Top Five Stories for the Week Ending Jan. 17

Carbon Capture and Storage--Photo Credit: HiediWideroe/Bloomberg News

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 story 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 carbon dioxide emissions limits in a proposed new source performance standard. The comments, from the Office of Management and Budget, were posted after the EPA proposal was announced Sept. 20. In the proposed rule, the agency points to a NETL databaseas proof that the technology is viable. EPA is accepting comments on the proposed NSPS, which was published in the Federal Register Jan. 8, until March 10. 

2) EPA Science Advisers Say Review of Power Plant Rule Not Needed

This Jan. 10 story provides details of a memorandum sent by independent advisers to EPA's Science Advisory Board Panel that said a review of NSPS limits for power plants would not provide additional benefit. The proposed rule has created vigorous debate over its impact on the coal industry and whether the carbon capture and sequestration technology that it would require is commercially available. The EPA's Science Advisory Board Panel is scheduled to hold a teleconference Jan. 21 to "complete its discussion" of whether to review the adequacy of the science underlying proposed carbon dioxide limits for new power plants and other rules. 

3)  Natural Gas Responsible for Reductions in Power Plant Emissions, Study Finds

Power plants using natural gas and combined cycle technology emit far lower amounts of carbon dioxide than coal-fired plants, according to a new study, which is covered in this Jan. 10 story. According to the study released by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science, between 1997 and 2012, coal-based power plants emitted on average 32 ounces of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of energy produced; natural gas power plants emitted 19 ounces of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour; and combined cycle natural gas plants emitted 15 ounces per kilowatt-hour.

4)  Report: Companies Sometimes Disagree With Their Industry Groups on Climate Change

This Jan. 16 article details a report that found major companies sometimes disagree with trade groups they belong to about climate change-related activities. The report, "Tricks of the Trade," released by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Center for Science and Democracy, also said that many of the companies surveyed didn't disclose membership in trade organizations influencing climate policy even when specifically asked to do so. To complete the report, 5,557 companies were asked to fill out a climate reporting questionnaire. More than 2,300 companies responded—though just 1,824 (33 percent) replied publicly—but 166 companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 didn't respond.

5) Figueres Says China Doing It Right in Efforts to Address Global Warming

Remarks by United Nations chief climate official Christiana Figueres are covered in this Jan. 13 story in which she said China, the top emitter of greenhouse gases, is also the country that's "doing it right" when it comes to addressing global warming. Figueres said the nation has some of the toughest energy-efficiency standards for buildings and transportation, and has shown strong support for photovoltaic technology. She added that China is facing growing public pressure from citizens to reduce pollution and its efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable power stem from the realization that doing so will pay off in the long term.