May 17, 2013
by Regina Cline
House Republican leaders plan to bring a bill to fast-track the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline to the floor for a vote the week of May 20 before Congress heads home for its Memorial Day recess.
May 15, 2013
by Anthony Adragna
Despite public pleas from President Obama for legislative action on climate change this year, Congress is not moving quickly on legislation and prospects for passage remain dim in the...
May 3, 2013
by Ari Natter
The Department of Defense, once known as one of the nation’s largest polluters, is turning to sustainability to reduce ballooning energy costs and the logistical risks of transporting fuel in combat zones.
April 26, 2013
by Avery Fellow
Walmart added nearly 100 renewable energy projects in 2012 and now has more
than 280 globally, a company sustainability executive said
This year's first full round of U.N. climate change negotiations will take place April 29-May 3 in Bonn amid hopes that negotiators will make progress toward reaching an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions beginning in 2020.
April 19, 2013
[In the weeks ahead, BNA’s climate blog will take a closer look at U.S. regions covered in the draft National Climate Assessment. In addition to the Northwest, regions covered in the assessment include the Southeast and Caribbean, Great Plains, Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, Alaska and the Arctic, and Hawaii and U.S. Affiliated Pacific States.]
The Senate may hold a floor vote the week of April 22 on whether to confirm nominee Ernest Moniz to be Department of Energy Secretary. He is expected to be confirmed.
As detailed in an April 18 Energy and Climate Report article covering his approval by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Moniz said he supports renewable energy as well as the nation's "stunning" boom in domestic natural gas and oil production.
Moniz, who serves as head of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Energy Program, said if confirmed, he would help implement a broad review of national energy policy that likely would affect DOE's research and development budget.
April 12, 2013
Legislation to circumvent the need for presidential approval of the Keystone XL pipeline to carry oil derived from Canadian tar sands to refineries in Texas is expected to be marked up by the House Energy and Commerce Committee the week of April 15.
As detailed in an April 4 Energy and Climate Report article, the Northern Route Approval Act (H.R. 3) has been put on the fast track, with a floor vote expected before the Memorial Day recess in May.
April 11, 2013
by Andrew Childers
The ethanol and petroleum industries have traditionally been at odds over EPA’s renewable fuel standard, but the adversaries found themselves on the same page when they both asked the agency this week to reduce the cellulosic ethanol blending requirement for 2013.
April 8, 2013
Climate change poses a significant risk to water, which is the most “precious” resource in the Southwest, according to the draft National Climate Assessment. The region also will continue to be plagued by an increasing number of wildfires posing increased risks to communities across extensive areas.
April 5, 2013
President Obama's nominees to head the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency will testify April 9 and April 11, respectively, during Senate confirmation hearings.
Ernest J. Moniz, a nuclear physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is slated to replace DOE Secretary Steven Chu.
Gina McCarthy, EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, was nominated to take over for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.
March 29, 2013
While Congress remains out of session for the second week of the spring state and district work period, the Environmental Protection Agency faces an April 5 deadline set by the House Energy and Commerce Committee to explain what climate change actions it expects to take during the rest of President Obama's second term.
March 22, 2013
With the U.S. Congress out of session on spring state and district work periods until April 8, the energy and climate focus for the week of March 25 will be on a high-level international meeting on aviation emissions, an Environmental Protection Agency seminar on energy efficiency subsidies, and a meeting in California to discuss sea-level rise.
[In the weeks ahead, BNA’s climate blog will take a closer look at U.S. regions covered in the draft National Climate Assessment. In addition to the Great Plains, regions covered in the assessment...
March 15, 2013
March 8, 2013
On March 14, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources will hold an oversight hearing on “America’s Onshore Energy Resources: Creating Jobs, Securing America, and...
[In the weeks ahead, BNA’s climate blog will take a closer look at U.S. regions covered in the draft National Climate Assessment. In addition to the Midwest, regions covered in the assessment...
March 5, 2013
What’s the "hook" some sustainability professionals at large companies use to get buy-in from c-level executives in support of climate change initiatives? Well for Gwen Migata, vice president of...
March 1, 2013
February 25, 2013
[In the weeks ahead, BNA’s climate blog will take a closer look at U.S. regions covered in the draft National Climate Assessment. In addition to the Southeast and Caribbean, region, the...
February 22, 2013
If Congress fails to reach a deal by March 1 to prevent automatic federal spending cuts, vital environmental and energy programs would be jeopardized, according to Environmental Protection Agency...
February 15, 2013
California’s second quarterly greenhouse gas emissions auction under the nation’s first economywide cap-and-trade program will be held Feb. 19. The upcoming auction, and the remaining ones to be held May 16, Aug. 16, and Nov. 19, will offer 56.8 million allowances for sale for use between 2013 and 2020 and another 38.2 million for use beginning in 2016.
February 8, 2013
President Obama will give his State of the Union address Feb. 12, with many in the environmental arena expecting climate change to be included in his remarks. In the Senate, currently controlled by Democrats, an auditorium-style briefing on climate change will be held Feb. 13, showcasing four prominent climate scientists. A question-and-answer session will follow. On Feb. 12, the House Energy and Commerce Committee will reconvene a business meeting to go over its two-year oversight plan.The panel plans to increase oversight of the Obama administration's efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Plans also call for reviewing climate activities under the Energy Department and other departments, including those to prepare for and respond to weather events and natural disasters in the future.
February 1, 2013
The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing Feb. 5 on “American Energy Security and Innovation: An Assessment of North America’s Energy Resources.” As...
January 30, 2013
[In the weeks ahead, BNA’s climate blog will take a closer look at U.S. regions covered in the draft National Climate Assessment. In addition to the Northeast, regions covered in the...
January 25, 2013
How the United States can increase domestic energy production will be a major component of a "blueprint" for energy legislation expected to be released the week of Jan. 28 by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. The blueprint, which will include "concepts for discussion" rather than specific provisions, will be circulated among Republicans for their input, she said. Murkowski's remarks, along with comments over potentially exporting U.S. liquefied natural gas to Japan, are covered in a Jan. 23 World Climate Change Report article. To overcome partisan gridlock, Murkowski said she has been meeting with committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House counterparts, including Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, to determine if energy legislation can be approved by both chambers within the next two years.
January 18, 2013
With the inauguration of President Obama Jan. 21 and the start of the 113th Congress, the spotlight will likely grow on whether the United States will increase its focus on climate change. As outlined in a World Climate Change Report 2013 Outlook article on U.S. climate legislation, Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) both pledged action on climate change in the days following the November elections, which appeared to give new life to several approaches, from modest bills to bolster energy efficiency and renewable energy to possible resurrection of a proposal to tax the carbon content of fuel. However, with Republicans maintaining control of the House though 2014, observers do not expect passage of any broad climate legislation.
January 11, 2013
Disasters--including drought, hurricanes, andwildfires--and the environment will be the theme of the 13th National Council on Science and the Environment conference Jan. 15-17 in Washington, D.C. A plenary session Jan. 16 will cover climate change, which some observers say may be exacerbating or increasing the likelihood and intensity of such disasters.
January 4, 2013
Four possible scenarios of global sea-level rise—ranging from 6 inches to 6.6 feet—that were developed by scientists for the U.S. National Climate Assessment will be discussed Jan. 9 during a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration seminar in Silver Spring, Md.
December 26, 2012
Climate change issues will become more prominent in 2013 if recent developments are any indication and if efforts at the national, regional, state, and international levels continue to take shape.
December 14, 2012
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson faces a Dec. 21 deadline to turn over to a House committee information on the use of secondary email accounts to conduct agency business.
December 7, 2012
How to promote energy efficiency through tax reform and federal energy policy will be the subject of a hearing Dec. 12 by the Senate Finance Energy, Natural Resources, and Infrastructure Committee.
November 30, 2012
U.N. climate negotiators from more than 190 countries are expected to wrap up two weeks of talks Dec. 7 in Doha, Qatar, with no major action on a 2015 global agreement.
November 23, 2012
Climate delegates from more than 190 nations will begin two weeks of negotiations Nov. 26 in Doha, Qatar, to hammer out a plan for a 2020 agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions and, for countries that remain committed to the Kyoto Protocol, to decide on a second commitment period.
November 16, 2012
The executive board for the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will meet Nov. 19-23 in preparation for two weeks of international climate negotations that begin Nov. 26 in Doha, Qatar.
A series of aerial photographs showing the Atlantic Coast before and after Hurricane Sandy reveals dramatically changed portions of shoreline extending hundreds of miles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
November 9, 2012
California on Nov. 14 will hold its first auction of greenhouse gas emission allowances under its cap-and-trade program.
November 2, 2012
Hurricane Sandy's blow to New Jersey and New York has sparked renewed debate in the climate change arena, raising questions over whether it will be a factor in the Nov. 6 presidential election. ..
October 26, 2012
In addition to heavy rain, high winds, flooding, and tornadoes, coastal surges—which climate experts say are being exacerbated by sea-level rise due to global warming—are among the threats the East Coast faces from Hurricane Sandy in the week ahead.
October 25, 2012
Efforts to roll back state policies requiring utilities to obtain power from wind, solar, and other renewable sources largely failed in legislative sessions across the country this year, according to information compiled by analysts who track state incentives.
October 20, 2012
More than 120 experts in Florida on sea level rise want President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to address climate change during the third and final presidential debate Oct. 22 in...
October 12, 2012
Will a question concerning climate change be posed Oct. 16 during the second presidential debate in New York on foreign and domestic issues? Maybe. The debate, to be held in a town-hall format at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will feature undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization to ask questions on foreign and domestic issues. Each candidate will be given two minutes to respond.
October 5, 2012
The European Union is expected to endorse legislation Oct. 8 designed to reduce energy consumption and meet greenhouse gas reduction goals. The legislation is part of the European Union’s “20-20-20” plan that calls for a 20 percent reduction in energy use via energy efficiency measures, a 20 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 levels, and a 20 percent renewable energy target, all by 2020. If approved, the measure would have to be implemented into national legislation by EU countries within 18 months.
October 1, 2012
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change will host its second workshop on long-term financing of climate change initiatives Oct. 1-3 in Cape Town, South Africa. As detailed in a...
September 21, 2012
Bloomberg BNA will livestream the 2012 GreenGov Symposium, organized by the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Association of Climate Change Officers, Sept. 24-25, beginning with the opening day plenary session at 8:45 a.m. ET. The symposium, being held in Washington, D.C., will feature officials from government, the private sector, nonprofits, and academia who will discuss opportunities to expand clean energy use, curb pollution, and incorporate other sustainable practices into the federal government's operations.
September 14, 2012
Five years after enactment, the law that authorized the creation of a federal program that funds the development of technologies in areas not likely to be undertaken by the private sector will be the subject of a Sept. 19 hearing by the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. The America COMPETES Act (P.L. 110-69) was enacted in 2007 to fund the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E). During a hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation in January, Republicans alleged that some ARPA-E projects had received prior private sector funding for similar work—a possible violation of the law.
September 12, 2012
The Republican Party platform for 2012 contains no mention of energy efficiency, leading some observers to conclude that the issue of energy conservation--long considered bipartisan—is becoming increasingly politicized.
September 7, 2012
The European Parliament is scheduled to vote Sept. 11 on energy efficiency legislation that would require certain steps to be taken during renovations of public buildings, energy-saving actions to be taken by utilities, and energy audits for all large companies. Discussion also is planned on other energy measures.
August 31, 2012
A final round of U.N. climate change talks in Bangkok before formal negotiations take place at the end of the year are set to end Sept. 5.
August 24, 2012
With the Republican Convention getting underway in Tampa, Fla., in the week ahead, presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s energy and environmental views likely will be talked about, however, most...
August 17, 2012
The first meeting of the Green Climate Fund Board will be held Aug. 23-25 in Geneva. The fund, launched last year during United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties in South Africa, is intended to raise $100 billion a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cope with the effects of climate change. However, as detailed in an April 11 World Climate Change Report article, some observers doubt that developed nations are prepared to raise that amount of funding.
August 10, 2012
While Congress has left Washington, D.C., for its August recess, the effects of climate change on the West--including record-breaking drought conditions and wildfires--will be the subject of two field hearings by the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Aug. 15 and 17 in Santa Fe, N.M.
August 3, 2012
As Congress takes its August recess, climate and energy events in the week ahead include a California adaptation meeting and the launch by China of a rare earth trading platform.
July 27, 2012
The U.S. departments of State and Transportation will host a meeting July 31-Aug. 1 of approximately 15 countries that oppose the European Union's decision to include aviation emissions in its cap-and-trade system.
July 23, 2012
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week turns its attention to transportation fuels, and more specifically the use of natural gas to power vehicles. Meanwhile, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power again will try to mark up the No More Solyndras Act.
July 20, 2012
Representatives of a new green building coalition told lawmakers this week that the federal government is creating a monopoly by using a third-party green building rating system.
The General Services Administration's use of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, "effectively creates a monopoly for federal buildings," said Steven Russell, vice president of the plastics division at the American Chemistry Council. Russell testified at a July 19 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform examining the effect of regulations on business.
July 16, 2012
Assessing the costs of the Obama Administration's commitment to solar energy projects will be the subject of a House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing July 18.
As detailed in a World Climate Change Report article, top Republicans on the committee introduced a bill July 10—the No More Solyndras Act—which would phase out the Energy Department's clean energy loan guarantee program.
July 9, 2012
The House Agriculture Committee is scheduled to mark up a draft farm bill July 11 that would cut $6 billion over 10 years from conservation programs and save $500 million by eliminating mandatory funding for energy programs and reducing discretionary energy spending for reauthorized programs. Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and ranking member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) described the draft Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) as a bipartisan bill that saves taxpayers billions of dollars.
July 2, 2012
Energy, sustainable development, and follow-up on the Rio+20 summit are among the priorities Cyprus said it will focus on during its six-month term as president of the Council of the European Union. Holding the Council presidency means setting agendas and steering debates on mainly budgetary, economic, and societal matters. Cyprus holds the presidency from July 1 through Dec. 31.
June 25, 2012
by Murray Griffin
Why is that we share a common future, but so little common ground? The result from Rio+20 is so lackluster, leaders and their delegates declined to bequeath it one of the grandiloquent titles normally attached to such things. It is not a Rio+20 Declaration, nor even a "roadmap." It is simply, awkwardly, uninspiringly, a "Rio+20 Outcomes Document."
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is scheduled to testify June 28 before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on "Strengthening the Scientific Backbone of EPA: An Examination of Agency Practices and Foundations for Regulations Affecting the American Economy." The hearing comes on the heels of a June 25 deadline for public comments on a proposed Clean Air Act rule that would set new source performance standards for power plants to control greenhouse gas emissions.
June 18, 2012
Sustainable development is the theme this week in Rio de Janeiro, as world leaders, NGOs, and private sector representatives gather Wednesday through Friday for the 20th anniversary of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development, or Earth Summit.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he hopes the Rio+20 summit will result in agreement on a text that provides a clear path to advance economic development, expands access to electricity, and increases environmental protection.
A conference that yields a road map for future action would be considered a success, according to many organizers.
June 15, 2012
What might the world get out of Rio+20? The 3-day U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development kicks off in Rio de Janeiro June 20. If the ambitions of many are met, Rio+20 will put the world on track to agree a suite of sustainable development goals on matters such as energy, water and food security, building on the Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015.If many in the finance sector have their way, Rio+20 also will encourage nations to oblige big business to report on environmental factors material to their operations, or explain why they do not.
June 12, 2012
The House has voted to continue using foam cups and other polystyrene products, the latest salvo in a congressional food fight over the sustainability of the Capital’s restaurants. The use of disposable foam cups and food containers, along with plastic cutlery, in the House’s eateries has been the subject of a long-running battle between Democrats and Republicans. Republicans reversed a ban on the products when they took control of the House in 2011. In the latest skirmish over the House’s tableware, a Democratic amendment to a $3.3 billion bill funding House operations that would have effectively banned the use of food service products made of polystyrene failed June 8 by a largely party-line vote of 178-229.
Humans may be rapidly and irreversibly pushing Earth into a new geologic age, according to a paper published in the June 7 issue of Nature.
The new age or epoch, called Anthropocene, may begin within decades to centuries or may already be here, researchers said in the paper, Approaching a State Shift in Earth’s Biosphere. Instead of projecting recent trends into the future or using models to predict the potential impacts of climate change, scientists looked at past “critical transitions,” such as the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, and determined that humans are now “forcing another such transition.”
June 11, 2012
While the House recesses for a constituent work week, the Senate remains in session this week. The Senate Agriculture Committee will consider amendments to a farm bill, and other committees will take up energy issues related to taxes and China. The farm bill would provide more than $1 billion dollars in energy-related spending. Leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee cautioned members against introducing proposals unrelated to the legislation.
June 8, 2012
The Coca-Cola Co., Ford Motor Co., H.J. Heinz Co., Nike Inc., and Procter & Gamble Co. have partnered to promote technology to make 100 percent plant-based plastic. The partnership aims to speed up the commercialization of 100 percent plant-based PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, for use in beverage bottles, apparel, automotive carpet, and other products.
June 4, 2012
The inclusion of U.S. airlines in the European Union's Emissions Trading System will be examined June 6 during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing. The United States has opposed the inclusion of U.S. airlines in the EU ETS. Some members of Congress and the airline industry have pressed the Obama administration to bring the dispute before the Convention on International Civil Aviation, also known as the Chicago Convention. As detailed in a World Climate Change Reportarticle, a challenge under Article 84 of the Convention would force the International Civil Aviation Organization and its member nations to address whether the European Union's plan intrudes on the sovereignty of other nations.
May 28, 2012
Draft assessments of current and future climate change impacts on the United States are expected to be turned in by 30 teams of expert authors by June 1 to the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.
The assessments will make up the next National Climate Assessment, which is due to Congress every four years under the Global Change Research Act of 1990. However, only two reports have been completed since the law passed--in 2000 and 2009.
May 25, 2012
Legislation in both chambers of Congress would limit the Department of Defense’s ability to buy alternative fuels, reflecting some congressional Republicans' criticism of Pentagon efforts to green the military.
May 21, 2012
PepsiCo and Wal-mart have entered into a partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development and several nonprofit groups to protect Brazil's Amazon rain forest and other ecosystems. ...
The Environmental Protection Agency will hold two public hearings May 24 in Washington, D.C., and Chicago on Clean Air Act new source performance standards that would limit carbon dioxide...
May 16, 2012
Similar to the way a slather of sunscreen can help prevent sunburn, one of its ingredients—titanium oxide—could be injected into the stratosphere to help keep the Earth from overheating,...
May 15, 2012
The Department of Energy would continue to be barred from enforcing new energy efficiency standards for incandescent light bulbs under a planned House amendment that pits bulb manufacturers against the tea party movement. The amendment, which Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) has vowed to introduce to an upcoming appropriations bill, would prohibit funding to enforce standards that require the 100-watt light bulb, and eventually other bulbs, to be about 30 percent more efficient. Bulb manufacturers, who say they have spent millions of dollars retooling factories to comply with the standards, oppose measures such as Burgess's, saying they open the door for imports of cheaper, less efficient bulbs.
May 14, 2012
In Congress, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing Thursday on the Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (S. 2146), which would promote a range of low- and zero-carbon electricity generation sources. The bill would require utilities to obtain 24 percent of electricity from "clean" sources starting in 2015, increasing 3 percent per year through 2035.
Walmart Sets New Energy Goals, Lacks Water Targets and Comprehensive Electronics Recycling
Enactment of Climate Change Legislation Remains Unlikely in Congress This Year
Military Turns to Sustainability as Thirst for Energy Presents New Risks, Costs
The Week Ahead: U.N. Climate Negotiations on Agenda, Court to Hear Hurricane Katrina Damage Arguments
The Week Ahead: Keystone Headed to House Floor; Hydropower, Natural Gas on Senate Agenda