New Draft of Climate Accord Leaves Big Issues Unresolved

Source: By The Associated Press • Posted: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

With just two days left to reach a deal, negotiators at the world climate talks released a new draft Wednesday that drops the most radical ideas — including an international tribunal to punish polluters — but leaves major issues unresolved, such as who should pay to help the most vulnerable nations cope with global warming. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry challenged diplomats to reach agreement by Friday’s deadline, promising American funding for low-lying island nations and other countries hit hardest by the rising seas and extreme weather that scientists attribute to man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Litigation ‘Super Bowl’ tops list of 2016 cases to watch

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

The morass of litigation engulfing the Obama administration’s signature climate change rule will be the top environmental law issue to watch next year, according to new rankings from Vermont Law School. U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan — a contentious rule requiring power plants to curb their greenhouse gas emissions — is at the center of a massive court battle that is widely expected to drag on for years and ultimately wind up at the Supreme Court. The legal “Super Bowl” surrounding the regulation ranked No. 1 on the law school’s annual top 10 list.

Pa.’s draft climate plan holds high hopes for efficiency, renewables

Source: Elizabeth Harball, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Pennsylvania’s blueprint for reducing its economywide greenhouse gas emissions will likely include a substantial focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency, as evidenced by a draft of the state’s upcoming Climate Change Action Plan. The Pennsylvania Climate Change Act of 2008 requires the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to submit a climate change “Action Plan” to the governor every three years. The 2015 draft was shared with the state Climate Change Advisory Committee at a meeting held last month.

Cruz rejects climate science as he rises in the polls

Source: Evan Lehmann, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz sought to establish himself as a leading opponent of climate action among Republican presidential hopefuls yesterday as he continued to target conservative voters less than two months before the Iowa caucuses. Cruz, who last month said that Democrats were lying about climate change to advance their policies, lampooned climate scientists, environmentalists and the Obama administration yesterday in a hearing meant to raise doubts about people’s responsibility for climbing temperatures.

Spending deal may not come together until next week

Source: Hannah Hess, Geof Koss and Manuel Quiñones, E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

The House appears headed for a Friday vote on the short-term continuing spending resolution to keep the federal government open while lawmakers continue to negotiate a long-term deal. Senate and House leaders have yet to say how long the CR will be for. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters today that she expected it to be “very short.” Ongoing talks are focusing on whether the spending bill will also include a measure to extend a slew of tax provisions. Policy riders also continue to jam the process. House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said “several dozen” riders, including a provision targeting U.S. EPA’s Clean Water Act jurisdiction rule, were still part of the negotiations.

Horse-trading, rumors persist with 5-day reprieve on tap

Source: Geof Koss, Hannah Hess and Manuel Quinones E&E reporters • Posted: Thursday, December 10th, 2015

oth chambers of Congress are expected to pass a continuing resolution tomorrow to ward off a government shutdown as negotiations over an omnibus spending measure and tax extenders package continue. The House Rules Committee will meet this afternoon to set the terms of debate for the five-day CR, which extends the current stopgap funding measure through Dec. 16. The House will not be in session this weekend.

Power companies, states urge court to keep climate rule alive

Source: Robin Bravender, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Stopping U.S. EPA’s climate change rules for power plants could hurt utilities investing to crack down on their greenhouse gas emissions, a coalition of energy companies told a federal court yesterday. A broad coalition of utilities, states and others have asked the court to issue a stay halting the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan while litigation plays out. But several power companies including NextEra Energy Inc., Calpine Corp., Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and Southern California Edison Co. today urged judges to keep the rule in place.

The Cleanest Cities? It’s Not So Simple

Source: By CONRAD DE AENLLE, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Experts in urban planning and related fields acknowledge that there are many ways to measure energy efficiency — or energy intensity, an idea that encompasses the quantity and quality of energy consumed — and that any assessment must include a degree of subjectivity. Some surveys adjust the measurement of a city’s energy intensity to include not just how much its residents consume but also how much others consume on their behalf.

Bill Gates Takes On Climate Change With Nudges and a Powerful Rolodex Photo

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT and NICK WINGFIELD, New York Times • Posted: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Mr. Gates told Mr. Hollande that energy innovation needed to be a top agenda item at the climate change conference now taking place in this airport suburb outside Paris. For years, Mr. Gates had prodded governments to increase spending on research and development of clean technologies. He had sunk $1 billion of his own fortune into start-ups working on new kinds of batteries and nuclear reactors. “Honestly, I’ve been a bit surprised that the climate talks historically haven’t had R.&D. on the agenda in any way, shape or form,” Mr. Gates, 60, said in an interview last week on the sidelines of the summit meeting, which ends on Friday.

Crude exports still ‘in the mix,’ but window may be closing

Source: Geof Koss and Hannah Hess, E&E reporters • Posted: Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

According to a summary of the House extenders bill, the PTC would be extended through the end of 2016. However, the bill is silent on the extension of the investment tax credit for solar that many Democrats have wanted. The omission of the ITC from the two-year bill comes despite a plea yesterday from Nat Kreamer, chairman of the board of the Solar Energy Industries Association, who flagged his experiences serving in the special forces in Afghanistan in a letter to House Ways and Means members.