Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid ruled out action yesterday before November on a package to renew dozens of expired tax breaks, including key incentives for renewable energy, biofuels and efficiency. The Nevada Democrat laid the blame for the impasse at the feet of Republicans, who filibustered the so-called tax extenders bill last month to object to Reid’s management of the floor. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated that criticism today and said Republicans would continue to push for amendment votes if Reid brings the bill back up. Asked whether he had decided the extenders bill would not return to the floor before the elections, Reid said the continued impasse meant that was the case, despite the fact that the bill has broad support from the business community.
Enormous amounts of capital investment — up to $2.5 trillion a year — will be needed to supply the world’s energy needs through 2035, according to a report released Monday by the International Energy Agency, the intergovernmental organization based in Paris. A total of $40 trillion would go to developing and maintaining energy supplies, with $8 trillion more being spent on energy efficiency, the organization said in the report.
Coal production and mine employment would decline under the Obama administration’s rule proposal for controlling greenhouse gases from existing power plants, according to U.S. EPA’s analysis. The regulatory impact analysis that accompanies the landmark proposal released today outlines scenarios where coal would take a hit at the expense of natural gas and other energy sources. “The EPA projects coal production for use by the power sector, a large component of total coal production, will decline by roughly 25 to 27 percent in 2020 from base case levels,” said the analysis. “The use of coal by the power sector will decrease by roughly 30 to 32 percent in 2030.
As U.S. EPA crafted today’s proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from existing power plants, the agency was asked by environmentalists to use a model that would incorporate both “systemwide” reductions and those that can be achieved at individual plants, while industry advocates warned that such an approach would be challenged in court.
In the end, the proposal released this morning incorporates both “inside the fence line” and “outside the fence line” options, designating both as best systems of emissions reduction (BSER) for today’s power fleet.
Public health experts said Monday that if the president could make the new rules stick, reductions in air pollution would be likely to pay off in better health. Carbon dioxide from coal burning, a main cause of global warming, does not cause heart or lung problems itself, but the soot, chemicals and particles that accompany it can make people sick. For instance, researchers in New York City, led by Dr. George D. Thurston of the New York University School of Medicine, found that on days with high levels of ozone and air pollution, hospital admissions for respiratory problems rose about 20 percent.
Lawmakers from both parties vowed yesterday to pull out all the stops to block President Obama’s landmark rule to slash greenhouse gas emissions. But their supporters off Capitol Hill were privately grappling with a starker reality: No matter how many bills are introduced or appropriations riders floated, the regulatory process will march on unabated. “I’m kind of depressed,” said one Republican lobbyist who privately acknowledged that any effort to block the rule in Congress would be a “fool’s errand.”
President Obama’s new plan to fight climate change depends heavily on states’ devising individual approaches to meeting goals set in the nation’s capital, a strategy similar to the one he used to expand health care, often with rocky results. Rather than imposing a uniform standard for reducing power plant carbon emissions, the regulation unveiled on Monday offers the states flexibility to pick from a menu of policy options. But as with health care, the policy could lead to a patchwork of rules that frustrate businesses and invite resistance from states that oppose the policy.
Windmills do more than grind grain, and there’s a lot you may not know about wind energy. Here are six surprising facts to bring you back in the loop on one of America’s most promising energy opportunities.
Major targets for zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) deployment on the East and West coasts require consumer participation to become a reality, automakers are saying. California and Oregon, along with Massachusetts, New York and four other East Coast states, this week fleshed out their target of 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025, announced last October and detailed in an action plan yesterday. The plan calls for consumer incentives, like reduced tolls and access to high-occupancy vehicle lanes; more charging stations and lower barriers to finding them; rates for charging vehicles that are competitive with gasoline; and government- and company-backed ZEV fleets. The policies are intended to amplify the current upswing in electric vehicle purchases, bringing them from less than 1 percent of total sales today to 15 percent of new-car sales in the eight states by 2025.
President Obama will participate remotely in Monday’s rollout of one of the centerpieces of his second-term climate change agenda: U.S. EPA’s proposal to curb power plant carbon dioxide emissions. The president will be traveling in Europe but plans to participate in a call hosted by the American Lung Association and other health and medical organizations to emphasize why reducing CO2 emissions can help safeguard human health. “We’re excited to hear firsthand from the president about the proposal, and understand the public health benefits that are associated with it,” said Paul Billings, vice president of national policy and advocacy for ALA