With the Keystone XL Pipeline dead on Capitol Hill for now, talk of next year’s Senate turnover and a revived measure begins. As the Bloomberg article, below, points out, any 2015 vote promises to be different when Republicans take control of the chamber with at least eight more members. It’s a personnel make-up likely to be enough to win passage, though short of the 67 needed to overcome a presidential veto without significant Democratic defections. More from the political files: a carbon tax is revived. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, on Wednesday introduced legislation to put a $42 per ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions. Below, The New York Times weighs in with a carbon tax economics column. Plus, UNEP is out with its naughty list.
Quote of the day
“On the one hand, we’re way off track. But on the other hand, there is increasing evidence that much of this can be done more cheaply than has previous been estimated.”
–Andrew Steer, president of the World Resources Institute, a Washington think tank that provided technical support for the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) study.
Senate Rejection of Keystone XL Measure Sets Up 2015 Showdown
Keystone XL pipeline backers came up one vote short in the Senate and vowed to try again in January, when they expect to have enough support to send a bill to President Barack Obama.
Senate effort to approve Keystone XL falls one vote short
The US Senate voted by 59 votes to 41 to approve the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline yesterday, falling just short of the 60 vote majority needed to pass the bill.
Could Obama cut deal on Keystone pipeline? Don’t rule it out
Steve Holland and Roberter Rampton – Reuters
President Barack Obama might be open to using the Keystone pipeline as leverage with Republicans if they cooperate on other aspects of his long-stalled domestic agenda, such as investing in infrastructure, closing tax loopholes or reducing carbon emissions.
Bucking Pelosi, Dems pick Pallone
Mike Lillis – TheHill
In a blow to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) – and a win for the seniority system – House Democrats on Wednesday chose Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) to be ranking member of a powerful energy committee in the next Congress.
U.N. report: Promised cuts in carbon emissions not enough to prevent warming
Pledges by the United States and other countries to sharply reduce greenhouse-gas emissions still aren’t enough to prevent global temperatures from rising beyond levels that scientists believe could be dangerous to the planet’s health, a U.N.-commissioned study says.
** The report.
UN wants net zero carbon emissions by 2070
Timothy Cama – The Hill
The United Nations recommends that the world reduce its net carbon dioxide emissions to zero within the next six decades to avoid the worst impacts from climate change. Any emissions from burning fossil fuels should be accompanied by measures that reduce carbon by an equal amount by sometime between 2055 and 2070, the U.N. said in a Wednesday report, according to Bloomberg News.
European, US and Chinese commitments create critical momentum on the road to Paris
Press Release – Climate Markets & Investment Association
he Climate Markets and Investment Association would like to congratulate the EU, US and China for laying out their initial commitments in advance of Lima. These bring critical momentum into the process on the road to Paris. We look forward to the high level commitments being enacted in national and regional law and regulations. We further call for all Parties to follow their lead and show much greater ambition and sense of urgency in Lima than was evident in Warsaw to ensure global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius.
China Plans to Slow Energy Consumption Increase to 28% by 2020
China, a week after unveiling an accord aimed at limiting carbon emissions, plans to cap the increasing rate at which it consumes energy to 28 percent for the seven-year period to 2020.
Green fund pledges at G20 may herald climate consensus
Two weeks in a row. Last week the US and China agreed to cut their emissions. This week the world’s big economies have thrown their weight behind the Green Climate Fund – another shot in the arm for a world consensus on climate change action.
The moral issue of climate change
David Ignatius, Columnist – Washington Post
The politics of selfishness was embraced enthusiastically last week by Sen. Mitch McConnell. In dismissing President Obama’s deal with China to reduce carbon emissions, the incoming Senate majority leader said “carbon emission regulations are creating havoc in my state and other states around the country” by undermining economic interests.
Regional Thought Leader Round Table: Northeast RECs
Environmental Markets Association
November 20, 2014
New York, NY
U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference
The U.S. Solar Market Insight Conference presents data, analysis and expert forecasting on the state of the solar market in the U.S.
Dec. 8 – 10, 2014
San Diego, CA
A Carbon Tax Could Bolster Green Energy
Eduardo Porter – NY Times
A couple of years ago, the smart money was on wind. In 2012, 13 gigawatts worth of wind-powered electricity generation capacity was installed in the United States, enough to meet the needs of roughly three million homes. That was some 40 percent of all the capacity added to the nation’s power grid that year, up from seven gigawatts added in 2011 and just over five in 2010.
Sen. Whitehouse likes carbon tax odds
Laura Barron-Lopez – The Hill
Supporters of putting a price on carbon emissions may have a better shot with a GOP Senate, according to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse. The Rhode Island Democrat, who on Wednesday introduced legislation to put a $42 per ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions, believes Republicans will have to meet his party in the middle next year on energy and environmental issues.
Economic Shift Means China Is Already Reducing Carbon Emissions
Mike Orcutt – MIT Technology Review
In an agreement announced last week, China and the United States, which together account for some 45 percent of the globe’s total carbon dioxide emissions, pledged to make significant efforts in the next 10 to 15 years to limit their CO2 emissions.
Forest, Ag Project Developers See Opportunity, Concern In California ODS Offset Invalidation
Gloria Gonzalez – Ecosystem Marketplace
California regulators shook the North American carbon markets to their core with their plans to invoke the invalidation provisions featured in the state’s carbon offset program for the first time. While the affected producers of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) offsets and their allies loudly lobbied the regulators to change their minds, developers of forest and livestock carbon offsets quietly mulled what the decision means for them.
Shale Drillers Keep Output High Despite Oil Price Decline
Shale drillers are planning on production growth with fewer rigs despite a worldwide glut that has sent crude prices to a four-year low.
Closing Some German Coal Plants Helps Climate Goals, DIW Says
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government could shutter old coal-fired power plants to help achieve its climate-protection targets, according to a German researcher.
China’s energy plan reduces reliance on coal
Chinese officials announced limits Wednesday on growth in energy consumption aimed at making the country less dependent on coal.
Cheap Electricity for Poor Squeezing Out Solar in India
The villagers of Dharnai in northern India had been living without electricity for more than 30 years when Greenpeace installed a microgrid to supply reliable, low-cost solar power.
U.S. Exim to Give $1 Billion for India Clean-Energy Projects
The U.S. Exim Bank will give loans for as much as $1 billion to clean-energy projects in India, according to a statement on its website and a separate one by India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
Private Funding Brings a Boom in Hydropower, With High Costs
Erica Gies – NY Times
While some dams in the United States and Europe are being decommissioned, a dam-building boom is underway in developing countries. It is a shift from the 1990s, when amid concerns about environmental impacts and displaced people, multilateral lenders like the World Bank backed away from large hydroelectric power projects.
Google Engineers Explain Why They Stopped R&D in Renewable Energy
Stephen Lacey – Greentech Media
In 2007, when Google unveiled its initiative to make renewable energy competitive with coal, called RE<C, it represented a major breakthrough for the industry.
Monsanto Is Using Big Data to Take Over the World
You probably know Monsanto as the world’s leading producer of genetically engineered seeds—a global agribusiness giant whose critics accuse it of everything from boosting our reliance on pesticides to driving Indian farmers to suicide. But that’s actually just the latest in a long series of evolving corporate identities.