News

Climate Campaign Can’t Be Deaf to Economic Worries, Obama Warns

Source: By CORAL DAVENPORT, New York Times • Posted: Thursday, June 26th, 2014

President Obama acknowledged Wednesday that his efforts to combat climate change — in particular, Environmental Protection Agency regulations to slash carbon pollution from cars and coal-fired power plants — could raise fuel and electricity prices. And he told environmental advocates that in order to make a credible case for such climate policies, officials would need to acknowledge Americans’ worries about the economic effects. “People don’t like gas prices going up; they are concerned about electricity prices going up,” Mr. Obama said in a speech at an annual dinner for the League of Conservation Voters. “If we’re blithe about saying, ‘This is the crisis of our time,’ but we don’t acknowledge these legitimate concerns — we’ve got to shape our strategies to address the very real and legitimate concerns of working families.”

Reid eyes confirmation vote in July as opposition looms

Source: Hannah Northey, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, June 26th, 2014

The Senate will vote on President Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission when the chamber returns following the Fourth of July recess, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) office. The Senate will also vote on Obama’s nomination of acting Chairwoman Cheryl LaFleur to another five-year term, but a week for that vote has not been set, according to Reid’s office.

Risky Business’ report from Steyer, allies puts climate costs at many billions of dollars annually

Source: Anne C. Mulkern, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Climate change-induced disasters including sea-level rise, extreme heat and crop losses will cost the country several billion dollars annually in the decades ahead, a report sponsored by wealthy environmental activist Tom Steyer, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) and past Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said today. “Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change to the United States” — an analysis more than a year in the making — projects losses across sectors and by region of the country. It aims to provide what it calls the first-ever “comprehensive assessment of the economic risks our nation faces from the changing climate.”

Solar, Wind, Natural Gas Dominate New US Power Installations

Source: by Roy L Hales, CleanTechnica • Posted: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Coal is no longer “king” of America’s energy production either. That title passed to natural gas, which now accounts for 42% of the total. Coal has sunk to the status of America’s #2 energy source, followed by nuclear energy. If the renewable sector is calculated as a group, their combined output is 16.28% and easily passes that of nuclear energy. More than half of that is hydropower. The next large segment is wind energy (5.26%).

Supreme Court affirms EPA’s authority to regulate CO2, even as it hauls on the agency’s reins

Source: Nathanael Massey, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

You’re getting what you wanted, but watch your step. That was the gist of the message delivered by the Supreme Court to U.S. EPA yesterday, as the court ruled for the third time in seven years to affirm the agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA). In a ruling that split the justices 7-2, the court found that EPA can require certain permits and carbon-control technologies for the majority of stationary carbon-emitting sources in the United States — provided those requirements are triggered not by carbon dioxide alone, but by other, more conventional pollutants.

EPA’s first carbon regs nearly unscathed after years of litigation

Source: Jeremy P. Jacobs, E&E reporter • Posted: Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

In announcing the majority opinion for the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday on U.S. EPA’s permitting for greenhouse gases, Justice Antonin Scalia — no friend of EPA — gave the agency a pat on the back. “EPA is getting almost everything it wanted in this case,” the conservative justice said from the bench. And — Scalia could have added — that is pretty much how EPA has fared on every legal challenge so far to President Obama’s climate change agenda. The Supreme Court’s ruling closes the curtain on a string of lawsuits spanning several years that aimed to undermine EPA’s first attempts to restrict emissions that contribute to global warming.

N.Y., R.I. pass climate change bills to protect against extreme weather

Source: Colin Sullivan and Christa Marshall, E&E reporters • Posted: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

New York and Rhode Island passed climate change bills last week to protect both coastal states against extreme weather events, although the fate of legislation in the Empire State is uncertain. The New York bill, called the “Community Risk Reduction and Resiliency Act” and sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, landed on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk after passing both chambers of the Legislature. It would force any state-funded project to plan for extreme weather events and the effects of climate change.

Bipartisan Report Tallies High Toll on Economy From Global Warming

Source: By JUSTIN GILLIS, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

More than a million homes and businesses along the nation’s coasts could flood repeatedly before ultimately being destroyed. Entire states in the Southeast and the Corn Belt may lose much of their agriculture as farming shifts northward in a warming world. Heat and humidity will probably grow so intense that spending time outside will become physically dangerous, throwing industries like construction and tourism into turmoil.

Debate rages on what ruling means for power plant curbs

Source: Jean Chemnick, E&E reporter • Posted: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

The Supreme Court ruling that limited some of U.S. EPA’s permitting program for greenhouse gases raised a big question: What does it mean for hot-button proposals for curbing heat-trapping emissions from power plants?

The decision handed down by a divided high court barely touched on the use of the Clean Air Act’s Section 111(d), which EPA is using to regulate carbon from power plants. Written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the opinion specified in a footnote that it doesn’t decide whether the provision EPA has used for its new and existing power plant rules is “ill suited to accommodating greenhouse gases.”

Justices Uphold Emission Limits on Big Industry

Source: By ADAM LIPTAK, New York Times • Posted: Tuesday, June 24th, 2014

In a big win for environmentalists, the Supreme Court on Monday effectively endorsed the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from sources like power plants, even as it criticized what it called the administration’s overreaching. The decision is one in a recent string of rulings upholding the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to issue Clean Air Act regulations to curb climate change, and the agency celebrated the decision. But the combative tone of Monday’s ruling, along with its rejection of one of the agency’s principal rationales for the regulations under review, suggests that the road ahead may be rocky for other initiatives meant to reduce carbon emissions.