The Week Ahead: Congress Takes August Recess, New York Moves Ahead With Seaport City Planning


While members of Congress prepare to leave Washington, D.C., for the August recess, New York will hold a “pre-proposal session” Aug. 7 on a request for bids for a study on how Lower Manhattan can be protected from the impacts of climate change through the development of a “Seaport City.”

As explained in a July 31 press release, a “Seaport City” would include a levee system to protect a 1.5 mile stretch, from Battery Park City north to the Manhattan Bridge.

 “Battery Park City helped shield part of Lower Manhattan during Hurricane Sandy and Seaport City can provide similar protection, while also expanding opportunities for new economic development,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in announcing the request for proposal (RFP) for the study.

Bloomberg is founder and majority owner of BNA parent Bloomberg LP.

As detailed in a June 11 Energy and Climate Reportarticle, the city's RFP stems from a special initiative that produced recommendations for $20 billion in infrastructure investments to protect New York against the future impacts of climate change. Bloomberg announced plans for the initiative in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy at a December 2012 meeting of regional planners and environmental advocates, some five weeks after the storm.

Climate Study to Be Unveiled

On Aug. 6, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will hold a conference callto announce key findings from a peer-reviewed State of the Climatestudy that examines temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather events that occurred in 2012.

The study was compiled by 384 scientists from 52 countries and provides details on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments.

EPA, DOE Webinars

On Aug. 7, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Center for Corporate Climate Leadership will hold a webinar on how companies can set or improve greenhouse gas reduction goals. Speakers include Peggy Kellen, director of policy for The Climate Registry; Maribeth Malloy, director for environment, safety, and health strategy, policy and advocacy for Lockheed Martin Corporation; and Mary Wenzel, senior vice president and director of environmental affairs for Wells Fargo.

The Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office will hold a webinar Aug. 6 on “Commercial Building Energy Data Access: A Success Story and New Resources.” The webinar will cover barriers affecting and solutions for accessing building energy data. Speakers include Laurie Actman, deputy director for Philadelphia’s Energy Efficient Building Hub; Tom Bonner, manager for corporate policy for PEPCO; Jim Gallagher, executive director for the New York State Smart Grid Consortium; Darren Gill, deputy director for the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission; and Marla Thalheimer, director of sustainability for Liberty Property Trust.

DOE’s SunShot Initiative will hold a webinar Aug. 7 on “Innovation and Success in Solar Net Metering and Interconnection.” The webinar will provide an overview of the initiative’s efforts to streamline interconnection and net metering application processes, case studies, lessons learned, and an introduction to new resources for improving net metering and interconnection policies and processes.

NRDC Climate Director to Speak

On Aug. 8, Dan Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Climate and Clean Air Program, will discuss issues related to the development by EPA of new source performance standards to control carbon dioxide emissions from new power plants, during an ICF International event in Washington, D.C.

As detailed in a June 3 article, industry groups contend EPA must repropose the NSPS after it missed a one-year deadline to finalize the rule. Meanwhile, environmental groups, including NRDC, and states filed a notification of their intent to sue the agency for its failure to issue the standards on time.

Also, Obama’s climate change plan, which is covered in a June 25 article, directs EPA to propose emission guidelines to control carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants by June 1, 2014, and issue final guidelines by June 1, 2015. States would have to develop plans to implement regulations based on the guidelines for existing power plants by June 30, 2016. EPA sent a proposed rule to the White House Office of Management and Budget July 2 for review.

World Bank to Hold Climate Event

Johns Hopkins University and the World Bank will host an event Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C., to discuss a report, Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must Be Avoided. The report, covered in a June 19 article, said increasing global temperatures could have “potentially devastating” impacts on developing countries over the next few decades. However, many of the worst impacts could still be avoided by holding the increase below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), the report said.