The Week Ahead: Second Presidential Debate, California Fuel Standard Case on Agenda


Will the second presidential debate Oct. 16 include a discussion of climate change? Maybe. The debate, to be held in a town-hall format at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., will feature undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization to ask questions on foreign and domestic issues. Each candidate will be given two minutes to respond.

According to survey results announced Oct. 9 by Yale University in a press release, 74 percent of Americans say "global warming is affecting weather in the United States," an increase of 5 percentage points since March.

However, if the first presidential debate is any indication, as detailed in an Oct. 4 World Climate Change Reportarticle, climate change may go unmentioned. The closest the candidates came to the controversial topic was clean energy funding and the elimination of oil industry tax breaks.

California's Low-Carbon Fuel Standard Under Scrutiny

On Oct. 16, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is scheduled to hear oral arguments in a lawsuit over California’s low-carbon fuel standard, which requires transportation fuels to be 10 percent less carbon-intensive by 2020 (Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Goldstene, 9th Cir., No. 12-15131). A Dec. 30, 2011, article provides details of the lawsuit, in which a lower court said California's standard discriminates against out-of-state fuel producers and therefore violates the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution. If the California Air Resources Board loses the lawsuit, the agency would have to rethink how it regulates the transportation fuel sector to achieve the greenhouse gas emission reductions required under the state's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.

Green Fund Host Country

The host country for the Green Climate Fund is expected to be selected during a board meeting Oct. 18-20 in Songdo, Korea. An Aug. 8 article provides background on the fund, which was created under the auspices of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to provide financing to developing countries to help them mitigate and adapt to climate change. The host country must be selected before the fund can become operational. Germany and Switzerland are seen as front-runners, in part because selection criteria favor host cities with existing diplomatic representation, the presence of other international organizations, and the availability of international meeting facilities.

RGGI Stakeholder Meeting

On Oct. 18, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative will hold a stakeholder webinar on the status of a review of its greenhouse gas trading program. The key item under review is the carbon dioxide emissions cap and whether it should be lowered. RGGI, which covers carbon dioxide emissions from large power plants, includes the six New England states, plus New York, Delaware, and Maryland. As covered in a May 26 article, New Jersey is no longer a RGGI member.

CARB Board Meeting

The California Air Resources Board will meet Oct. 18 in Sacramento. The agenda includes an update by CARB staff on implementation of the state's multisector greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program. CARB will hold the first auction for emission allowances Nov. 14, and the first compliance period begins Jan. 1.

Other Climate, Energy Events

New York's Department of Environmental Conservation will hold a webinar Oct 18 on "Quantifying GHG Reductions from Land-use Policy Change." The webinar will provide information on methods communities can use to determine which policies will provide the most significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

The Fourth Annual Renewable Energy Technology Conference and Exhibitionwill be held Oct. 16-19 in Washington, D.C. Keynote speakers include Dennis V. McGinn, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy; James Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization; Michael Lewis, chief operating officer of E.ON Climate & Renewables; and Dallas Tonsager, undersecretary for rural development at the Department of Agriculture.

On Oct. 15, the United States Indonesia Society will host a discussion in Washington, D.C., on "Adapting to Global Climate ChangeThe Role and Potential of Indonesia's Marine Resources." The featured speaker will be Indroyono Soesilo, executive secretary/deputy senior minister to the Coordinating Ministry for People’s Welfare of the Republic of Indonesia.