Daily News

Daily News

November 30, 2021

Environmental and public health groups are offering early pitches on how EPA could strengthen its proposed oil and gas methane rules -- including with stepped-up inspections for smaller operations and prohibiting routine gas flaring -- as they also endorse EPA’s concept of bolstering community monitoring of emissions leaks.

Electric utility executives say investments to significantly reduce the industry’s greenhouse gas emissions could boost grid reliability and benefit consumers with affordable, cleaner energy sources, signaling the industry’s relative comfort with the Biden administration’s near-term climate goals for the power sector.

Owners of coal-fired power plants may offer to retire the units early rather than install expensive yet relatively inefficient measures to limit their greenhouse gas emissions after EPA issues expected “inside-the-fence” power sector GHG standards under section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act, some observers say.

November 29, 2021

Efforts to reduce greenhouse gases from global shipping have stalled as member countries of the U.N. International Maritime Organization (IMO) failed to agree on mechanisms to cut emissions, amid disagreements over long-term goals for the sector, and specific Biden administration doubts about a proposed industry research fund for zero-carbon technology.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking public input on how to implement new infrastructure law funding to deploy electric vehicle (EV) chargers or other alternative fueling infrastructure, floating questions on issues associated with placement and design of such equipment and flagging equity as a particular goal.

The latest quarterly California-Quebec greenhouse gas credit auction has again broken record highs for sale prices, with all of the 77 million carbon allowances selling for over $28 apiece, nearly $11 above the floor price, and netting California more than $1.3 billion for programs to reduce GHGs and adapt to climate change.

The Biden administration’s long-awaited report on federal oil and gas extraction policy is recommending steps that would increase the cost of drilling and limit access to some lands, drawing critiques from industry groups but also competing criticism from environmentalists who argue the plan does not adequately address climate change.

November 24, 2021

State insurance regulators are resisting Biden administration plans to bolster federal oversight of insurers’ financial risks from climate change and are instead urging officials to preserve and bolster their ongoing efforts to set their own requirements for insurers to account for both physical and transition risks stemming from a warming climate.

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Richard Glick (D) is weighing how the commission could conduct long-term monitoring of natural gas companies’ efforts to mitigate greenhouse gases from projects it approves, while acknowledging such a step would be an expansion from the commission’s prior role.

November 23, 2021

The Department of Energy has notified its advisory body on coal it is revamping the group’s charter, citing the need to “generally modernize” the panel and take into account “matters currently faced by the coal industry, workers and communities” -- including the recent 2020 energy law and newly enacted bipartisan infrastructure legislation.

A standards-writing group for voluntary carbon markets is applauding the international trading rules produced at the Glasgow climate talks, saying they reaffirm that voluntary trading programs continue to remain outside the scope of countries’ obligations to achieve emission cuts in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.

November 22, 2021

Capitol Hill Democrats are downplaying the roadblocks to final enactment of the House-passed budget “reconciliation” package with over $550 billion in climate-related spending, citing pre-negotiations with the Senate on a range of issues including a proposed fee on methane emissions from oil and gas operations.

A top White House official says the Biden administration is planning to review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) various federal programs as a way to help speed later review of related low-carbon projects, an effort aimed at easing the challenge officials face as they seek to expedite such projects while also ensuring rigorous reviews.

The Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI) is ending plans to launch the nation’s first cap-and-trade transportation fuel program after two key states -- Massachusetts and Connecticut -- decided not to move forward, with top officials citing current high gasoline prices.

The Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a rule to streamline the process for issuing strict appliance energy efficiency standards that are key to the Biden climate agenda, rolling back a binding Trump-era “process rule” that environmentalists charged would impede development of important standards.

November 19, 2021

A top EPA lawyer is urging the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to take a broad approach to assessing and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas projects it approves, arguing the commission’s actions should be viewed in the context of the Biden administration’s climate targets.

EPA is finding incremental improvements in average fuel economy and vehicle greenhouse gas emissions in its annual “trends” report on the issue, with an ongoing shift to light trucks blunting progress and auto companies showing widely divergent performance over the past five years.

A Department of Labor (DOL) official is asserting that a proposed rule to enable pension plan managers to consider climate and other environment, social and governance (ESG) factors in their investment decisions should be uncontroversial, framing the rule as a necessary clarification rather than a policy push for increased investment in climate-conscious funds.

After months of intra-party debate, House Democrats have approved a roughly $1.75 trillion budget “reconciliation” package with over $550 billion in climate-related measures, bringing a major portion of the Biden climate agenda closer to enactment as the administration strives to cement global leadership on the issue.

November 18, 2021

Environmental and business groups are broadly praising final carbon market rules inked at last week’s Glasgow climate summit that are aimed at ensuring integrity of such markets, even as some are pledging further scrutiny of countries that rely on language allowing years-old credits to be used toward current emissions goals.

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