China rolls out cap and trade, tops U.S. aid pledge

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, September 28th, 2015

Six years ago when cap-and-trade legislation was working its way through Congress, its foes warned the emissions scheme would put U.S. industry at a disadvantage because China wouldn’t follow suit. But China has turned the tables, announcing a cap-and-trade plan today for its greenhouse gas emissions while there’s nearly no chance for the United States to do the same.

And the world’s second-largest economy also said it would provide $3.1 billion in climate finance to poor countries, topping the U.S. pledge of $3 billion over four years.

‘Any harm done to the environment … is harm done to humanity’

Source: Lisa Friedman, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, September 28th, 2015

Speaking to a packed hall that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, as well as Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) sitting next to Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the pope called for a “fundamental and effective” international climate agreement in Paris in December. He also linked the effort to protect the environment directly with alleviating poverty. Referencing his landmark encyclical on the environment, Francis also denounced consumerism and what he called “a culture of waste” that goes hand-in-hand with fueling poverty and destruction of the environment.

The Connection Between Cleaner Air and Longer Lives

Source: By Michael Greenstone, New York Times • Posted: Friday, September 25th, 2015

Since that time, the Clean Air Act has repeatedly been challenged as costly and unnecessary. As a fight brews over President Obama’s new use of the law to address global warming, it’s worth re-examining the vast difference the law has already made in the quality of the air we breathe, and in the length of our lives.

How a wind-energy project proposed off CA’s Morro Bay’s coast would work

Source: By Stephanie Finucane, The Tribune • Posted: Friday, September 25th, 2015

In a generation or two, offshore wind farms could be as common along the California coast as offshore oil rigs are today. And Morro Bay could be the community where the offshore wind industry gets its start in the Golden State. Trident Winds LLC has approached the city of Morro Bay with a proposal to install about 100 floating turbines 15 miles offshore. It’s a 1,000-megawatt project that would produce enough energy to power 150,000 households. The turbines would rise 360 to 400 feet above sea level, would cover about 63 square miles and would be spaced about half-a-mile apart.

McConnell tees up ‘clean’ continuing resolution

Source: Geof Koss, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, September 25th, 2015

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) this afternoon filed a “clean” continuing resolution, after the upper chamber rejected a stopgap funding measure that would have defunded Planned Parenthood. With this afternoon’s failed 52-47 vote on the CR, McConnell demonstrated what he’s been saying for weeks: that Republicans lack the votes in the Senate to block Planned Parenthood from receiving federal funds. Senators today said they anticipate sending the clean version to the House early next week, where conservatives have vowed to oppose any spending measure that funds Planned Parenthood.

China to Announce Cap-and-Trade Program to Limit Emissions

Source: By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Friday, September 25th, 2015

President Xi Jinping of China will make a landmark commitment on Friday to start a national program in 2017 that will limit and put a price on greenhouse gas emissions, Obama administration officials said Thursday. The move to create a so-called cap-and-trade system would be a substantial step by the world’s largest polluter to reduce emissions from major industries, including steel, cement, paper and electric power. The announcement, to come during a White House summit meeting with President Obama, is part of an ambitious effort by China and the United States to use their leverage internationally to tackle climate change and to pressure other nations to do the same.

Call for ‘courageous actions’ unlikely to spur split Congress

Source: Robin Bravender and Jean Chemnick, E&E reporters • Posted: Friday, September 25th, 2015

Pope Francis prodded a deeply divided Congress to take “courageous” steps to combat environmental damage, but his calls aren’t likely to spur the entrenched foes of the Obama administration’s green agenda. In his historic speech on Capitol Hill — the first by a pontiff to the U.S. Congress — Francis doubled down on his recent efforts to prompt bold global action to tackle climate change and other environmental problems, citing them as moral issues.

N.C. fails to extend renewable tax credit

Source: By Darren Sweeney, SNL • Posted: Thursday, September 24th, 2015

North Carolina lawmakers did not extend the state’s renewable energy tax credit in the budget they passed last week. The tax credit is set to expire at the end of this year. The Senate made revisions to the budget before it was passed, including cutting out a two-year extension of the renewable energy tax credit. The budget is now awaiting the governor’s approval.

The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association had expressed concerns about that possibility before the budget was passed, saying losing the 35 percent investment tax credit would be squandering “one of our state’s greatest economic opportunities of this decade and the next.”

Net metering vs. storage creates clash between some allies

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 24th, 2015

Tesla Motors Inc. and SolarCity Corp. consider themselves partners. On the issue of energy storage, however, they’re in an uncomfortable marriage. Tesla wants to expand the battery storage market and has launched a new arm to pursue that aim. When it opens its Gigafactory now under construction in Nevada, the electric vehicle company plans to dedicate up to a third of production for grid-connected storage systems that SolarCity and others will market.

But a position of SolarCity and other solar partners clashes with that vision. Solar companies have been pushing in California to protect net metering, the policy that allows those with rooftop photovoltaics to earn electricity bill credit for excess power sent to the grid. It’s a benefit available in some form in 44 states.

Interior to lease 344K acres off N.J.

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, September 24th, 2015

The Interior Department today announced it will hold a Nov. 9 auction for the rights to build wind farms in 344,000 acres of federal waters off New Jersey. If fully developed, the wind area that has been divided into two leasing areas could generate more than 3,400 megawatts of carbon-emission-free energy, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The announcement comes months after Deepwater Wind began construction on the nation’s first offshore wind project in Rhode Island state waters. The $225 million, 30 MW Block Island Wind Farm will have five turbines and is scheduled to begin producing energy next year.