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


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.

The European Union's extension of its ETS to the aviation sector builds on the carbon trading system it launched in 2005 to cover greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and manufacturers. Thirty countries participate in the EU ETS, the European Union's 27 member states, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway.

Supporters of the EU plan to include aviation say it’s a gradual one and relatively modest, with airlines given most of their carbon allowances for free. Airlines will not be required to “surrender” allowances to cover their 2012 emissions until April 30, 2013, they note.

House Expected to Vote on Energy, Water Bill

The full House is expected to take up a $32.1 billion energy and water spending bill this week after the rules committee passed the measure May 30 (H.R. 5325).

As detailed in a May 30 article, the fiscal year 2013 Energy and Water Development Act would appropriate $26.3 billion for the Energy Department, including a measure that would bar it from finalizing energy efficiency standards for federal buildings.

When taken up by the House floor, H.R. 5325 will be open for amendments. Among the amendments expected to be offered is a measure by Texas Republican Michael Burgess that would bar the Energy Department from using funds to enforce efficiency standards for light bulbs.

Federal Agency Climate Adaptation Plans Due

Federal agencies are due to submit formal climate change adaptation plans by June 4 to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Under CEQ guidance issued last year, which is covered in a March 4, 2011, article, federal agencies were required to take a number of steps to better prepare for the effects climate change.

Among other actions, agencies had to establish an agency climate change adaptation policy statement by June 3, 2011; identify the impacts of climate change on the agency's missions and programs; assess how climate change will affect agency missions, programs and operations; undertake a high-level analysis of agency vulnerability to climate change; and issue a formal adaptation plan.

EPA Webinars Planned

The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a question and answer session during a webinar June 5 on the “Corporate Greenhouse Gas Goal Evaluation Model.”

The model was created under the agency's former Climate Leaders program as a tool for projecting business-as-usual greenhouse gas intensity improvements to assess emission reduction goals set by companies participating in the program.

The model includes updates to "best available forecast data” on energy consumption and economic production, according to the agency.

EPA’s Green Power Partnership will hold a webinar June 5 on “Innovative Financing Structures for Aggregated Renewable Projects. The webinar will cover pooled financing options that are being developed to help state and municipal governments, universities, and hospitals fund renewable energy projects.

ADB to Hold Energy Event

The Asian Development Bank will hold its "7th Clean Energy Forum" June 4-8 in Manila. The conference theme is "Accelerating Low-Carbon Energy for All."

As detailed in a May 16 article, the bank has raised $339 million from the sale of Clean Energy Bonds to support renewable and energy efficiency projects in developing countries.

International Forum to Host Climate Panel

The Aid & International Development Forum, which will be held June 6-7 in Washington, D.C., will include a panel discussion on “How Best to Address Climate Change Without a Global Deal."

Panelists include Alexander Ochs of the Worldwatch Institute, Loren Labovitch of the Millennium Challenge Corporation, and Samuel Lee Hancock of EmeraldPlanet.