The United States got almost everything it wanted in the landmark climate deal struck here this weekend. The historic agreement by 195 countries handed President Obama an international legacy on global warming without crossing any red lines drawn by U.S. negotiators. And it allowed the administration to tell the American public that it had pushed China, India and other major developing nations to shoulder an unprecedented share of the responsibility for cutting emissions.
White House and congressional negotiators are trading final offers over U.S. oil exports and concessions for home-state interests as they move toward wrapping up a tax and spending deal that would cap Congress’ year. House Speaker Paul Ryan told GOP lawmakers he expected compromise legislation to be publicly released today — a measure that would deliver victories for to both sides. But the Wisconsin Republican provided few details. The remarks, which Ryan made in a conference call with fellow GOP legislators Monday, were conveyed by an official who described the private conversation on condition of anonymity.
Energy and environment spending and policy issues remained sticking points last night in the ongoing negotiations over an omnibus appropriations bill and related efforts to extend a list of tax provisions. But the end is in sight, said lawmakers, and supporters of lifting decades-old restrictions on crude oil exports are expressing optimism about a policy change in their direction. A deal could become public as soon as today. With federal spending authority running out tomorrow, another short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open is likely.
Capitol Hill could learn as early as today whether lawmakers can seal a blockbuster end-of-year spending and tax agreement that would end the ban on crude oil exports and extend key renewable energy tax breaks. According to one lobbyist, an export deal included in a broader tax package would extend the PTC and ITC for five years, with the ITC qualification terms being adjusted to allow facilities to qualify when construction commences.
Texas already churns out more wind energy than any other state, and its solar power sector is rapidly growing — in some cases, pushing high-polluting coal plants out of the market. Those trends will need to continue if the fast-growing state plans to meet its carbon-cutting goal under President Obama’s Clean Power Plan. But quickly adding large amounts of renewable energy to the grid carries challenges, particularly since the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow.
“As our region grapples with the Clean Power Plan and a shifting generation portfolio, MISO’s transmission planning efforts are even more important,” Bear said. “Ensuring a robust transmission system will allow us to meet these challenges in a way that protects reliability.”
Terry Branstad, the humble Iowa governor whose sole piece of political flash is his Tom Selleck-size mustache, is about to whip the historical footnotes off a Revolutionary War hero. Branstad will become the longest-serving governor in U.S. history on Monday, besting a record that has stood since 1804. It is a record Branstad and others expect will last for some time to come.
The 40-year-old ban on most U.S. crude oil exports will “very likely” be lifted in the government spending bill, and talks on the final budget deal are likely to continue through the weekend, a Senate aide said on Friday. The White House has said repeatedly that President Barack Obama opposes legislation in the bill to lift the ban and that Congress should instead work to help green sources of energy. It has stopped short of saying Obama would veto a spending bill that includes lifting the ban.
But the Paris deal could represent the moment at which, because of a shift in global economic policy, the inexorable rise in planet-warming carbon emissions that started during the Industrial Revolution began to level out and eventually decline. At the same time, the deal could be viewed as a signal to global financial and energy markets, triggering a fundamental shift away from investment in coal, oil and gas as primary energy sources toward zero-carbon energy sources like wind, solar and nuclear power.
With the ink barely dry on a landmark climate accord, nations now face an even more daunting challenge: how to get their industries to go along. If nothing else, analysts and experts say, the accord is a signal to businesses and investors that the era of carbon reduction has arrived. It will spur banks and investment funds to shift their loan and stock portfolios from coal and oil to the growing industries of renewable energy like wind and solar.