The Obama administration announced Monday that 81 major companies have committed to large reductions in carbon emissions, part of a broad push by the White House to show progress ahead of international climate talks in Paris this year. The companies that have made the pledge include such iconic American brands as Levi Strauss & Company, McDonald’s, I.B.M. and Procter & Gamble. They have operations in all 50 states, employ over nine million people, and have more than $3 trillion in annual revenue and a combined market capitalization of over $5 trillion, according to the White House.
Electricity bills may jump by as much as 16 percent by 2030 as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. said in a report posted on its website Friday. Texas joins other grid managers and utilities that have warned of higher prices and reliability issues from plant closures if the plan is finalized.
A conservative legal group is asking the Supreme Court to weigh the constitutionality of Colorado’s renewable energy standard after a lower court upheld the state’s program. The anti-regulatory nonprofit Energy & Environment Legal Institute has filed a petition asking the high court to examine the decision made by the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year, the group announced this week.
A key figure behind the Clean Air Act provision being used by U.S. EPA to regulate the power sector’s carbon emissions yesterday said an economywide cap-and-trade system proposed in 2009 would have been a less costly way to curb America’s greenhouse gas output than the statute he wrote.
When the Energy and Power Subcommittee holds its hearing Thursday, the rules for new, modified and existing power plants may have already been published in the Federal Register. And that will set off a chain of events in the courts and on Capitol Hill that will consume much of the rest of the Obama administration and determine the fate of the central platform of the president’s Climate Action Plan. But while Republicans in the House and Senate are expected to devote some time this fall to knocking down the landmark climate rule, the question of whether the Clean Power Plan survives Obama’s presidency will likely be resolved in the courts.
Speculation continues to fly over a deal that would lift the oil export ban while extending renewable tax credits. One key industry lobbyist last week said it could hitch a ride on an end-of-year budget deal. After cloistering himself at home for the past week to mull over the possibility, the Wisconsin Republican is “seriously considering” launching a bid to replace the retiring Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) as speaker, CBS News reported yesterday, citing “those close to him.”
T. Boone Pickens made billions drilling for oil and gas and squaring off in bare-knuckled corporate takeover bouts. Now the 87-year-old tycoon is embroiled in what may be the last big battle of his career. Only this one is aimed thousands of miles north of his Texas home. And it is over wind power.
The joint stance at a time when all companies are struggling with a sharp drop in oil prices also highlights a deep rift with U.S. oil companies such as Exxon Mobil and Chevron, who stayed away from the initiative. The chief executives of Total, Britain’s BP and BG Group, Italy’s Eni, Norway’s Statoil, Spain’s Repsol, Saudi Aramco and Pemex will again call for a global pricing system on carbon, which they say will give an economic incentive for the private sector to use cleaner sources of energy and to develop new technologies such as carbon capture and storage (CCS).
California will drop all investments in coal under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed yesterday, one of several energy and environment measures he enacted. S.B. 185 from Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Kevin de León requires California’s public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, to divest from thermal coal holdings. The Golden State will be the first in the United States to do so, a de León statement said.
In a release made public after the remarks, the governor’s office added that the administration will pursue a linkage between the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade system that involves eight other Northeastern states, and California’s carbon market, which is also linked to the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. “Connecting these markets would be more cost-effective and stable, thereby supporting clean energy and driving international carbon emission reductions,” the release stated. “New York State will also engage other states and provinces to build a broader carbon market and further drive an international discussion that encourages government action on carbon emissions.”