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 detailed in a Dec. 5 Energy and Climate Reportarticle, McCarthy's agenda includes leading a meeting of the China-U.S. Joint Committee on Environmental Cooperation, launched in 2005 to encourage teamwork between the EPA and its counterpart in China, the State Environmental Protection Administration.

Her visit comes on the heels of a trip to China last week by Vice President Joe Biden during which both countries pledged to increase cooperation on climate change by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies and the global use of hydrofluorocarbons, a highly potent greenhouse gas.

Congressional Hearings on Agenda

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing Dec. 11 on the renewable fuel standard (RFS) that will include testimony from the EPA, Department of Energy officials and industry stakeholders.

As covered in a Dec. 5 article, the hearing, to be held jointly by the full committee and its subcommittee on clean air and nuclear safety, will examine the status and effectiveness of federal policies that implement the RFS program.

The standard, which requires refiners to blend 36 billion gallons of ethanol or other renewable fuels into the nation's motor fuel supply by 2022, was lowered by the EPA for 2014, leading critics in industry and Congress to call for further changes.

Also on Dec. 11, the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on the Environment will hold a hearing on "A Factual Look at the Relationship Between Climate and Weather."

U.S., Japan Plan Bilateral Energy Meeting

On Dec. 12,  the U.S.-Japan Clean Energy Policy Dialogue will be held in Livermore, Calif. The Department of Energy will act as the lead agency, with representatives from the Department of Commerce and State Department and Japanese counterparts also attending.

As covered in a Oct. 25 article, in advance of the dialogue, on Dec. 11, the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration will hold a "Renewable Energy Policy Business Roundtable," also in Livermore. The roundtable will include Japanese counterparts and industry representatives to ensure company views are taken into consideration during the bilateral meeting, according to the department.

CARB Board to Meet

The California Air Resources Board will  meet  Dec. 12 to discuss proposed greenhouse gas regulations for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles. The agenda also includes discussion of proposed regulations for the commercialization of new alternative diesel fuels.

Other Energy, Climate Events

The EPA will hold a webinar Dec. 11 to provide an overview of its Energy Star Portfolio Manager tool, which is designed to measure and track greenhouse gas emissions. The tool also can measure and track energy and water consumption.

The United States Energy Association will host an event Dec. 9 in Washington on "DOE Loan Programs: Update and Overview of the Portfolio, Fossil Solicitation and Loan Authority." Peter Davidson, executive director of DOE's Loan Programs Office, will be the featured speaker.

The Association of Climate Change Officers will hold its third annualsymposium on "Defense, National Security & Climate Change" Dec. 11-12 in Washington.

On Dec. 10, the Canada Institute will release a report, "In Search of Arctic Energy," at the Wilson Center in Washington.

The Combined Heat and Power Association will hold its annual conferenceDec. 10-11 in Washington on "The Business Case for Combined Heat & Power."

On Dec. 9, the Brookings Institution will hold a forum in Washington on "Getting Smarter About Smart Cities." The forum will cover new approaches to urban infrastructure and technology, including energy-efficient buildings, and policies to advance and accommodate smart sustainable growth.

On Dec. 12, The New Republic and the Center for American Progress will host an event at the Newseum in Washington on "The State of Climate Change: A Local Perspective." Speakers include Joseph Goffman, senior counsel for the EPA Office of Air and Radiation, and Bill Ritter, former governor of Colorado and director of Colorado State University's Center for the New Energy Economy.

The Atlantic's  Energy and Infrastructure Super Summit will be held Dec. 12 in Washington. Featured speakers include Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development; Brendan FitzSimons, project manager for the Environmental Defense Fund; John Schulz, director of sustainability for AT&T; and Lee McIntire, chairman and chief executive officer for CH2M HILL.

Bloomberg BNA Webinar

Bloomberg BNA will host a webinar Dec. 10, “Implementation of ISO 14001: How the Revised Standard Impacts Environmental Management Systems.” Thea Dunmire, president of ENLAR Compliance, is the featured speaker.