Energy overhaul legislation and an aid package for Flint, Mich., remain stalled in the Senate with no prospects for quick action. “I keep hearing that they’re closer and closer to resolution, but they haven’t gotten there yet. I’m not giving up hope,” said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas).
In a wave of briefs filed with the D.C. Circuit last week ahead of a court deadline, many of the rule’s supporters also provided anecdotes to bolster the administration’s message. “We are so dependent on agriculture and farmers are such an important part of our state economically and culturally in every way, and climate change presents enormous problems for farmers, particularly in terms of the temperatures,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller (D), an intervenor in the case, said during a press call. Miller noted that while temperatures are “pretty close to ideal in Iowa right now, that could change dramatically over time.”
Worldwide orders for the new lower-priced Tesla electric car hit 276,000 over the weekend, surprising even the company’s CEO, who says it may force Tesla to open another factory. CEO Elon Musk posted the number Sunday on his Twitter feed and said if the trend continues, Model 3 orders could hit 500,000 and would require another factory in Europe to meet demand.
Officials say those wind and hydro resources will be critical to complying with the Clean Power Plan, which requires Minnesota to achieve a nearly 42 percent rate reduction in power-sector carbon emissions by 2030. “Without our link to the north, I think we’d have a very different recipe for getting there,” David McMillan, Minnesota Power’s executive vice president, said of the utility’s compliance strategy. “There are very few resources like this that can produce energy around the clock, 12 months of the year, and do so in an entirely emissions-free manner.”
Renewable energy like solar and wind is booming across the country as the costs of production have come down. But the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t blow when we need it to. This challenge has sparked a technology race to store energy — one that goes beyond your typical battery.
If the United States is going to get serious about cutting carbon emissions from oil and gas, it will have to find ways to scale up its use of renewable energy. Converting wind and solar power into electricity is, in some ways, the easy part. The bigger challenge is developing the infrastructure to transmit that electricity across the country. In the case of wind, most of that power is generated far from the urban centers that would use it. Transmission would require a new nationwide system of power lines reaching from the windiest parts of the country. Such a system could also allow power suppliers the flexibility to shift supply depending on variations in weather.
Senate Democrats are pushing to extend a key renewable tax break for a number of power sources in legislation to reauthorize the Federal Aviation Administration that is slated to receive a vote later this week. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) yesterday filed cloture on a House-passed tax measure, H.R. 636, that will be the vehicle for the FAA bill, with the procedural vote expected tomorrow. Meanwhile, Michigan Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters last night signaled that there had been no progress on finding a compromise to allow votes on the Senate’s energy bill and a package to provide assistance to residents of Flint, Mich., to cope with the city’s drinking water crisis.
If Congress hopes to pass an energy bill this year, its best hope may be in a post-election lame-duck session, but both chambers would need to pass their own versions first. The House passed its own narrower version late last year.
“Fossil fuel companies that deceived investors and consumers about the dangers of climate change should be held accountable,” Healey said yesterday morning in Manhattan at a meeting of state attorneys general about climate change. “We can all see today the troubling disconnect between what Exxon knew and what the company shared with the public regarding the consequences of burning the fuel it markets,” she said. “That’s why we have joined in investigating Exxon Mobil.”
Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) lashed out at climate regulations following an announcement Thursday that two major Powder River Basin coal companies are laying off hundreds of workers. “If they were truly concerned about global warming, if they are truly concerned about issues like regional haze, this is not the way to go about addressing those problems,” Mead said during a press conference yesterday evening, referring to federal regulators.