California will drop all investments in coal under a bill Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed yesterday, one of several energy and environment measures he enacted. S.B. 185 from Senate President Pro Tem Sen. Kevin de León requires California’s public pension funds, CalPERS and CalSTRS, to divest from thermal coal holdings. The Golden State will be the first in the United States to do so, a de León statement said.
In a release made public after the remarks, the governor’s office added that the administration will pursue a linkage between the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade system that involves eight other Northeastern states, and California’s carbon market, which is also linked to the Canadian provinces of Quebec and Ontario. “Connecting these markets would be more cost-effective and stable, thereby supporting clean energy and driving international carbon emission reductions,” the release stated. “New York State will also engage other states and provinces to build a broader carbon market and further drive an international discussion that encourages government action on carbon emissions.”
Some 14 billion pounds of potential investment in renewable energy projects in Scotland is under threat because of cuts in subsidies by the British government, Scotland’s energy minister said. Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Business, Energy, and Tourism minister, said figures from Britain’s Energy and Department for Climate change showed companies had indicated they could invest around 14 billion pounds in renewable projects such as wind farms, in Scotland.
Heads of 11 companies that generate a third of the world’s electricity urged governments on Sunday to agree clear, long-term policies to underpin a shift to lower-carbon energy as part of a U.N. agreement on climate change due in December.They also issued a report about how new technologies can both raise electricity supplies and limit greenhouse gases. These included more-efficient solar power, sea-based floating wind turbines and methods to capture emissions from coal-fired power plants.
Wind gusts Sunday in two Montana cities reached as high as 72 miles per hour, but except for a damaged wind turbine at Billings’ City College campus, damage was moderate. “We didn’t really get a lot of damage reports, which is kind of odd,” said Marc Singer, science and operations officer for the National Weather Service. “It was obviously a really windy day.
A Republican operative-turned federal judge has emerged as one of the most powerful critics of President Obama’s environmental rules. Judge Brett Kavanaugh — a 50-year-old George W. Bush administration appointee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit — has pounded the administration in a series of legal opinions rebuffing some of its most high-profile air pollution rules. And because he’s widely seen as an influential voice with Supreme Court justices and a leading contender for a GOP nomination to the high court, Kavanaugh’s legal moves are being closely watched by those on both sides of the environmental debate.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz pledged today that his department will spend the next 15 months doing everything it can to improve U.S. energy efficiency, both by promulgating rules and by modernizing the power grid. “We are scheduled to roll out more than 20 additional efficiency rules in the remainder of this administration, kind of driving the system to the breaking point,” Moniz told a Washington, D.C., hotel ballroom full of smart grid experts. “But we think it’s really important to go there.”
The head of the American Petroleum Institute today repeatedly declined to offer an opinion as to whether the group would support a legislative compromise to lift the crude oil export ban in exchange for extending key renewable energy tax incentives. API President and CEO Jack Gerard told reporters he was “heartened” by Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid’s August comments that the Nevada Democrat was open to talks of lifting the ban if more tax credits for renewables are on the table. Reid’s comments echoed a sentiment expressed by other Senate Democrats, who have argued that a boost for the oil sector should include help for renewables.
Supreme Court justices yesterday probed whether federal regulators overstepped legal limits with a rule incentivizing energy conservation. At issue is the scope of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s power in a case on a demand-response rule that required that power users be paid for committing to scale back electricity use at times of peak demand. A lower court threw out the rule last year, agreeing with power generators and other challengers that FERC — charged with regulating wholesale electricity sales — had overstepped its authority by wading into the retail electricity market. Retail power sales to businesses and residential customers legally fall under states’ jurisdiction.
The Democratic hopefuls for president vowed to embrace forceful measures to combat climate change in their curtain-raising debate last night without explaining how they would enlist the help of Republican lawmakers needed to enact their ambitious plans. Four of the five candidates raised the climate issue in their opening statements, marking a clear contrast to the 2012 presidential election, when President Obama largely avoided the topic. One analyst described the debate as a symbol of growing Democratic confidence that climate change can win primary votes while also exposing Republicans to vulnerabilities in the general election.