Turn to the nation's most objective and informative daily environmental news resource to learn how the United States and key players around the world are responding to the environmental...
July 11 — Some harms from climate change are “inevitable,” and additional emissions reductions will be necessary even after the historic Paris climate change agreement reached in 2015, a top White House science adviser said July 11.
John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said even the current Paris Agreement deal to keep temperatures from increasing by more than 2 degrees Celsius would equate to as much as 15 feet of sea level rise. The deal, reached by nearly 200 countries, is significant, but alone it will not be enough to achieve that 2-degree target, Holdren said at the 2016 Energy Information Administration Energy Conference.
“The Paris agreement only goes to 2030. It’s only a down payment. … Further steep reductions will be required after 2030,” he said.
Countries will be required to submit updated plans to address greenhouse gas reductions in years beyond 2030, and Holdren said the U.S. and others should invest in the research necessary to make wider use of carbon capture viable and allow nuclear power to compete with cheap natural gas. Lower natural gas prices and the lack of a permanent repository for spent nuclear fuel are two of the most significant obstacles to wider use of nuclear power, Holdren said.
“Without that, many communities will not accept nuclear power plants because they expect in the absence of a national solution, the spent fuel will just accumulate at the plant site and what they’re accepting is a waste repository and not just a nuclear facility,” he said.
The greenhouse reduction pledges that constitute the Paris Agreement—known as intended nationally determined contributions—will not be sufficient to meet the agreement's goal and more will be needed, Jacob Werksman, principal adviser at the European Commission, said. To be successful, the Paris Agreement must be a catalyst for nations to periodically update and revise their reduction goals to meet that 2 degree target, he said.
The shortfall is difficult to quantify because of the wide variety of pledges offered by more than 180 countries.
“They appear in infinite variety,” Werksman said. “They’re very difficult to quantify, they’re difficult to compare and they’re very difficult to aggregate.”
The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, which limits carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector, forms the backbone of the U.S. pledge to reduce emissions, and the EPA is struggling with how much work it can do to prepare for the rule despite being stayed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Rather than finalize its proposed guidance to states on implementing the Clean Power Plan, the EPA may issue “less formal” measures in light of a court stay of the rule, Joseph Goffman, associate assistant administrator and senior counsel in the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the carbon dioxide standards for power plants, preventing the EPA from taking any action to implement the rule, Goffman said the agency could pursue “some other less formal instrument to move the ball forward.” However, Goffman said at the Energy Information Administration's 2016 Energy Conference that no decisions have yet been made. The EPA proposed the model trading rules (RIN:2060-AS47) at the time it issued the Clean Power Plan. The guidance is intended to aid state regulators, who are charged with implementing the standards.
Though the Supreme Court has taken the unprecedented step of staying the Clean Power Plan before the rule can even be argued before an appellate court, Goffman defended the carbon dioxide standards as built upon a foundation of steps that the utility industry is already taking to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.
“We labored mightily, if you will, to ensure the definition we gave to [best system of emission reduction] in setting the standards in the Clean Power Plan was closely linked or allied with what is already happening in the sector in terms of technologies, actions, existing state level programs, economic responses, business strategies and the whole ensemble if you will of activities already taking place in the power sector,” Goffman said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Childers in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2016 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)