To sidestep that requirement, President Obama’s climate negotiators are devising what they call a “politically binding” deal that would “name and shame” countries into cutting their emissions. The deal is likely to face strong objections from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from poor countries around the world, but negotiators say it may be the only realistic path. “If you want a deal that includes all the major emitters, including the U.S., you cannot realistically pursue a legally binding treaty at this time,” said Paul Bledsoe, a top climate change official in the Clinton administration who works closely with the Obama White House on international climate change policy.
A federal appeals court today threw out the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s approval of a regional operator’s decision to require a New Jersey electric utility to pay for grid upgrades that were completed years before it asked to join the operator’s network. At issue in the complicated case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is West Deptford Energy LLC’s application to join the PJM Interconnection.
Attorneys general from 13 states yesterday demanded that U.S. EPA withdraw its proposed rules for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from power plants for allegedly failing to disclose information required by the Clean Air Act. “Without such missing data and related materials, states and the public cannot properly determine that basis on which EPA claims that these emissions standards are achievable and reasonable,” the state attorneys general wrote to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.
If you live out West, you’ve likely noticed that things have been pretty dry lately. What you probably haven’t noticed is that the ground beneath your feet is also a little bit higher in elevation — an average of 4 millimeters higher, to be exact. It may be hard to believe, but new research using data from hundreds of different GPS stations shows it to be true: The current drought in the American West is so bad that the loss of water weight has actually caused the land to rise.
Savings due to avoided health problems help offset — and in some cases greatly outweigh — the costs of carbon dioxide-cutting policies in the United States, according to a new study. The study, led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, found that health benefits offset between 26 and 1,050 percent of the cost of greenhouse gas reduction policies. The study examined three different types of climate policies: a clean-energy standard, a transportation policy targeting on-road vehicles and a cap-and-trade program.
The world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer is on the verge of its first cash dividend payment in more than 10 years, possibly signaling a turnaround for the industry after a three-year slump. Vestas Wind Systems AS is set to meet solvency and profitability targets required for a dividend payment, according to seven analysts who responded to an emailed Bloomberg News survey. Six expect a payout will follow the 2015 announcement of this year’s earnings. All anticipate payments in 2016.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s largest wind turbine maker, said the U.S. market continues to show high activity, but the industry is starting to focus on whether the production tax credit (PTC) will be renewed before the end of the year. The Danish manufacturer announced turbine orders of 800 megawatts in the United States in the second quarter, which accounted for most of the 18 percent increase in total orders for the company versus last year. Vestas hired more than 2,000 people during the quarter, most of them at factories in Colorado, where it is ramping up production.
‘Major investment cycle’ and rapidly changing U.S. energy markets pose fresh challenges for FERC — Chairman LaFleur
Prudent. That word might best describe Cheryl LaFleur’s approach to her job — and answering questions about it — as chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. President Obama named the Harvard University-trained attorney and former National Grid executive to lead the agency at the end of July. She had been acting chairman of FERC since November after Jon Wellinghoff left the post before his term was up. LaFleur, 59, will serve as FERC chairman until April 15, 2015, when newly named Commissioner Norman Bay, the former head of FERC’s enforcement office, will step into that role.
The Iowa Senate race is one of a handful that will decide whether Republicans or Democrats control the Senate for the last two years of President Obama’s tenure. The race to succeed retiring Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, pits Bruce Braley, a Democrat who is currently in the United States House, against Joni Ernst, a Republican state senator.
U.S. emissions of air pollutants linked to cancer, asthma and other serious health problems have plunged over the past few decades, according to a report released today by U.S. EPA. Overall, toxic air pollution from smokestacks and other stationary sources has declined 1.5 million tons each year between 1990 and 2012, while emissions from motor vehicles and other moving pollution sources have been cut in half each year during that time, EPA said.