Investigations and potential future litigation against Exxon Mobil Corp. over its alleged past misinformation about global warming are just the beginning of a new era of climate change legal pursuits, several attorneys predicted this week. New legal maneuvers could feature the government, consumers, investors and insurance companies as plaintiffs, said the attorneys, who spoke at the Climate Action 2016 summit in Washington, D.C.
The top official at the Environmental Protection Agency said Friday the ongoing legal fight over regulating carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants won’t delay the nation’s accelerating shift to cleaner sources of energy. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke at Climate Action 2016, a conference in Washington on efforts to curb global warming. Seeking to reassure her international audience, McCarthy said the United States will absolutely meet its obligations to cut carbon emissions as agreed to in the landmark climate treaty signed in Paris last December.
Congress’ in-house research shop has drafted a summary of the complicated legal battle over the Obama administration’s climate regulations. The Congressional Research Service late last month released a backgrounder in the case, West Virginia v. U.S. EPA, where nearly 160 parties are challenging EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
The United States can reach its Paris climate goals with current and emerging technologies and today’s suite of policy signals, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. Speaking at an event hosted by the European delegation to the United States, Moniz said the Climate Action Plan that President Obama introduced three years ago could deliver on the U.S. pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions between 26 and 28 percent compared with 2005 levels by 2025 when coupled with technology improvements that are already in the pipeline. But new laws will be needed to put the United States on a path to contribute to Paris’ goal of keeping warming to no more than 2 degrees Celsius.
Energy security remains a top concern, even with growing U.S. supplies of oil, natural gas and renewable energy, said U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, kicking off a public forum on energy policies, electric markets and the grid in Des Moines on Friday. “Energy security for the United States is not simply a national issue but an international issue,” Moniz said. “The insecurity of our friends in Europe, for example, directly influences what we can do.
Tesla Motors will accelerate production of all its electric vehicles, pushed by heady demand for its planned midpriced car, the company said yesterday. Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla, best known as a maker of luxury EVs, said it’s on track to start making the mainstream Model 3 in 2017. In addition, because of the clamor for that car, Tesla will push up its plan to hit production of 500,000 total cars annually, reaching that road mark by 2018.
The Netherlands’ environment minister described Donald Trump’s views on climate change as “wrong” yesterday, hours after the celebrity businessman solidified his grasp on the Republican nomination for president. A handful of other foreign officials also expressed concern about Trump’s dismissive comments on rising temperatures. Together, those worries might foreshadow international disagreements facing a Trump administration on an environmental issue that 195 nations recently pledged to address as a global threat.
Think, for a moment, of carbon dioxide as garbage, a waste product from burning fossil fuels. Like other garbage, almost all of that CO2 is thrown away — into the atmosphere, where it contributes to climate change. A small amount is captured and stored underground to keep it out of the air. But increasingly, scientists are asking, rather than throwing away or storing CO2, how about recycling some of it?
“We knew we weren’t going to win,” said the Nebraska Peace Foundation’s Mark Vasina, who introduced the proposal for the foundation at the meeting. The goal was to raise the issue, he said. Responding to the foundation’s resolution, Buffett said climate change is highly probable, not certain, and poses “no adverse impact on the insurance business,” Vasina recalled.
A new Fish and Wildlife Service plan to permit energy companies to kill federally protected bald and golden eagles for up to 30 years is drawing mixed reviews from wind and wildlife advocates. The draft rule would give wind farms, power lines and other large projects license to injure, disturb or kill a limited number of eagles in exchange for commitments to avoid and mitigate harm.