The COP26 climate summit heads into its crucial final week, with negotiators scrambling to win agreement on a range of critical issues, including future temperature targets, future review deadlines, trading rules and goals for financing climate action in developing countries. Key administration officials, including EPA Administrator Michael Regan, will be in Glasgow to attend the meeting next week. In addition to the official events, key U.S. groups will be hosting a series of events to highlight their efforts to address climate change.
According to the summit’s official schedule, the two-week COP26 meeting is slated to wrap up Nov. 12 with a series of closing plenaries. But before then, negotiators will spend significant time taking stock of countries’ pledges and other actions taken so far, negotiating agreements on future actions and processes as well as so-called Article 6 rules governing offsets and carbon trading, among other things.
A detailed list of officially sanctioned “side events” lists dozens of additional events organized around three themes -- enhancing ambition, aiding implementation and providing support.
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Key groups will also be hosting additional events in conjunction with the conference.
EPA Administrator Regan is slated to participate in a host of such events. For example, he will participate in a Nov. 9 event sponsored by the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan group of governors committed to climate action, titled, “Further, Faster, Together: A State-Federal Partnership for a Net-Zero Future.” The event appears likely to renew discussion of a new interagency group the administration is creating to encourage climate efforts by subnational groups.
Other officials slated to speak include Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), Hawai’i Gov. David Ige (D), Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D). The event will be moderated by Massachusetts energy and environment secretary Kathleen Theoharides.
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The alliance is also slated to host a Nov. 9 event, titled, “All In This Together: A Clean Energy Transition Through Municipal, State and Federal Partnerships.” Speakers include the four governors, as well as Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk.
On Nov. 10, Regan will also participate in a meeting hosted by the Japan Pavilion on the Role of Multi Stakeholders towards Subnational Decarbonization.
Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
Regan will also participate in a series of events about short-lived climate pollutants. On Nov. 9, he will speak at events addressing EPA efforts to cut emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), refrigerant chemicals that have high global warming potential. One event titled, “Combatting Illegal Trade of HFCs,” will be hosted by the State Department’s U.S. Center at COP26.
Regan will also speak at the ministerial meeting of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organizations committed to improving air quality and protecting the climate through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, such as HFCs.
The administrator will also participate in a Nov. 11 event titled “Methane Moment: In Conversation with US EPA Administrator Regan,” where he will almost certainly discuss EPA’s recently issued proposals for regulating methane from the oil and gas sector.
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Regan will also speak during a Nov. 10 event entitled “Electrifying Transport,” as well as during a Nov. 11 Youth Climate Leaders & Environmental Justice Roundtable.
Trade & Climate
As efforts to address climate change accelerate, many are weighing the use of carbon border adjustments as a way to regulate trade in carbon-intensive products, such as aluminum, chemicals and iron and steel. Resources for the Future (RFF) is hosting a Nov. 9 panel discussion entitled, “Carbon Border Measures: Policies to Combat Leakage and Encourage Climate Ambition.” Speakers include Keigo Akimoto of the Research Institute of Innovative Technology for the Earth, European University Institute’s Jos Delbeke, Carolyn Fischer of the World Bank and the Environmental Defense Fund’s Suzi Kerr.
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In addition, the Cato Institute is holding a Nov. 8 forum, entitled “Benefits and Prospects of Free Trade in Environmental Goods,” which will consider long-stalled negotiations at the World Trade Organization to create an Environmental Goods Agreement. Speakers include Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Maureen Hinman, a former U.S. trade official, and Cato's James Bacchus and Inu Manak.
Climate & The Law
Judge Thomas Griffith, recently retired from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, will speak at a Nov. 8 forum hosted by Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy where he will discuss “some of his most important energy- and environment-related decisions while he served as a judge, what makes agencies and advocates successful--or unsuccessful--before his former court, and what this all could mean for energy and environmental law and policy in the United States.”
The US Energy Association is holding a Nov. 9 forum on “Carbon Management and Energy Transition Projects -- an Economic Opportunity for Kansas.” Interest in new carbon management applications is growing in part due to the “45Q” tax incentives that have clarified the process for obtaining tax credits for carbon utilization and sequestration.