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,
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.
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; firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
3) Talk to Stephen Brown of Tesoro, also one of the best and most savvy industry RFS experts in town: 202-744-5578; firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Another great resource for comments are energy analysts like Jim Lucier: 202-548-0072; email@example.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.
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.