The Week Ahead: Focus Turns to March 31 UN Deadline as Congress Takes Two-Week Break

The United Nations deadline for countries to file greenhouse gas pledges necessary to keep a global climate change deal on track is March 31.

As covered in a March 24 Energy and Climate Report article, the U.S. promised to meet the deadline.

As of last week, only the European Union and Switzerland had submitted plans, representing about 10 percent of global emissions.

According to environmental groups tracking the UN talks, other major economies, including Australia, China, India and Japan, are unlikely to complete submissions by the deadline.

European Emissions Trading Scheme on Agenda

Negotiations will begin March 30 between the European Parliament and European Union member states on adjustments to the bloc's emissions trading system (ETS) intended to prevent buildup of large carbon-allowance surpluses, despite ongoing disagreement between EU countries on when the adjustment mechanism should start.

As detailed in a March 26 article, the Council of the European Union, which represents the governments of member states, said it had given Latvia, which holds the council's rotating presidency, a mandate to start the negotiations on the so-called ETS market stability reserve.

The reserve is intended to help boost the carbon price by reducing the supply of allowances, thus encouraging low-carbon investment by ETS participants, including power stations and heavy industry.

Other Energy, Climate Events

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a technical conference March 31 in St. Louis to discuss the EPA proposed Clean Power Plan, including issues related to electricity reliability, wholesale electricity markets and operations and energy infrastructure.

On March 31, Janice Schneider, assistant secretary for Lands and Minerals Management for the Department of Interior, will be the featured speaker at a Natural Gas Roundtable lunch in Washington. She will discuss developments in offshore energy production.

The Washington Post will hold a forum April 2 in Washington on “Securing America’s Energy Future.”

Speakers include Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, deputy secretary for the Energy Department; Tony Clark, commissioner for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and Robert Johnston, chief executive for the Eurasia Group.

On March 31, the District of Columbia Bar Association will hold conference in Washington on “Measuring the Social Cost of Carbon: The Promise and Pitfalls of Using the SCC to Justify Regulation.”

Speakers include Richard Ayres, co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council and managing partner with Ayres Law Group LLP; Kevin Dayaratna, senior statistician and research programmer for the Heritage Foundation; Laurie Johnson, affiliated scholar for the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law; and Patrick Traylor, partner at Hogan Lovells.

Resources for the Future will hold a webcast April 1 in Washington on “Reforming Offshore Energy Leasing in the U.S. Arctic.”  The webcast will feature a panel discussion among William Brown, chief environmental officer for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management; David Hayes, former deputy secretary and chief operating officer for the Department of the Interior; and Jan Mares, senior policy advisor for the RFF.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute will hold a briefing April 1 in Washington on “How Can the Federal Government Help Prepare Local Communities for Natural Disasters.”

Speakers include Sam Ricketts, director of the Washington, D.C., Office of Gov. Jay Inslee (D-WA); Jennifer Jurado, director of environmental planning and community resilience for Broward County, Fla.; and Carolyn Berndt, program director for sustainability and federal advocacy for the National League of Cities.

On March 31, the Women’s Council on Energy and Environment will hold an event in Washington on “The Impact of Cheap Oil on Gas Prices.” AAA Federal Relations Director Avery Ash will be the featured speaker.

The U.S. Energy Association will hold an event March 31 in Washington to discuss two reports issued in February by the National Academy of Sciences on "Carbon Dioxide Removal and Reliable Sequestration" and "Reflecting Sunlight to Cool Earth."

Marcia McNutt, committee chair for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, will be the featured speaker.

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