The Week Ahead: First Week of International Climate Talks Begins in Warsaw


Delegates from more than 190 nations will begin two weeks of negotiations Nov. 11 in Warsaw to devise a road map toward agreement on a new climate change treaty in 2015 to go into effect in 2020.

As covered in a pre-summit analysis published Nov. 1 in Energy and Climate Report, the talks also are expected to seek ways to ratchet up efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions before 2020.

The negotiations are formally known as the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 9th Meeting of Parties to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Poland's deputy environment minister, Beata Jaczewska, downplayed expectations for the Warsaw negotiations beyond getting a more formal timetable for the next two years of talks, including a crucial end-of-2014 summit in Lima, Peru, where negotiators are to draft the first text of the treaty. “Warsaw and Lima are only the steps towards Paris,” she said.

The climate summit is scheduled to run through Nov. 22.

House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee to Address Power Plants

A draft bill that would restrict the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants will be the subject of a hearing Nov. 14 by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

As covered in an Oct. 28 article, under the draft bill, the EPA could not regulate emissions from existing power plants until Congress passes a law specifying when the standards would be effective. The draft bill would also impose a number of conditions on proposed greenhouse gas emissions limits for new power plants.

President Barack Obama directed the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants as the centerpiece of his national climate action plan. The EPA unveiled its proposed new source performance standards for future power plants Sept. 20, and has held a series of listening sessions to solicit input as it prepares standards for existing power plants.

House Committee to Hold Hearing on Hurricane Sandy

The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will hold a hearing Nov. 14 on "Progress Report: Hurricane Sandy Recovery—One Year Later." As detailed in an Oct. 29 article, building resiliency in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, which caused an estimated $65 billion in damage, has been a focus of the federal government. For example, the Interior Department has been helping the area prepare for future sea-level rise.

State Department Teleconference Call on Energy Development in South Africa

U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard will hold a teleconference call Nov. 14 on "Opportunities in South Africa's Energy Sector." According to the State Department, South Africa plans to double its electricity generating capacity by 2030, offering opportunities for U.S. exports of goods and services and U.S. direct investment.

According to the department, South Africa's planned 2030 electricity supply mix is expected to include 48 percent coal, 15 percent renewables, 14 percent nuclear, 14 percent natural gas, 6 percent domestic hydropower and 2 percent imported hydropower.

CARB to Hold Workshop on Retrofits

The California Air Resources Board will hold a public workshop Nov. 12 to discuss certification procedures adopted Sept. 26 for retrofitting vehicles and engines to operate on alternative fuels. California regulations prohibit the conversion of emission-controlled vehicles to operate on an alternative fuel, such as natural gas or propane, unless the conversion has been approved by CARB.

Other Climate, Energy Events

The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions will hold a webinar Nov. 13 on "Building Business Resilience to Climate Change: American Water." Mark LeChevallier of American Water will describe efforts by global companies to confront climate change impacts affecting water supplies, including variation and intensity of rainfall, flooding and drought, and extreme weather events.

The United States Energy Association will hold an event Nov. 12 in Washington on "The Status of Afghanistan's Power Sector." The event will feature representatives from Afghanistan's national power utility and government ministries.

The Maryland-DC-Virginia Solar Energy Industries Association will host a conference Nov. 11-12 in Washington on "The Sun Rises in the East: The Growth of East Coast Distributed Solar."