and our analysis of third-party global energy outlooks found a wide divergence among reports. Coal consumption projections, for example, ranged from a 28% decline by 2030 to an increase of 43%. All of the estimates that we compiled show a growth in natural gas consumption by 2030.

Dueling Polls – There are two new polls out today that underscore why polling on this subject (as well as other environmental subject is always suspect).  A new Washington Post-ABC News poll says the number of people who believe climate change is a serious problem facing the United States is declining.  The poll shows 63% of those surveyed say climate change is a serious problem facing the country, down from 69% in June. 52% say climate change is a “very serious” problem, down from 57%. About 47% believe the government should do more to deal with global warming, down from 61% in 2008. The poll found 51% of people say there is “a lot of disagreement among scientists” over the existence of global warming, down 11% from 2008. About 43% say scientists agree with one another.  Meanwhile, a New York Times/CBS News poll says Americans support the United States joining an international treaty to limit the impact of global warming, but on this and other climate-related questions, opinion divides sharply along partisan lines.  The poll says 66% of Americans support the United States joining a binding international agreement to curb growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but a slim majority of Republicans remain opposed.  63% of Americans — including a bare majority of Republicans — said they would support domestic policy limiting carbon emissions from power plants.  Again, this seems suspect when you look further into the polling: When considering policies to reduce carbon emissions, Americans generally (shockingly) favor regulating business activity more than taxing consumers. The poll found broad support for capping power plant emissions. Half of all Americans said they thought the government should take steps to restrict drilling, logging and mining on public lands, compared with 45% who opposed such restrictions. Support for limiting mineral extraction on public lands rose to 58% among Democrats.  But just one in five Americans favored increasing taxes on electricity as a way to fight global warming; six in 10 were strongly opposed, including 49% of Democrats. And support was not much higher for increasing gasoline taxes, at 36% overall.

DAY ONE

Leaders to Arrive Early – The UN Climate Change Conference in Paris began today with an unprecedented Leaders Event, immediately after the official opening of the COP, where an estimated 150 Presidents, Prime Ministers and Heads of States delivered speeches. These speeches are posted on the “white pages” of the UNFCCC website as they are made available to the secretariat.  President Barack Obama made brief remarks aimed at rallying the world to reach a deal to cut greenhouse gases and sealing his environmental legacy with or without Congress’ help. In his speech, Obama quoted Martin Luther King Jr., saying, “There is such a thing as being too late.”  “When it comes to climate change, that hour is almost upon us. But if we act here, now, if we place our short term interests behind the air that our children will breathe and the water our children will drink,” Obama said. “Then we will not be too late for them.”   Chinese President Xi Jinping followed Obama saying “tackling climate change is a shared mission for mankind. All eyes are now on Paris.”  Jinping  also called for countries to determine their own best solutions and for an agreement that includes “global sustainable development at a high level and bring about new international cooperation featuring win-wins.”

Actions, Actions, Actions – Heads of State, Governments and others are expected to make major climate action announcements today at a series of press conferences and at a number of high-level side events.  All of the speeches and press conferences which take place at the Le Bourget venue can be viewed live and on demand via webcast. Summaries of climate action announcements, with links to the official announcements posted online by governments and key stakeholders, will be made available in the UNFCCC Newsroom.  A tentative overview of press conferences, including those of Heads of State and Government, is available on the UNFCCC press page.

Obama, India’s Modi Hold Meeting – One of the biggest meetings was between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Obama.  Modi said India will fulfil its responsibilities regarding climate change when he met US President Barack Obama on the sidelines today.   Obama said India had to be able to grow and fight poverty, while Modi pledged to ensure development would be coupled with environmental protection.  Modi’s speech held quite a different message though saying India did not create the climate change menace but was suffering its consequences while he delivered a stern message to affluent nations, saying “those with luxury of choices should sharply reduce emissions”.  Modi: “Climate change is a major global challenge. But it is not of our making. It is the result of global warming that came from prosperity and progress of an industrial age powered by fossil fuel,” he said while inaugurating the India pavilion at the summit, toughening his country’s stand in the face of US criticism of India.  Read the Hindu Times coverage Here.

US Negotiators Note Undermines Developing Countries – Speaking of Indian Press, the Business Standard of India reported that the U.S. wants to eliminate the distinction between developing and developed countries in climate talks.  They are circulating a “confidential note” that was shared with select countries, US officials say they wants the successive round of pledges under the proposed Paris agreement to be determined independently by each country and not through a process of international negotiation.  The “non-paper” also adds the wall of differentiation between developed and developing countries should be done away and says developing countries should also contribute to the climate funds in future.  That should really set a positive tone…

Countries Commit to Clean Energy – A group of 20 countries say they will double current spending on clean energy research and development over the next five years.  President Obama, French President Hollande and other world leaders announced the new Mission Innovation initiative this morning in Paris. The 20 countries are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Private Investors to Fund Tech Innovation – While it rolled out late last week, a separate coalition of 28 private large-scale investors also are launching a complementary effort to funnel capital into “early stage companies that have the potential of an energy future that produces near zero carbon emissions and provides everyone with affordable, reliable energy.”  The group, named the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, is spearheaded by Bill Gates and Includes Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Virgin Founder Richard Branson, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg Indian Business mogul Mukesh Ambani, Chinese businessman Jack Ma, Vinod Khosla Indian auto magnate Ratan Tata, HP CEO Meg Whitman, activist George Soros and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, among others.

Staying in Touch – I will be monitoring activities and providing resources for those in Paris as well as those covering from Afar.  Again, IF YOU WILL BE IN PARIS , please let me know so I can add you to my list of resources in Paris.  Please feel free to stay in touch.

RFS OUT TODAY

EPA Rolls out RFS this Afternoon – EPA will release final mandates for the RFS program for 2014 and 2015 (retroactively) through 2016, and set final biodiesel mandates through 2017 today at 3:00 p.m.  The EPA is expected to make its announcement sometime around 2:45  Our guys  expect a slight upward adjustment based on EIA’s recalculation of the size of the gasoline pool.  EPA proposed a 15.93 billion gallon topline mandate for 2014; 16.30 billion gallons for 2015; and 17.40 billion gallons for 2016. Advanced biofuel mandates proposed were 2.68 billion gallons for 2014; 2.90 billion gallons for 2015; and 3.40 billion gallons for 2016. This equates to 13.25, 13.40 and 14.00 billion gallons for each year’s implicit conventional corn ethanol numbers. 2017’s biodiesel number as proposed was 1.90 billion gallons.

Who Can Help You Get it – There are a number of great resources to discuss the RFS issue:

1) Talk to Scott Segal, one of the best and most savvy RFS experts in town: 202-262-5845; scott.segal@bgllp.com

2) Have a conversation with Environmental Working Group expert Scott Faber or one of the experts on his team.  You can reach Faber at (202) 939-9127 (direct); (202) 384-4280 (cell) or sfaber@ewg.org

3) Talk to Stephen Brown of Tesoro, also one of the best and most savvy industry RFS experts in town: 202-744-5578; stephen.h.brown@tsocorp.com

4) Another great resource for comments are energy analysts like Jim Lucier: 202-548-0072; james.lucier@capalphadc.com, and Kevin Book: 202-506-5744; book@CVEnergy.com, who have previewed the decision and I am certain will have pieces out after EPA’s final move.

Advertising, Advertising – the Ads have been  rolling across all your platforms. In dueling TV ads, foes of the federal ethanol mandate claim that it “doubles greenhouse gas emissions,” while the ethanol lobby says that “the oil industry is lying” and the mandate will lead to lower emissions.  In fact, the scientific jury is still out on whether requirements to blend ethanol with gasoline lead to the lower carbon emissions that Congress intended when it made those requirements law. Fact Check has the details.

The Latest From RFA – Biofuels consumed under the expanded Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) have reduced U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 354 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent since 2008, according to a new analysis conducted by California-based Life Cycle Associates. The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which sponsored the study, said the findings have important implications for both the pending final rule for 2014–2016 RFS volumes and upcoming global climate talks in Paris.

EWG Says RFA Fudges Numbers – A study released by the Renewable Fuels Association makes the bogus claim that the use of corn ethanol as a vehicle fuel reduced emissions by 240 million tons of carbon dioxide since 2008.  EWG’s Emily Cassidy says study after study has shown that widespread use of corn ethanol has proved to be a disaster for the climate. The federal mandate to blend corn ethanol into gasoline has led to the destruction of millions of acres of grasslands and wetlands to suit higher demands for corn for ethanol productions.
IN THE NEWS

Obama Rolls Out Reg Agenda – Prior to the Thanksgiving week and the Paris Climate negotiations, the White House rolled out its fall 2015 regulatory agenda.  It is not the first time the President’s regulatory releases, required by law, came out under the cover of holidays:

  • Fall 2012  –  December 21 (Friday before Christmas)
  • Spring 2013  –  July 3 (day before Independence Day)
  • Fall 2013  –  November 27 (day before Thanksgiving)
  • Spring 2014  –  May 23 (Friday before Memorial Day weekend)
  • Fall 2014  –  December 22 (three days before Christmas)
  • Spring 2015  –  May 21 (Thursday before Memorial Day weekend)

The agenda includes over 2,000 regulations are now being written. Of these, 144 are deemed “economically significant”—that is, expected to cost Americans $100 million or more each.

 

ON THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEK

PARIS UN COP 21 Meeting –  November 30th  to December 11th

IEA Outlook Discussed at CSIS – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency to present the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 today at 1:00 p.m. The presentation will include updated projections for the evolution of the global energy system to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, as well as detailed insights on the prospects for fossil fuels, renewables, the power sector and energy efficiency and analysis on trends in CO2 emissions and fossil-fuel and renewable energy subsidies.   In addition, the WEO 2015 includes in-depth analysis on several key issues including the implications of a lower oil price future, India’s energy sector, on the competitive position of fast-growing renewable energy technologies in different markets, new analysis of energy efficiency policies, and unconventional gas with a particular focus on China.

Bank Report to Look at Latin America Infrastructure – Today at 2:00 p.m., the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, CAF-Development Bank of Latin America, China Development Bank, and others will discuss ways to provide billions in finance for much-needed transportation, energy, water, sanitation, and other projects throughout the region in recent years.  In their newest report, Fei Yuan and Kevin Gallagher of Boston University’s Global Economic Governance Initiative’s (GEGI) compare development bank commitments to “green” finance in Latin America. Although some institutions have made great strides in promoting sustainable development in Latin America, much more will need to be done to scale up green finance and to adequately safeguard both green and conventional development projects.

Forum to Look at Indonesia, Energy – Tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. in B-338 Rayburn, the National Bureau of Asia Research will hold a forum on Indonesia and its energy issues. Indonesia’s successful democratic transition and strong economy have made the country a major political and economic power in both Southeast Asia and the broader region. Indonesia is now a key strategic and economic partner for the United States, as well as Japan and other countries in Asia, and has played an increasingly important role in shaping the future of the Asia-Pacific.

Senate Energy to Look at Well Control Rule – The Senate Energy Committee  will hold an oversight hearing tomorrow on the Well Control Rule and other regulations related to offshore oil and gas production.  Witnesses will include Brian Salerno, director of the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement at the Department of the Interior; Erik Milito, director of upstream and industry operations for the American Petroleum Institute; Mark Rockel, principal consultant of Ramboll Environ; and Jackie Savitz, vice president of U.S. oceans at Oceana.

FERC Commissioners To Visit House Energy Panel – The House Energy & Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing focused on FERC.  Witnesses will include FERC Commissioners Bay, LaFleur, Clark and Honorable.

House Science to Look at Climate Meeting – The full House Committee on Science will hold a hearing tomorrow on the pitfalls of unilateral negotiations at the Paris Climate Change Conference.  Witnesses will be Oren Cass of the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, Andrew Grossman of Baker & Hostetler and climate gadfly Dr. Bjørn Lomborg.

DC Bar Panel to Look at Fracking Rule  Case – Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., the D.C. Bar will hold a forum on the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming decision to prevent enforcement of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) recently issued hydraulic fracturing rule. BLM issued the rule in March, attempting to exert jurisdiction over hydraulic fracturing on federal and Indian lands. The district court’s decision prohibits the BLM from implementing the new rule while litigation over the rule’s legality is pending. The lawsuit, filed shortly after BLM issued the hydraulic fracturing rule, was originally brought by the Independent Petroleum Association of America and the Western Energy Alliance. The lawsuit now includes challenges from four states—Wyoming, North Dakota, Colorado, and Utah—and the Ute Indian Tribe.  This panel will discuss the impact of the court’s decision and their thoughts regarding future developments in the case.  Richard McNeer of Interior will speak.

Senate Foreign Relations to Hold Hearing on Energy Nominee – The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will meet tomorrow to consider several nominations including Amos Hochstein appointment to be an Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources.

Transmission Forum Set – The 5th  annual TransForum East, will be held today and tomorrow in Washington, D.C. at the Westin Georgetown.  As in previous Forum events, our presenters and panelists have been hand selected by the TransmissionHub editorial team to address the most important issues facing stakeholders in the Eastern Interconnection. You can view the agenda and speaker lineup here.

Panel to Look at Offshore Wind in the U.S.  – The Clean Energy Leadership Institute (CELI) will hold a panel discussion tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. looking at offshore wind in the U.S.  CELI and panelists from the U.S. Department of the Interior, EDF Renewable Energy, and the American Wind Energy Association, will hold a discussion on the potential benefits of and challenges facing offshore wind.  The panel will feature Interior’s Joshua Kaplowitz, EDF Renewable’s Doug Copeland and AWEA’s  Hannah Hunt.

Atlantic Council CEO Series Continues with GDF Suez’s Smati – The Atlantic Council will continue its CEO Series with a discussion on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. on the future of power markets and energy technology with Zin Smati, the President and CEO of GDF SUEZ Energy North America. As Chief Executive of GDF SUEZ Energy North America, Zin Smati is tasked with navigating his company through an era of profound change in the world of energy. He brings his perspective to the Atlantic Council to discuss the sweeping energy transition now underway and to assess the future of power markets and energy technology.

NASA’s Chief Scientist Helping Countries Build Climate Resilience – Wednesday at 2:00 p.m. Georgetown University will host NASA scientist Ellen Stofan, who will discuss NASA’s International Programs and how they are using data to help countries develop climate resilience. Stofan was appointed NASA chief scientist on August 25, 2013, serving as principal advisor to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s science programs and science-related strategic planning and investments.

RFF to Look at Vehicle Fleet, Regs – Resources for the Future will hold a First Wednesday Seminar on where panelists will analyze some of the emerging information, including consumer demand for fuel economy and how lower gasoline prices can affect future fuel savings from the regulations. Manufacturer responses will also be discussed, including how the production of different vehicle sizes and types can affect regulatory compliance strategies, and how the new markets for emissions and fuel economy credits are developing.  Speakers will include RFF fellows Virginia McConnell and Joshua Linn, as well as Chris Knittel of the Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research at MIT and Gopal Duleep of H-D Systems.

Southern Company Holiday Party – Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. Union Station.

Hill Hosts Policy Discussion on Microgrid Technology – On Thursday at 8:00 a.m. at The Newseum, The Hill hosts a discussion on the future of energy delivery. Policymakers, researchers, and technology and energy industry experts will discuss the value of microgrids in the event of a natural disaster or homeland security threat, how microgrids allow for integration of alternative energy sources, and what policy and regulatory reforms are necessary to facilitate the integration of microgrids into the larger power supply system.  Speakers will include Sens. Martin Heinrich and Lisa Murkowski, as well as Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Energy & Environment Katherine Hammack and others.

House Energy Panel to Look at Nuclear Waste Fund – The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on Thursday focused on the nuclear waste fund.  The hearing will look at budgetary, funding and scoring issues.

House to Look at Nuclear Innovation Act – The House Science Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy will hold a hearing on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. on the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act.  Witnesses will include John Kotek, Acting Assistant Secretary of Nuclear Energy at DOE.  Others will include UT’s Dale Klein and Venrock’s Ray Rothrock.

Forum to Look at Barriers to Renewables – On Thursday at 2:00 p.m. in 334 Cannon, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Center for Climate Strategies (CCS) will host a briefing discussing how all levels of governments in the European Union and United States can expand collaboration on renewable electricity market penetration to meet energy, economic, and environmental needs. The briefing will feature an upcoming report by CCS, funded by the European Union Delegation to the United States, which examines high-priority common challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy sector that are prime candidates for new or enhanced forms of transatlantic collaboration at the regional and Member State/U.S. state levels. Attendees will be invited to provide comments and input for the report; join us to discuss how enhanced transatlantic cooperation can help set the stage for new investments and technologies through greater thought leadership, information sharing, technical assistance, and collaboration.

Mercury Case Arguments Set – The DC Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments to determine the future of EPA’s mercury rule on Friday at the E. Barrett Prettyman Courthouse.  Judges Garland, Judith Rogers and Kavanaugh will hear the case, the same panel of judges who initially upheld the mercury rule 2-1.  EPA has suggested remanding the rule without vacating it so it can fix the problem identified by the Supreme Court that it should have considered the cost of regulating when issuing an initial “appropriate and necessary” finding.  Late last week, EPA proposed a fix using data collected during the implementation of the rule, and says it can finalize the new finding by next spring.  Opponents say the court should make EPA start from scratch, arguing that if the initial “appropriate and necessary” finding was improper then the entire rule must be trashed.

Clean Energy Leaders Honored – On Friday evening at Bier Baron, Leaders in Energy will honor Four Generations of leadership in clean energy and sustainability.  They will recognize leaders from World War II (1927-1945), Baby Boomer (1946-1964), Generation X (1965-1980), and Millennial (1981-2000) generations who exemplify leadership in the energy and sustainability arena. Leaders from each generation will discuss “Leading Through Adversity,” our theme. .  Shira Harrington, Founder and CEO of Purposeful Hire is the keynote speaker for this event. She will explore the changing world of work and the impact multi-generations are having on the workforce. Building on the understanding of what makes each generation unique, Shira will highlight how the four generations can embrace what they have in common to work together to create a more sustainable world.

 

FUTURE EVENTS

NJ Event to Look at Grid – National Journal LIVE will hold a forum on December 8th on powering the 21st Century and making the grid work for all consumers.    The event will explore Washington’s role in encouraging energy innovation, the future of the grid and how best to ensure the benefits of new power generation methods are sustainable and extended to all communities.  The nation’s policy makers, innovators, stakeholders and thought leaders will conduct a robust conversation about grid modernization and the future of American energy.  Speakers will include North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer, Oregon Rep. Kurt Schrader, CORE’s Todd Foley, Opower’s  Jim Kapsis, RFF’s Phil Sharp, DOE’s Karen Wayland and several more.

Utility Execs Looking at Storage – The 2015 U.S. Energy Storage Summit will be Held in December 8th and 9th in San Francisco.  Utility speakers will offer presentations, case studies, and panel sessions on the status and technology of energy storage.  Our friend Stephen Lacey will be among those leading the discussion.

Bloomberg Reception Honors Hess Book – Bloomberg will host a reception on Wednesday, December 9th at 6:00 p.m. congratulating our friends Tina Davis and Jessica Resnick-Ault on the publication of their new book, Hess: The Last Oil Baron, published by Bloomberg Press and John Wiley & Sons.  It will Be at the Bloomberg offices in NYC on Lexington Avenue.

FERC’S Clark to Address ICF Breakfast – ICF will host FERC Commissioner Tony Clark at its December 10th Energy Breakfast at the National Press Club.   Clark will discuss FERC’s cutting-edge energy agenda. Among other items, FERC’s Clark will discuss current priorities and critical issues like the electric system reliability, particularly in light of the EPA’s final Clean Power Plan, capacity performance issues, with new programs in the PJM and New England, the role of demand response and the case now filed at the Supreme Court and other key issues.

CSIS to Look at EV Charging Infrastructure – The CSIS Energy and National Security Program will host a panel discussion on Tuesday, December 15th looking at electric vehicle charging infrastructure, including the role that utilities could play in financing, owning, and operating this infrastructure. Sarah Ladislaw, Director and Senior Fellow with the CSIS Energy and National Security Program, will provide introductory remarks.