President Obama last night reasserted his power to act on climate change without Congress, using a trip to China to announce new U.S. emissions-reduction obligations that he said could be achieved under authorities he already has. Obama pledged that the United States would cut its heat-trapping emissions to between 26 and 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. His announcement — which came together with a new promise by China to cap its own emissions no later than 2030 — is the first and perhaps most significant U.S. contribution toward an international climate agreement to be finalized in Paris next year.
President Obama’s landmark agreement with China to cut greenhouse gas pollution is a bet by the president and Democrats that on the issue of climate change, American voters are far ahead of Washington’s warring factions and that the environment will be a winning cause in the 2016 presidential campaign. A variety of polls show that a majority of American voters now believe that climate change is occurring, are worried about it, and support candidates who back policies to stop it. In particular, polls show that majorities of Hispanics, young people and unmarried women — the voters who were central to Mr. Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 — support candidates who back climate change policy.
The top Republican on the Senate’s tax-writing committee says he does not expect many changes to a “hard-fought” package of tax break renewals that members from both parties want to see enacted before the end of the year — an assessment that is good news for supporters of a key renewable energy tax break. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who is ranking member on the Finance Committee, said yesterday that he would look at calls from conservative groups to eliminate the production tax credit, which primarily benefits wind energy, but he echoed earlier sentiments suggesting that lawmakers should not meddle with the overall package of “tax extenders,” of which the PTC is a part.
Denmark, a tiny country on the northern fringe of Europe, is pursuing the world’s most ambitious policy against climate change. It aims to end the burning of fossil fuels in any form by 2050 — not just in electricity production, as some other countries hope to do, but in transportation as well. Now a question is coming into focus: Can Denmark keep the lights on as it chases that lofty goal?
The airship, called the Aeroscraft, will take off and land like a helicopter. Its designers, Mr. Pasternak says, have solved the major problem for lighter-than-air crafts: buoyancy control. If a dirigible unloads heavy cargo, it must be tethered or take on the same weight to keep from floating away. The Aeroscraft sends helium from its main chamber into compression tanks, which creates room for air — which is heavier than the helium — to be taken in, allowing for a controlled descent.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has just come out with an analysis highlighting the value of wind energy to the state of Texas, indicating that the overall societal benefits of the wind resource add up to about $3.3 billion annually. The gross annual savings to consumers are estimated at $1.2 billion.
For the second time in less than a week, conservative activists are urging Congress not to extend a key renewable energy tax credit, saying that doing so would be tantamount to endorsing President Obama’s climate agenda. Americans for Prosperity today sent a letter to Capitol Hill outlining its objections to the production tax credit, which Senate Democrats hope to extend during the lame-duck session that begins later this week. “Americans for Prosperity requests that you reject any package that includes the expired wind production tax credit,” writes Brent Gardner, AFP’s director of federal affairs, in a letter addressed to all members of the House and Senate. “A vote for the PTC is a vote in support of President Obama’s destructive climate action plan.”
With lawmakers returning today for a postelection session in which tax policy is expected to be high on the agenda, the fight over a key renewable energy credit is picking up steam on and off Capitol Hill, sources said this week. Eliminating the production tax credit has emerged as a top priority in the lame-duck session for a variety of conservative groups that are urging newly empowered Republicans to strip the credit from a broader “tax extenders” package that lawmakers from both parties have said they want to see passed before the end of the year.
Gov. Paul LePage’s re-election Tuesday gives him a huge opportunity to influence Maine’s energy policy as the region’s electricity generation challenges will take center stage during the next four years. Energy policy is an area of high concern for the governor, and one in which his ambitions outstripped his accomplishments during his first term, but not for a lack of trying.
U.S. EPA pushed back yesterday against the electric grid monitor’s warnings about the Clean Power Plan’s threat to reliability, saying the organization’s report ignored major changes already taking place in the nation’s power system. At issue is the North American Electric Reliability Corp. report that portrayed EPA’s proposal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants as a threat to reliable electricity by the plan’s initial compliance deadline in 2020. The report has quickly gained traction with congressional Republicans and industry foes of the EPA climate rule.