January 29, 2016
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on 26th January filed on behalf of twenty-six States an appeal of the DC Circuit Court’s refusal to grant an immediate stay of the EPA’s final greenhouse gas rule for new power plants. The U. S. Chamber, National Association of Manufacturers, American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, and twelve other industry associations filed a similar appeal on 27th January. Murray Energy announced last week that they would also file an appeal.
The AGs’ ...
December 18, 2015
COP-21 (the 21st Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) concluded in Paris only one day late on Saturday, 12th December, with the adoption of a new climate treaty at 7:29 PM CET. The new “Paris Agreement,” as it is being called in order to conceal the fact that it is a treaty, represents a significant victory for President Barack Obama and the European Union. It is the result of several years of intensive negotiations that were initiated with the adoption of the Durban Platform at COP-21 in 2011. This “successful” outcome, so different from the collapse of COP-15 in 2009 in Copenhagen, was at the end made possible by the skill of the French diplomats, particularly French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who ran the final negotiations.
Many commentators immediately opined that the new treaty is of little consequence and poses few dangers...
December 18, 2015
The House and Senate on 18th September passed omnibus appropriations legislation that provides $1.15 trillion to fund the federal government for the remainder of FY 2016. Attached to the omnibus was a $620-plus billion package of tax cut extenders. The final bill dropped riders to prevent implementation of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants and to prevent funds in the State Department budget from being transferred into the Green Climate Fund. However, Congress appropriated no funds for the Green Climate Fund.
The tax extenders package includes multi-year re-authorizations for the Wind Production Tax Credit and the Solar Investment Tax Credit. The wind credit was extended to 2019, but declines by 20% for facilities that...
December 11, 2015A third straight night of all-night negotiations will almost certainly end Saturday morning with a new climate deal at COP-21. The Paris Climate Treaty is almost certain to leave several major issues to be sorted out later.
On the other hand, the draft text released Friday morning does include a target of limiting global warming to less than two degrees Centigrade above pre-industrial levels plus an expression of further ambition to stop warming at 1.5 degrees. No percentage reductions in total global greenhouse gas emissions are specified to reach that goal.
The draft text also moves beyond the limited compliance periods in the Kyoto Protocol to create a perpetual regime that will provide reviews to set lower national emissions targets every five years. Thus, once a country ratifies the treaty, it will be committed to taking actions to save the planet from catastrophic global...
November 13, 2015
The Senate is tentatively scheduled to take up the two resolutions of disapproval of the EPA’s greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants on Tuesday, 17th November, and vote on them on Wednesday the 18th.
Senate Joint Resolution 23, sponsored by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and 47 co-sponsors, blocks the NSPS for new power plants. Senate Joint Resolution 24, sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and 48 co-sponsors, blocks the ESPS for existing power plants.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee is likely to mark up and pass their versions of the CRA resolutions on Wednesday as well. The subcommittee mark-up resulted in straight party-line votes on ...
November 7, 2015
China has been burning up to 17% more coal per year than previously reported, according to new data released by the Chinese government. New York’s Times announced this news in a top-left, front-page story on 4th November. According to reporter Chris Buckley, “The sharp upward revision in official figures means that China has released much more carbon dioxide — almost a billion more tons a year according to initial calculations — than previously estimated. The increase alone is greater than the whole German economy emits annually from fossil fuels.”
This is important news in at least three respects. First, it means that global greenhouse gas emissions have been much larger during a period when the global mean temperature has not gone up as...
November 6, 2015
President Barack Obama on 6th November determined that the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is not in the national interest and therefore denied the cross-border permit necessary for the pipeline to be built. The President’s shameful decision concludes the administration’s shameful six year delay in making a decision.
My view for a long time has been that the Obama Administration’s strategy was to delay the decision until TransCanada Corporation gave up. That strategy came up against TransCanada’s request on 2nd November to suspend the State Department’s consideration of its application until 2017—that is, until President...
Congressional Resolutions To Block EPA’s Climate Rules and DC Circuit Decision on Stay of Power Plant RuleNovember 1, 2015
Congressional Resolutions To Block EPA’s Climate Rules Are Introduced and Set To Move Quickly
Representative Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.), chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy subcommittee, introduced resolutions of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to block the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing its greenhouse gas rules for new and existing power plants on 26th October. The subcommittee announced on Friday that it would mark up House Joint Resolutions 71 and 72 on Tuesday, 3rd November. Action by the full committee should quickly...
October 23, 2015
The last officially scheduled negotiating session before COP-21 (the twenty-first Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) in Paris concluded on Friday, 23 October. The main achievement of the eleventh part of the second session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhancing Action, as the week-long negotiations are officially called, was to expand the draft text of the Paris climate treaty from the 20 pages they began with on Monday to 63 pages by Friday.
Although some slight progress can be seen here and there (for example, on mitigation and transparency issues), wide...
October 23, 2015
The EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions rules for new and existing coal and natural gas power plants were finally published in the Federal Register on Friday, 23rd October. EPA had released the text of the final rules on 3rd August. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that he and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) next week will file a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to block the rule for new power plants. The Majority Leader’s office also announced that Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) will file a CRA resolution to block the rule...