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Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending April 10

A ban by a Wisconsin agency on discussing climate change was the top Energy and Climate Report story for the week ending April 10. The second and the fifth most read stories were on the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed carbon dioxide limits for power plants. Other top stories covered a report on sea-level rise in North Carolina and President Barack Obama’s plan to bring attention to the health effects of global warming.

 




Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending April 3

The enforcement of environmental statutes by the federal government were the top two most read stories in Energy and Climate Report for the week ending April 3. Other top stories covered remarks by the head of a Koch brothers group against the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, a Senate budget resolution and a lawsuit over job losses that plaintiffs say will be caused by carbon limits on power plants.


Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending March 27

Research into the melting of Arctic ice was the top Energy and Climate Report story for the week ending March 27. Other top stories covered a potential conflict over the selection of a White House adviser, a letter from scientists to museums over climate deniers, and a court case and controversy over the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.

















From Geneva: Timing Is Everything in UN Climate Negotiating Process

During United Nations climate talks taking place in Geneva, I asked Christiana Figueres, the UN’s top climate change official, whether there was a chance that some parts of the oversized and cumbersome draft text produced might see some brackets removed or consolidated in negotiations before the talks end Feb. 13.







Obama Touts Climate Agenda to Skeptical Congress in State of the Union

President Barack Obama on Tuesday night used his State of the Union address to once again push for U.S. action on climate change and tout his success in expanding clean energy, an agenda that faces deep skepticism from a Republican-controlled House and Senate. Obama, who has focused on climate change









Delegates in Lima Work on Defining ‘Differentiation' in 2015 Climate Pact

At the Lima climate talks Dec. 9, delegates at the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) negotiating track grappled with determining how countries in various stages of economic development will be divided and how their responsibilities will differ in the global agreement set to be finalized next year in Paris.






Need Analysis of Midterm Election Results?

Here's a video of Bloomberg BNA's Senior Climate Reporter Dean Scott and Environment Reporter Anthony Adragna discussing how the midterm elections will impact the U.S. environment and energy agenda.



Remarkable Opportunity for Global Economy in Upcoming Climate Change Talks

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres is the UN's top climate change official. In this editorial, written exclusively for Bloomberg BNA, Figueres describes some of the most pressing near- and long-term challenges the world faces as the UN process enters the home stretch for a universal 2015 global climate agreement.



Nuclear Industry Lobbies to Preserve Tax Credit; Opposes Similar Wind Incentive

The nuclear industry is lobbying to preserve and modify a tax credit that could be worth billions of dollars when new nuclear reactors under construction are placed in service amidst efforts by Republicans to end energy subsidies and an upcoming tax reform process that could place the tax incentive at risk.









The Week Ahead: International Energy and Climate Developments Take Center Stage

The focus on energy and climate issues for the week of Oct. 20 will be in Europe, where nations will meet for the last time before a year-end climate summit, the European Union will unveil new greenhouse gas and energy reduction goals and the International Energy Agency will hold an advisory board meeting.












Q&A: Tonko Touts Economic Case for Climate Action

Interview with Rep. Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Environment and Economy Subcommittee Bloomberg BNA: We're seeing a lot of very...

















The Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Stories for the Week Ending Aug. 1

How the Environmental Protection Agency will apply Clean Air Act permit requirements to a facility's greenhouse gas emissions was the top story in Energy and Climate Report for the week ending Aug. 1. Stories on public hearings the agency held on its proposed carbon standards for existing power plants also took center stage, making up the second, fourth and fifth top story, while the third most read story covered a climate change resolution that failed in the Senate.



Republican-Led Senate Would Push LNG Exports, Keystone, Barrasso Says

The Senate would prioritize passing legislation that would expedite the Energy Department's approval process for liquefied natural gas exports and authorize the Keystone XL oil pipeline if Republicans win control of the chamber this fall, Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told Bloomberg BNA.



The Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending July 25

The top three stories in Energy and Climate Report for the week ending July 25 covered the Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to control carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, while the fourth and fifth top stories covered, respectively, the effects a warming planet may have on water infrastructure and military bases. 




Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending July 18

A law professor's call for the control of fugitive methane emitted by hydraulic fracturing was the most read story in Energy and Climate Report for the week ending July 14. The second and third top stories concerned the Environmental Protection Agency's carbon rule for power plants. Rounding out the top five were stories on a plan by the Obama administration to help communities adapt to climate change and the opening of a public comment period on EPA proposals to control methane emissions from landfills.




Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending July 11

The release of guidelines by industry to address public concerns over fracking was the top Energy and Climate Report story for the week ending July 11. Other top stories covered a briefing with senators by Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy over carbon rules, the withdrawal by President Barack Obama of his nominee for a top Energy Department post, an EPA rule to curtail the use hydrofluorocarbons and a White House meeting with the insurance industry over climate adaptation.







Records Show New England Energy Plan Favors Industry, Law Foundation Says

The Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) said records it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request show that a regional energy plan among New England governors favors large gas pipeline and electricity transmission line expansion projects at the expense of the environment.




House-Passed Defense Bill Prohibits 'Billions' in Green Energy Spending

Defense Department spending on biofuels, electric vehicles, solar panels and other “green energy” programs advocated by the Obama administration would be prohibited under a $570 billion bill funding Pentagon operations for fiscal year 2015 that the House passed June 20.





Obama Slams Congressional Republicans for 'Wrong' Attitudes on Climate Change

Climate change should not be a partisan issue, Obama said. He cited Republican leaders like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former President George H.W. Bush, who previously urged action to address climate change “before the Tea Party decided it was a massive threat to freedom and liberty.”






















Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending May 2

Speculation on legal challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency's power plant rule to control carbon dioxide emissions was the subject of the top Energy and Climate Report story for the week ending May 2, followed by one covering remarks by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy against those that question the science behind rulemakings.




California Shows Residents the Greenhouse Gas Money

Revenue from California's greenhouse gas emissions trading program would be used as a permanent source of funding for affordable housing, water efficiency projects and a variety of transportation...





Energy Efficiency Bill Gaining Momentum in Senate

Senate energy efficiency legislation backed by companies such as the Dow Chemical Co. and investor-owned utility National Grid could be brought back to the floor in May, the legislation's sponsor...


How Green Is Your Port?

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to develop a new program to recognize ports for their sustainability efforts, which could ultimately influence multinational corporations' shipping...




Q&A: IPCC Official Christopher Field Discusses Latest Climate Change Report

After five days of talks, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented the Working Group II report March 31 in Yokohama, Japan. The new document, the second of three parts that will combine to become the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, is the most comprehensive collection of data so far on the impacts and vulnerabilities the world faces from climate change.








States Aren't Shying Away From Regulating Carbon Emissions From Power Plants

March 20 —  States have begun preparing a variety of potential approaches for complying with the Environmental Protection Agency's final regulations on carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, and panelists at an energy event said people should keep open minds on unconventional ways of meeting the standards.



Can Climate Change Skeptics Become Believers?

Expressing concern about what it views as stubborn public skepticism regarding the causes and risks of climate change, the world's largest scientific society said March 18 it is stepping more forcefully into the policy debate and will call directly for cuts in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.












Top Five Bloomberg BNA Energy and Climate Report Stories for the Week Ending Feb. 28

Oral arguments before the Supreme Court over greenhouse gas emissions made up the top three most read Energy and Climate Report stories, followed by a report that answers common questions on climate science and the urging by the head of the Environmental Protection Agency to keep an open mind on carbon limits for power plants.










Which States Have the Most 'Green' Building Space?

Illinois led the nation in 2013 with the most building space per capita certified to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standard, according to a ranking...





Don't Outsource Carbon Emissions, Labor Leader Says

Feb. 10 — Labor leaders are among those urging significant federal investments in water, energy and waste infrastructure as a way to promote job creation and protect from the impacts of climate...





Senate Democrats to Ratchet Up Defense of Climate Change Actions

The Senate climate change caucus formed, in part, to defend President Obama's climate plan, and efforts to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants will offer some insights into its strategy next week, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) told Bloomberg BNA Feb. 4.







State of the Union: Obama Expected to Tout Progress on Climate, Energy Issues

As President Barack Obama prepared to deliver his State of the Union address, advocates of greenhouse gas reductions urged the president to turn up the pressure on Congress to pass climate change legislation while demonstrating his willingness to act alone in the face of congressional inaction.


Top Five Stories for the Week Ending Jan. 24

The following Energy and Climate Report stories related to carbon capture and storage technology, greenhouse gas regulations and statements by EPA officials regarding climate change were the top five for Jan. 20-24.



Q&A: BBNA's Anthony Adragna's Exclusive Interview With Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) on Climate Change

Bloomberg BNA reporter Anthony Adragna sat down with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) in his office Jan. 17 to discuss the climate change agenda in the coming year. According to Whitehouse, forthcoming EPA regulations on power plant emissions could open a new window for action on carbon legislation. He also said some Republican senators believe in climate change but are afraid to speak publicly for fear of reprisal, and the U.S. has been the “weak link” in negotiating an international treaty.


Top Five Stories for the Week Ending Jan. 17

Here's a look at the top five Energy and Climate Report stories for the week of Jan. 13-17.

  1. EPA Assertions on Carbon Capture Viability Sparked Concerns by White House Officials   This Jan. 10 article covers concerns by White House officials over the Environmental Protection Agency's assertions that carbon capture and sequestration technology is a "viable technology" for new power plants to install to meet greenhouse gas emissions limits in a proposed new source performance standard.








White House Puts Chill on Climate Change Skeptics

The top White House science adviser posted this video Jan. 8 pushing back against climate science skeptics who argue that this week's cold spell proves that global warming is a hoax.



A Look Ahead: New Year to Ring in New Rules for Power Plants

Climate change will be high on the Environmental Protection Agency's agenda in 2014, while adaptation efforts will take on more urgency, emissions trading will cross North American borders and countries will continue to work toward a global climate agreement.


The Week Ahead: Senate Poised to to Vote on Defense Spending Bill; Restrictions on Use of Biofuels by Military Expected to Be Retained

The Senate is expected the week of Dec. 16 to consider a compromise Defense Department authorization bill approved by the House that retains restrictions on the military's use of biofuels. As covered in a Dec. 9 Energy and Climate Report article , the National Defense Authorization Act codifies DOD policy that biofuels purchased in bulk by the Pentagon "have to be bought at competitive prices."


The Week Ahead: EPA Administrator Travels to China, Congress to Hold Energy, Climate Hearings

On Dec. 9, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy will begin a four-day visit to China to discuss U.S.-China cooperation on climate change, air quality and other environmental challenges. As covered in a Dec. 5 Energy and Climate Report article , McCarthy's agenda includes leading a meeting of the China-U.S. Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation, launched in 2005.


The Week Ahead: EPA to Hold Hearing on 2014 Renewable Fuel Standard

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a public hearing Dec. 5 in Arlington, Va., on its proposed renewable fuel standard for 2014. As detailed in a Nov. 19 Energy and Climate Report article , the standard, proposed Nov. 15, would require petroleum refiners to blend 15.21 billion gallons of renewable fuels into their products in 2014. That is down from the 18.15 billion gallons required by the Energy Independence and Security Act.



Peruvian Minister, President of 2014 UN Climate Talks, Addresses Challenges of Year Ahead

The president of the next UN climate summit, Peruvian Minister of Environment Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, says the fate of the planned 2015 global agreement on climate change will depend largely on what is accomplished next year at the Conference of the Parties in Lima. He spoke to Bloomberg BNA about the challenges ahead on the sidelines of the Warsaw talks on Friday.


Negotiators Face Difficult Terrain Ahead on Two-Year Road to Paris Climate Deal

Climate negotiators from more than 190 nations may still be far apart at the Warsaw talks that aim to lay the groundwork for a final 2015 Paris deal. But some are already looking ahead to traversing increasingly more difficult terrain over the next two years, including deciding exactly when nations have to essentially make an opening bid on how deeply they can cut greenhouse gas emissions after 2020.



Countries Try to Salvage Warsaw Talks, Activists Remain Across Town

WARSAW--Negotiators arrived Friday for the final day of two-week climate talks staring at a chasm of issues that still split developed and developing countries but none more pressing than the billions of dollars poor nations want now for the loss and damage already suffered due to climate change. Whether the Nov. 11-22 UN talks will end in Warsaw tonight is anyone's guess-they have spilled past the final Friday of the negotiations into the weekend for years now. But the halls between negotiating rooms were eerily quiet today after a walkout yesterday by 800 or so members of environmental and trade union groups over what they see as indifference by developed nations to the damages caused mostly by their greenhouse gas emissions, which are the bulk of what is now in the atmosphere.


Nongovernmental Groups Take a Hike at UN Summit

Another day at the Warsaw climate talks, another walkout. More than 800 representatives of nongovernmental groups walked out of the United Nations climate talks Thursday to protest a lack of progress on key issues since the summit started Nov. 11.





Coalition Touts Goal of Getting 50 Percent of World Energy From Renewables by 2035

A coalition of solar, wind, and other renewable energy associations said Nov. 19 that renewable sources could provide as much as half of the global energy needed by 2035, arguing that such ambitious growth is one of the few options for halting rapidly escalating global temperatures while meeting increasing energy demand.


Is There Room for Coal in the Climate Change Debate?

Christiana Figueres, the UN's top climate change official, told the World Coal Association's annual meeting in Warsaw Nov. 18 that coal companies should "rapidly and radically" remake their business model to be part of the solution as the world seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions and keep a rise in global temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to pre-industrial levels.  






The Week Ahead: Senate Hearing on Fugitive Methane Emissions

The Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Oversight will hold a hearing Nov. 5 on "Fugitive Methane Emissions From Oil and Gas Operations." As covered in a May 3 Energy and Climate Report   article , industry and 13 states urged the Environmental Protection Agency in a letter to forgo regulations on methane emissions from oil and gas facilities. The letter claimed the EPA has historically issued standards under the Clean Air Act for only criteria pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and lead.





The Week Ahead: Climate Change on Agenda for California, Washington State

The California Air Resources Board will hold a public workshop Oct. 15 in Sacramento to solicit input on its strategy to achieve the state's greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals that calls for a new round of climate and clean air policies and regulations in all major industrial sectors.










The Week Ahead: Moniz to Speak on Policy Issues in New York, State Department Seeks to Hold 'Direct Line' on Small Island Renewables Market

President Obama's Climate Change Plan will be among the issues Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will discuss Aug. 26 in New York at an event hosted by the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University. Moniz, in remarks covered in a May 22 Energy and Climate Report article , said addressing climate change will be one of the Energy Department's top priorities. "Moving forward on climate, I think, is enormously important and, frankly, was in some sense the clincher for me certainly to want to come back [to DOE] and be part of advancing the agenda," he said. "Clearly, this department is in the middle of it." 


USGBC Report Highlights Growth in Green Building Industry

The growing green building industry in the United States is projected to account for more than half of all commercial and institutional construction by 2016, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) said in a new report.


The Week Ahead: California to Discuss Additional Compliance Options for Cap-and-Trade Program

The capture of methane from mines and the cultivation of rice to offset heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions will be discussed Aug. 19 at a California Air Resources Board workshop in Sacramento. Under CARB's economywide cap-and-trade program, offset credits may be used by companies to meet greenhouse gas remission caps through reductions occurring outside their facilities.


The Week Ahead: California to Hold Carbon Auction as It Consider Giving More Allowances Away for Free

Greenhouse gas emission allowances will be up for sale in California as the Air Resources Board holds its fourth quarterly auction Aug. 16 as part of its economywide cap-and trade program. As detailed in an Energy and Climate Report article , during the last auction of vintage 2013 allowances that was held May 16, 14.5 million were sold at a settlement price of $14 a ton. The price was up slightly from the Feb. 19 auction's clearing price of $13.62 a ton and the $10.09 settlement price in the initial sale last Nov. 19.



Less Costly Energy Efficiency Bill Introduced in Senate

The authors of bipartisan energy efficiency legislation introduced a dramatically scaled-back version of the bill July 30. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) have struck from the bill a title that would have established a program to finance commercial building efficiency improvements "due to late concerns raised."

 


The Week Ahead: House Committee May Consider Drastic Cuts to EPA Budget

A 34 percent reduction in the Environmental Protection Agency's budget in a spending bill that is viewed by Republican sponsors as intended to "serve as a check" on the agency's ability to regulate industry may be considered by the House Appropriations Committee the week of July 29.

As detailed in a July 23 Energy and Climate Report article , while Republicans claim that such spending cuts are necessary to address the federal government's nearly $17 trillion debt, Democrats call the cuts an "industry wish list" in that riders would prevent EPA from moving forward with Clean Air Act regulations to control carbon dioxide emissions from existing and new power plants, along with many other environmental initiatives.



The Week Ahead: Congress to Focus on Renewable Fuel Standard, Coal, Fracking

Both Houses of Congress are expected to turn their attention in the week ahead to amending or repealing the renewable fuel standard. While the Senate has not set a hearing date as of July 19, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold hearings July 23-24 on "An Overview of the Renewable Fuel Standard: Stakeholder’s Perspectives."


The Week Ahead: Senate Vote on McCarthy Nomination to Head EPA Anticipacted, Committee to Hold Climate Hearing

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The Senate may hold a vote as soon as July 16 on Gina McCarthy, President Obama's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

As detailed in a July 11 Energy and Climate Report article , the date was announced after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a cloture motion for McCarthy and six other stalled nominees for federal positions.

As he filed for cloture, Reid threatened to move forward with the so-called nuclear option changing Senate rules to allow nominations to be confirmed with just 51 votes-if Republicans try to block the nominations.

Reid took to the Senate floor July 11 complaining that Republican obstructionism has been holding up nominees, including McCarthy, who was nominated by Obama more than four months ago.


The Week Ahead

The Week Ahead blog covering the week of July 8 will not be published. The next blog will be cover the week of July 15.



The Week Ahead: Lithuania to Focus on Energy During European Council Presidency

As Lithuania begins its six-month term July 1 as president of the Council of the European Union, leaders of the Baltic country say ensuring affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy will be high on the agenda.
Holding the Council presidency means setting agendas and steering debates on mainly budgetary, economic, and societal matters for member countries, which will now number 28 after Croatia's ascension, effective July 1.


The Week Ahead: Obama to Lay Out Climate Change Vision June 25; House Committee May Focus on Drastic Cuts to Funding for Renewable Energy Programs

President Obama plans to lay out his vision of what the United States must do to address and adapt to climate change in a June 25 speech at Georgetown University. "We need a national plan to reduce our emissions and prepare our country for the impacts of climate change," Obama said June 22 in a White House video . He said the United States needs to lead global efforts to fight climate change and called for a new clean energy economy.


The Week Ahead: House Committees to Focus on Energy Issues, Senate Homeland Security Committee to Look at Extreme Weather

Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz will testify June 18 before the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee on DOE's science and technology priorities.

As detailed in a May 21 Energy and Climate Report   article , Moniz, who formerly headed the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's energy program, said his agenda, among other things, will include promoting "American leadership" in science and clean energy technology innovation.


EPA Official Spars with Republicans over Renewable Fuel Standard

Christopher Grundler, director of EPA’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, was seeking a little clarification June 5 when Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) insisted that implementing the renewable fuel standard will cause an impending economic “train wreck.”


The Week Ahead: House Floor Vote on Biofuels Bill Expected to Renew Debate, Committee to Hold DOE Budget Hearing

A defense funding bill that includes controversial restrictions on the Pentagon's ability to produce and procure biofuels unless their cost is "equivalent to conventional fuels" is expected to be brought to the House floor the week of June 10.

As detailed in a June 6 Energy and Climate Report article , the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal year 2014 (H.R. 1960) would also prohibit the military from pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) efficiency building standards unless the investment is fully offset by the amount of energy conserved.


A Closer Look at the Draft National Climate Assessment: Low-Lying Islands Face Migration, Hawaii Likely to Lose Billions in Tourism Dollars

[BNA's climate blog has taken a closer look at U.S. regions covered in the draft National Climate Assessment. In addition to Hawaii and U.S Affiliated Pacific Islands, regions covered in the assessment include the Southeast and Caribbean , Great Plains , Northeast , Northwest , Midwest , Southwest , and Alaska and the Arctic .]

Sea-level rise, ocean acidification, and other stressors related to climate change likely will force populations living in low-lying areas in Hawaii and on other Pacific Islands to migrate to higher elevations and continents, according to the draft National Climate Assessment .


The Week Ahead: International Climate Talks Resume, Mexico Set to Unveil Climate Strategy

International U.N. climate negotiations will resume June 3 in Bonn with a goal of establishing a pathway for an agreement in 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The talks, which will run through June 14, are the last formal negotiations before the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP-19) to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change that will take place in Warsaw, Poland, Nov. 11-22.

At last year's COP-18 summit in Doha, Qatar, negotiators agreed to launch two "work streams" on the scope and structure of a global deal that would require all nations to commit by 2015 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement would go into effect in 2020 after ratification.










The Week Ahead: Senate May Hold Vote on Moniz, Energy Bills on Agenda, NOAA to Brief Congress

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. 

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The Week Ahead: Keystone XL Pipeline Takes Center Stage in House

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.

 




The Week Ahead: Senate to Hold Hearings on Nominees to Head EPA, DOE

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.


The Week Ahead: EPA Faces Deadline for House Energy and Commerce Committee Request

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.



The Week Ahead: Countries to Discuss Control of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Aviation

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.









The Week Ahead: California to Hold Second Greenhouse Gas Auction

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.


The Week Ahead: State of the Union Scheduled, Sen. Boxer to Hold Climate Briefing

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.




The Week Ahead: Blueprint for Energy Legislation Expected to Be Circulated Among Senators

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.

 


The Week Ahead: Climate, Energy Issues Expected to Gain Renewed Interest Following Presidential Inauguration

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.


The Week Ahead: Disasters and the Environment to Be Focus of Conference in Washington, D.C.

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.



New Year May Ring in Renewed Focus on Climate Change

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.











State Legislators Beat Back Efforts to Weaken Renewable Requirements

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.



The Week Ahead: Second Presidential Debate, California Fuel Standard Case on Agenda

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.


The Week Ahead: European Union on Path to Reduce Energy Use, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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.



The Week Ahead: Bloomberg BNA to Livestream From 2012 GreenGov Symposium

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.

 


The Week Ahead: Senate to Focus on Law Funding Energy Projects

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.


Energy Efficiency Appears to Become Politicized

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.


The Week Ahead: European Parliament to Vote on Energy Efficiency Legislation

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.




The Week Ahead: U.N. Green Climate Fund to Hold First Board Meeting, Selection of Host Country Expected This Year

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.





The Week Ahead: Senate Looks at Natural Gas Vehicles

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.


Debate Over Green Building Rating Systems Heats Up

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.


The Week Ahead: House Panels to Examine Cost of Solar Loans, GHG Regulations

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.


The Week Ahead: House to Mark Up Farm Bill, WTO to Decide on Panel for China Dispute

Calendar  

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.


The Week Ahead: EU in Spotlight as Cyprus Takes Over Six-Month Presidential Term

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.


Rio+20: On the Same Planet, But Not the Same Page

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."


The Week Ahead: Jackson to Testify Before House Committee, Energy-Related Hearings Also on Agenda

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.


The Week Ahead: The Spotlight Turns to South America with Rio+20 and the G-20 Summit

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.


How Many Rio+20 Negotiators to Change a Planet?

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.


House Votes to Continue Use of Foam Cups Amid Partisan Battle Over Sustainability

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 Are Pushing Earth Toward Precipice, Researchers Say

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."


The Week Ahead: Senate to Move Forward on Farm Bill; Deadline for Rio+20 Text Looms

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.


Ford, Coca-Cola, Others Partners Aim to Get 100% Plant-Based Plastic Industry Off the Ground

 

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.


The Week Ahead: Aviation in EU Emissions Trading to Be Focus of Senate Hearing, House May Vote on Energy Spending Bill

Calendar  

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 Report article , 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.


The Week Ahead: U.S. Climate Assessment Drafts Due, U.N. Climate Technology Center on Agenda

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.

 






Effort to Stall Light Bulb Standards Pits Tea Party Against Manufacturers

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.


The Week Ahead: Senate to Take Up Clean Energy Standard, Climate Negotiators Meet in Bonn

Calendar

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.


Companies Cut Emissions As Part of World Wildlife Fund Partnership

The Coca-Cola Co., Nike, and more than 30 other companies have cut carbon dioxide emissions by more than 100 million metric tons since 1999 under a partnership agreement with the World Wildlife Fund, according to a new report . The reductions are equal to double the current annual emissions of Switzerland.

 


Electronics Makers, Others Reconsidering Value of Energy Star Program

Electronics manufacturers are threatening to drop out of Energy Star , saying recent changes have made participation in the federal government's voluntary energy efficiency labeling program too costly.

Among the chief complaints is a requirement that companies seeking an Energy Star label have their products' energy usage tested in third-party labs. Previously, companies were allowed to conduct the tests themselves after signing an agreement "committing" that their products met Energy Star specifications.


The Week Ahead: House May Vote on Energy Spending Bill, D.C. Court Hears Motions to Dismiss Public Trust Greenhouse Gas Case

A water and energy spending bill could come to the House floor this week. The measure would provide nearly $1.4 billion for the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for fiscal year 2013.

In the courts, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Circuit is scheduled to hear argument Friday on motions to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to require the federal government to place an immediate cap on greenhouse gas emissions.


Developing Rare Earth Metals at Home? Could Congress Help?

Could Congress pass legislation to speed up rare earth mining here in the U.S.?

According to the April issue of the Materials Research Society Bulletin , a bill may be enacted if mitigating risk of supply chain interruptions remains a priority for Congress.

Concern over the supply chain of rare earth minerals-which are not rare, but are found in small concentrations-heated up when China, which accounts for 97 percent of the world's production, curtailed exports in 2010.

For the growing green tech industry, the 17 rare earth minerals on the periodic table are vital in the production of wind turbines, electric vehicle batteries, fuel cells, and energy-efficient lighting. They are also important in the production of dozens of other high-tech products, like computers, cell phones, and medical equipment. 


The Week Ahead: EPA Takes Comments on Water Management Plan; EU to Submit Goals for Next Kyoto Phase

Calendar  

The Environmental Protection Agency will take questions May 3 via a webinar  on its draft strategy outlining actions to manage water programs and invest resources aimed at reducing adverse effects of climate change on water resources.

The draft strategy, which builds upon EPA's first climate change and water strategy released in 2008, focuses on five key areas: infrastructure, watersheds and wetlands, coastal and ocean waters, water quality, and tribal programs. The draft strategy also describes geographically based strategic issues and actions.

The agency is accepting comments on the draft water-climate strategy until May 17. 


A Closer Look at U.S Black Carbon Emissions Reveals Some Surprises

Black Carbon

Diesel engines and burning of biomass for fuel are responsible for the lion's share of black carbon emissions in the United States, according to an EPA report to Congress on emissions of the carbon particulates. EPA's report on black carbon--the most effective form of particulate matter, by mass, at absorbing solar energy--holds some interesting facts in regard to the largest U.S. sources.


The Week Ahead: Energy Bill Heads to Full Committee, EPA Panel Meets to Discuss Tailoring Rule Permitting

Calendar  

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to markup a $32.1 billion energy and water appropriations bill in the week ahead for fiscal year 2013. As detailed in an April 18 World Climate Change Report article , the bill would provide $26.3 billion for the Energy Department, a reduction of $358 million from current funding levels.

Elsewhere in D.C., an EPA advisory workgroup will hold a closed session April 24 to discuss options to streamline the greenhouse gas permitting process under the Clean Air Act.







One Year Later, Natural Disasters Still Rattling Supply Chains

Just a little over a year ago, on March 11, 2011, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami crippled Fukushima, Japan. According to Kathrin Winkler, vice president of operations and chief energy officer for EMC Corp., the disaster “made us pull out our playbook in how we deal with supply chain disruptions.”






Down the Rabbit Hole to Empower Employees

One of the most consistent themes heard here at the Climate Leadership Conference is that top executives need to seriously buy into a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for a company to successfully reduce its carbon footprint and implement sustainability measures.


Ford Tries to Close Scope 3 Emission Loops

Imagine trying to determine indirect emissions of greenhouse gases from 1,400 companies that supply parts for one of the Big Three automakers. Supply chain emissions, known as Scope 3 emissions, include greenhouse gases emitted by products and services.



U.S. Storms, Sea-Level Rise: Climate Change Predictions Leading to Action

Remember back in August 2011 when Hurricane Irene was bearing down on the East Coast threatening to flood New York City? Here's an example of the response to the hurricane, which was downgraded to a tropical storm before it hit the Big Apple, from an Aug. 26, 2011, New York Times article:  For the first time in its history, New York City planned to shut down its entire mass transit and subway system- the world's largest-beginning at noon on Saturday. At least 370,000 people in the city were ordered evacuated from low-lying areas.


Volvo Increases Emission Reduction Goal to 30 Million Tons by 2015

Volvo has agreed to lower carbon dioxide emissions from its construction equipment, buses, and trucks by 30 million tons by 2015, the company said Feb. 17. The commitment builds on a previous pledge to lower Volvo truck emissions by 13 million tons by 2015.



No Chocolate, No Coffee, No Wine? Oh My!

It's Valentine's Day and lots and lots of chocolate will be devoured by lovers of this ubiquitous delicacy. Up to 58 million pounds of it, according to Nielsen , and that was back in 2009.


The Week Ahead: Administration to Release Budget Monday

Obama is scheduled to release his 2013 budget request Feb. 13. Late in December 2011, President Obama signed into law the roughly $1 trillion omnibus spending package, a move that closed the wrenching fiscal year 2012 appropriations process, which was wrought with short-term stopgap funding measures and threats of government shutdowns.


New York Registers First Benefit Corporations

New York Feb. 10 began registering benefit corporations, a new class of companies required to create positive impacts for the environment and society as well as shareholders.





Coca-Cola Releases Sustainability Report for 2010-2011

The Coca-Cola Co. released its sustainability report (http://www.thecoca-colacompany.com/sustainabilityreport/) for 2010 and 2011 on Monday, revealing that it is on track to be water-neutral in its direct operations by 2020.









Fake Negotiating Document Further Slows Durban Talks, Already Latest on Record

The climate change summit here has already gone over schedule longer than any previous U.N. climate negotiations. Originally scheduled to conclude Friday, as of 6 p.m. local time Saturday there was no end in site. That’s later than the 2:30 p.m. Saturday finish in Bali, Indonesia in 2007, the previous record for a late finish.




U.S. Negotiator Calls for Strong, Credible Outcome to Durban Talks

With climate talks here headed toward their final day, the top U.S. negotiator Thursday urged other high-level delegates to “secure a strong and credible outcome that builds on” climate finance and other agreements reached at last year’s summit in Cancun.



Kyoto-Skeptic Canada Wants New Agreement by 2015

Nearly two weeks after Canada grabbed the spotlight at U.N. climate change negotiations here based on reports that it would pull out of the Kyoto Protocol, the country’s environment minister said Thursday that a new treaty should be drafted to replace Kyoto no later than 2015.


U.S. Senators Press Obama Administration for Ambitious Deal

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.) and more than a dozen other senators this week pressed the Obama administration in a letter to work toward an “ambitious outcome” in U.N. climate talks here, including steps to ensure global temperatures do not rise more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.



Low Expectations Mean Low Turnout From U.S. Congress

A decidedly smaller number of U.S. congressional and Obama administration representatives have made the trip to this year’s U.N. climate change talks compared to previouse years, reflecting the relatively modest expectations for progress here.







The Week Ahead: Super Committee Failure? California to Answer Questions Over GHG Standards for Motor Vehicles

As the week of Thanksgiving begins, the Congressional "super committee" looks set to announce its failure to come up with a plan to cut at least $1.2 trillion from the federal deficit or risk automatic spending cuts. The formal deadline for an agreement is Nov. 23, but any agreement would have to be completed Monday, to give the Congressional Budget Office time to score the deal.



The Week Ahead: Cap-and-Trade Vote in Australian Senate

Australia's Senate is expected to vote this week on a carbon trading scheme that would require facilities emitting 25,000 metric tons or more of carbon dioxide-equivalent annually to purchase units to cover their emissions. The carbon price is expected to be about A$23 ($23.40).








The Week Ahead: Biden, Reid, Chu to Attend Energy Summit in Nevada

Energy issues related to consumers, electricity delivery in the West, and security will be covered at a "Natonal Clean Energy Summit" Aug. 30 in Las Vegas, sponsored by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), the Center for American Progress, the Clean Energy Project, and MGM Resorts International.





The Week Ahead: Debt Deal Denouement

If the debt ceiling deal reached Sunday by the White House and congressional leaders is approved by legislators, possibly as soon as tonight, attention in the weeks ahead will turn to work by a super-committee that will seek $1.5 trillion in savings—on top of an initial $900 billion—by Nov. 23.



Changing Skins: D.C.'s Football Team Goes Green

As players in the first stadium to earn an LEED certification, the Washington Nationals certainly made a homerun in the drive for sustainability. Now, D.C.'s football team appears to be following suit with plans to install solar panels over one of its stadium parking lots.






Do Consumers Push For Global Warming Action Through Their Purchases?

If you meet the usual commercial standards of quality and price and “then add environmental value, I think you win. Big. Because consumers get all that they hope for and a lot more....Earnest will never become sexy [but] consumers will begin to see it less as preachy and more as normative.”





Climate Talks Open in Bonn; Parties to Talk About Regulatory 'Gap' After Kyoto Expires

Christiana Figueres, the United Nations' top climate change official said Monday that even if the upcoming climate change summit in Durban South Africa somehow yields a complete and enforceable post-2012 agreement on confronting climate change, it still would be impossible to avoid a gap after the expiration of the Kyoto Protocol’s 2008-2012 compliance period.


The Week Ahead: UNFCCC Meets in Bonn, RGGI Holds 12th Auction

International developments will take center stage this week as the UNFCCC meets in Bonn to begin two weeks of talks. In the U.S., RGGI will hold its first auction since New Jersey announced it was leaving the regional emissions trading program.








Happy Earth Day! What Can I Sell You?

Happy Earth Day! Hopefully, this April 22nd will be kinder to the planet than last year's. On this day, one year ago the BP-run oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico sank, two days after the initial explosion. At a news conference on April 22, 2010, David Rainey, Vice President of Gulf of Mexico exploration for BP, said "It certainly has the potential to be a major spill."






Bangkok Talks Close With Agenda for 2011, but Rich-Poor Divide Remains

The year's first set of U.N. climate change negotiations concluded Friday in Bangkok with an agreement on a broad set of priorities for the rest of the year, but the talks failed to do much to heal the rift between rich and poor countries that had stalled negotiations for two of the six days of talks.





U.N. Climate Talks Get Underway in Bangkok, Amid Calls for Action, Protests

The latest round of United Nations climate change talks began Sunday in Bangkok amid both protests that rich countries were doing too little to satisfy their responsibility for past greenhouse gas emissions and calls from the U.N.’s top climate change official to build on the progress made at December’s climate change summit in Mexico.


Scientific Integrity or Political Manipulation?

The nonprofit watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility continues to scrutinize efforts by the Obama Administration to minimize political interference in scientific reports and policy decisions.



Scientific Integrity or Political Manipulation—What Gives?

The Obama Administration’s attempt to overcome Bush era restrictions on what critics claimed resulted in political interference in scientific reports and policy decisions continues to face scrutiny by the nonprofit watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.


Science Roundup: Into the Darkness Edition

Saturday night was the World Wildlife Fund-backed "Earth Hour." At 8:30 p.m. local time March 26 , participants turned off all of their "non-essential" lighting. The event is mostly symbolic, participating cities in past years have seen at most minimal drop in energy usage for the hour, if anything. The effort lasts only an hour, and the biggest emissions don't come from powering household lights. Heating and air conditioning systems are unaffected by the event, as are large manufacturing plants, vehicles, and refineries.


Science (and Activism) Roundup: Plunged Into Darkness Edition

Tomorrow night is the World Wildlife Fund backed "Earth Hour". At 8:30 p.m. local time March 25 , participants will turn off all of their "non-essential" lighting. The event is mostly symbolic, participating cities in past years have seen at most minimal drop in energy usage for the hour if anything. The effort lasts only an hour, and the biggest emissions don't come from powering household lights. Heating and air conditioning systems are unaffected by the event, as are large manufacturing plants, vehicles, and refineries. Critics have questioned whether events like this one end up triumphing feel-good symbolism over substantive changes, an issue organizers hope to address through their "beyond the hour" campaign.



The Challenges of Communicating Climate Change

Though a preponderance of scientific evidence points to the existence of climate change and the related effects of greenhouse gas emissions, vocal climate skeptics--and perhaps their allies in Congress--apparently have been relatively successful in convincing voters that there is little, if any, cause for alarm or action.



What's in a Name?

Speaking at the International Emissions Trading Association on March 14, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) told the audience that, despite repeated failures to get a bill passed, he still believes that cap-and-trade is the best way to control greenhouse gas emissions.





Science Roundup: Back To the Future Edition

Welcome to back to the science roundup, which was on an inexcusably long vacation as your trusty reporter worked on stories for World Climate Change Report. Since the last blog post, battles over climate science have moved (back) to the House floor, this time as part of debates over the fiscal year 2012 budget.



Brazil Plans $142.6 Million Payout From National Climate Change Fund

Brazil's Environment Ministry announced Feb. 9 that the National Climate Change Fund (FNMC) to reduce greenhouse emissions and help regions adapt to the effects of global warming will disburse 238 million reais ($142.6 million) in 2011, the first year of fund payouts.



Researchers Say Droughts Could Make the Amazon a Major Carbon Emitter

Severe droughts in the Amazon rainforest in 2005 and 2010, could, if they continue to occur with great frequency, turn the Amazon into a future source of carbon dioxide emissions, rather than a sink that absorbs carbon, according to an article published in the February 4 issue of Science Magazine.



Climate Change Understanding and Education: The Statistics

Forget the two Americas (you likely had already forgotten). According to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication , there are six Americas. Earlier studies split U.S.-based poll respondents into categories based on their reactions to climate change. The categories of respondents are the Alarmed, the Concerned, the Cautious, the Disengaged, the Doubtful, and the Dismissive. The groups represent a scale that generally goes from the "highest belief in global warming," "most concerned," and "most motivated" to act to the "lowest belief in global warming," "least concerned," and "least motivated." Learn more about the six groups in the 2009 report, Global Warming's Six Americas



The Million Dollar Question: Why Do We Care?

An article published in the New York Times Monday points out that it's not just the cute animals--such as polar bears and ribbon seals--that are threatened by climate change. Other, far less impressive animals face changing habitats and shifting ecosystems. According to the article, 20 percent to 30 percent of existing species could be lost in a century if global temperature rises between 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit.




Science Roundup: Ups and Downs Edition

Well this is a downer: According to a paper published in the online edition of the journal Nature Geoscience, reducing carbon dioxide emissions to zero by 2100 would not prevent major atmospheric and environmental changes that would still continue in the year 3000.


New Climate Campaign Will Tout Science, Build Consensus for Action, Sen. Kerry Says

Supporters of action in the U.S. to deal with climate change are considering new strategies to rekindle support for a climate change bill and expand renewable energy sources following the demise of Senate cap-and-trade legislation last year. They are starting with a campaign meant to “revalidate” climate science and the urgent need for action, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Jan. 11.



Updated Before the New Congress, Upton's Website No Longer Mentions Carbon

The Republicans officially took control of the House today, with Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) literally handing over the gavel to the new Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio). With the shift in House leadership comes new chairmen for all of the House committees. In the lead-up to today's offical start of the new congress, congressional obersvers and elected officials alike have given a lot of attention to Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the new chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government reform, who said that he will hold congressional investigations into a wide ranging list of issues including recalls by the Food and Drug admistration, the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the financial crisis, and accountability for the diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks. But questions of the EPA's authority to regulate greenhouse gas under the Clean Air Act are absent from the list.


Science Roundup: Uncertainty Edition

It's a strange, strange world. In the last few days there have been unexplained cases of birds falling from the sky, 100,000 fish washing up dead, multiple earthquakes, and flooding. Most of these phenomena have little, if anything, to do with climate change. But the inability to speak with any confidence about the causes of extraordinary events can serve as a reminder about how little we understand about the way the world truly works.