October 21, 2016
International negotiators meeting in Kigali, Rwanda agreed on 15th October on amendments to the Montreal Protocol that will require replacing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in refrigeration and air conditioning with substitutes that are not greenhouse gases. The 1987 Montreal Protocol to the Vienna Convention on Protecting the Ozone Layer of 1985 phased out the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which generally-accepted scientific research concluded was depleting the stratospheric ozone layer.
The most common replacements for CFCs have been HFCs, which are a very potent greenhouse gas. Thus the Kigali agreement turns the Montreal Protocol from a treaty to shrink the “ozone hole” into a treaty to slow global warming.
It has been claimed that banning HFCs will avert a...
September 24, 2016
The White House on 21st September released a Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security. Section 1 states its purpose: “This memorandum establishes a framework and directs Federal departments and agencies to perform certain functions to ensure that climate change-related impacts are fully considered in the development of national security doctrine, policies, and plans.”
The memorandum creates a Climate and National Security Working Group consisting of nineteen federal departments and agencies plus more to be named later. The working group will be chaired by Assistant to the President for National...
September 2, 2016
U. S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will announce that their two countries are officially joining the Paris Climate Treaty when they meet on Saturday, 3rd September, ahead of the G-20 summit meeting in Hangzhou, China. The South China Morning Post reported on 25th August that the announcement would occur on Friday, 2nd September, but an environmental reporter told me today that Saturday was the day.
President Obama’s action in joining the treaty without ratification by the Senate is clearly an unconstitutional usurpation of the Senate’s authority. Article Two, Section Two, Clause Two of the U. S. Constitution states: “[The President] shall have Power, by and with the Advice and...
California Legislature Passes Ambitious Greenhouse Gas Reduction Target, But Cap-n-Tax Program Remains in LimboAugust 26, 2016
The California Senate on 24th August passed legislation that extends the state’s greenhouse gas (GHGs) emission reductions to 2030. SB 32, which passed on a 25 to 13 vote, gives statutory authority to Governor Jerry Brown’s (D) executive order mandating a GHG target of 40% below 1990 levels by 2030. The Assembly passed the bill a day earlier by a 42 to 29 vote, so it will now go to the governor for his signature.
California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32) mandated GHG reductions to 1990 levels by 2020. That law is set to expire in 2020. Passage of the new, much more ambitious target of 40% below 1990 by 2030 depended on agreement to pass another bill...
July 27, 20162016 platform at their national convention in Philadelphia on July 25th. The energy and environment section is titled “Combat Climate Change, Build a...
July 24, 2016The Republican National Convention on 18th July officially adopted their 2016 party platform. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) chaired the platform committee; and the co-chairs were Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and Representative Virginia Foxx (R-NC).
Notably, the GOP platform states that the Paris Climate Treaty cannot bind the United States unless it is ratified by the Senate. The party also demands immediate defunding of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in accordance with Public Law 103-236. It opposes a carbon tax and subsidies for politically-favored types of energy.
On regulations, the platform says Republicans will prohibit EPA from regulating carbon dioxide and repeal the “Clean Power” Plan. It also vows to block the hydraulic fracturing rules,...
House Science Chairman Lamar Smith Subpoenas NY AG Schneiderman, Mass. AG Healey, and Eight OrganizationsJuly 15, 2016his threat to subpoena state attorneys general and private organizations that appear to be conspiring “to deprive...
July 8, 2016
House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) on 6th July sent follow-up letters to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey, and eight private organizations regarding the committee’s investigation of “co-ordinated attempts to deprive companies, non-profit organizations, and scientists of their First Amendment rights and ability to fund and conduct scientific research free from intimidation and threats of prosecution.” Chairman Smith concludes that if documents relevant to his investigation are not turned over, “the Committee will consider use of compulsory process”—that is, subpoenas.
July 8, 2016
The Interior-EPA appropriations bill, which the House of Representatives is scheduled to consider on the floor next week, contains a number of riders that if enacted would block the Obama Administration’s regulatory onslaught against fossil fuel energy. These include provisions to suspend the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants, ozone rule, methane rules, and stream protection rule.
Over 140 amendments have been filed on the bill. The House Rules Committee on Monday will decide which amendments to make in order. Several amendments add more riders, and several amendments remove riders currently in the bill.
A House Appropriations subcommittee marked up the State Department and Foreign Operations appropriations bill on...
July 1, 2016
Exxon Mobil has begun pushing actively for a carbon tax on Capitol Hill and with other oil companies, according to a story by Amy Harder and Bradley Olson in the Wall Street Journal on 30th June. Possibly as a result of Exxon’s activities, the American Petroleum Institute has formed an internal task force to re-examine climate policy.
Exxon initially supported a carbon tax as an alternative to cap-and-trade legislation in 2009. This strategy was based on the old saw that you can’t beat something with nothing (which has been proved wrong more often than not). Shell and BP have long supported a carbon tax, while Chevron has been strongly opposed since John Watson became...