The Week Ahead: EPA Administrator Heads to Davos to Tout U.S. Climate Change Actions


Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy is scheduled to attend the World Economic Forum Jan. 22-25 in Davos, Switzerland.

According to a Jan. 17 agency press release, she will address the forum to highlight President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan, other steps the U.S. is taking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. international engagement and economic opportunities that come from addressing climate change.

According to WEF's "Outlook on the Global Agenda 2014," "inaction on climate change" ranks fifth among the top 10 trends.

Senate Caucus Lunch Planned

A newly formed Senate Democratic caucus on climate change will be briefed by Sen. Angus King (I/D-Maine) at a policy luncheon to be held during the week of Jan. 20. As detailed in a Jan. 15 blog, the caucus aims to shore up defense of Obama's efforts to put limits on U.S. power plant greenhouse gas emissions and resurrect climate legislation. 

In September 2013, King gave a speech on the Senate floor on the impact climate change is having on the lobster industry, saying that in southern New England it has "essentially collapsed."

EPA Advisory Board to Hold Teleconference

The EPA's Science Advisory Board Panel will 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.

As detailed in a Jan. 10 Energy and Climate Reportarticle, independent advisers told the board that a review of the limits would not provide additional benefit to the proposed rule which has caused vigorous debate over its impact on the coal industry and whether the carbon capture and sequestration technology that it would require is commercially available.

European Climate, Energy Action on Agenda

On Jan. 22, the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, is scheduled to publish a package of proposals on EU climate and energy policy through 2030, including a possible emissions reduction target.

As covered in a Jan. 9 article, the commission said in a March 2013 consultation paper that a 40 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions would be consistent with an aim to cut emissions 80 percent to 95 percent by 2050, in line with the internationally agreed target to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

However, the commission has not said if it will include binding renewables or energy efficiency targets in the proposals it will publish Jan. 22, which will also feature proposals on reform of the EU Emissions Trading System.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament's Environment Committee is expected to review during a plenary session Jan. 22-23 in Brussels a so-called backloading plan to reduce a record glut of carbon dioxide emission allowances in the EU ETS.

As detailed in a Jan. 8 article, the plan is expected to boost the price of allowances, which tumbled 65 percent in the past three years. While representatives of the EU's 28 governments cast their final vote in favor of the plan, in addition to Parliament, the European Council also must review the plan during a three-month evaluation period. EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard has asked the two institutions to shorten the evaluation period.

Commission to Hold Conference on Solar Imports

The International Trade Commission will hold a conference Jan. 21 in Washington on a an investigation into imports of allegedly dumped and subsidized photovoltaic products from China and Taiwan.

As covered in a Jan. 6 article, the investigation was launched in response to petitions filed by SolarWorld America Industries Inc. The new petitions escalate a dispute that started in 2011 involving the first unfair trade cases in the renewable energy field.

Climate Advisory Committee to Meet

The federal Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science, which was chartered in May 2013, will hold a meeting Jan. 22-23 in Raleigh, N.C.

The committee advises the Secretary of the Interior on the establishment and operations of the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center and the Department of the Interior Climate Science Centers on the management of natural resources in the face of climate change. 

CARB to Hold Meeting

The California Air Resources Board will hold a meeting Jan. 23 to discuss, among other items, the status of implementation of the Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act of 2008 (S.B. 375).

S.B. 375 requires each of the state's 18 urban planning organizations to develop and integrate a sustainable strategy into their long-range transportation and land-use plans. Plans must meet the regional targets the state air quality officials established to curb greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light-duty trucks.

The Year Ahead

On Jan. 24, the Wilson Center's Environmental Change and Security Program will hold an event in Washington, "The Year Ahead in Environment and Energy." Speakers from several media outlets will be featured, including Larry Pearl, Bloomberg BNA's director of Environmental News.

Bloomberg BNA will host a webinar Jan. 23 on "Outlook 2014: The Environmental Agenda in the Year Ahead," featuring BBNA reporters Andrew Childers, Alan Kovski, Pat Rizzuto and Amena H. Saiyid.