Week Ahead

Climate Week Ahead

Glasgow Climate Talks Kick Off As Senate Panel Moves Biden Nominees

November 1, 2021

Most eyes will be on Glasgow, Scotland, this week for the kickoff of climate talks at the 26th “Conference of the Parties” (COP26), where President Joe Biden will press other world leaders to adopt tougher carbon targets, while back in Washington, the Senate energy committee will vote on key Biden administration nominees.

Glasgow Summit

The two-week COP26 meeting begins with a Nov. 1-2 “World Leaders Summit,” during which Biden and scores of other national leaders will offer high-level statements, and potentially updated emissions goals, about how they plan to contribute to broader efforts to tackle climate change.

Officials will also be negotiating several more technical aspects of rules to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement, while numerous groups hope to help build the foundation for on-the-ground progress in reducing emissions in various sectors.

The United Nations’ climate office has provided an “overview schedule” of the proceedings, along with a detailed list of officially sanctioned “side events,” though some groups plan to host additional events in conjunction with the conference.

Stay tuned to Inside EPA’s Climate Extra for comprehensive coverage of the Glasgow talks, including insight on how the Biden administration attempts to promote its sweeping climate policy agenda.

Background Reading: Regan Promises ‘Very Aggressive Agenda’ On Eve Of U.N. Climate Summit

Unofficial Aspects Of Glasgow Talks Offer Momentum For GHG Cuts

Biden Energy Nominees

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Nov. 2 will vote on key Biden administration nominees at the Department of Energy (DOE), Interior Department (DOI) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Nominees are: Geraldine Richmond, to be under secretary for science at DOE; Camille Touton, to be commissioner of reclamation at DOI; Brad Crabtree, to be DOE assistant secretary for fossil energy and carbon management; Charles Sams, to be director of the National Park Service; Willie Phillips, to be a member of FERC; Asmeret Berhe, to be DOE science director; and Laura Daniel-Davis, to be DOI assistant secretary for land and minerals management.

Background Reading: Manchin Expects Bipartisan Senate Approval Of DOE, FERC Nominees

Nuclear Energy

Also, the Senate energy committee will hold a Nov. 4 hearing to examine the non-electric applications of nuclear energy, including clean hydrogen production and expanded water access. “Non-electric applications powered by nuclear energy could present sustainable solutions for a number of energy challenges current and future generations will have to face. There is growing interest around the world in using nuclear energy for such applications as seawater desalination, hydrogen production, district heating and various industrial applications,” the International Atomic Energy Agency says.

Advanced Batteries

The U.S. Energy Association (USEA) hosts a “CEO Forum” Nov. 2 on the development of advanced battery technology to help decarbonize the energy sector. “As countries around the world continue to enhance renewable energy capacity as part of the march towards global decarbonization, perhaps the most critical aspect of the energy transition will be long-duration energy storage,” the virtual event website says. The meeting will assess proposed new tax credits for energy storage in Democrats’ pending budget “reconciliation” bill. Speakers include Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), co-chair of the Energy Storage Caucus, and USEA Acting Executive Director Sheila Hollis, a former director of FERC’s enforcement office.

Border Carbon Adjustments

The Bipartisan Policy Center hosts a Nov. 2 virtual event on the possibility of the U.S. enacting a border carbon adjustment (BCA), which advocates say is necessary to protect American businesses from cheaper imports from countries with less-stringent emissions controls. “There is concern that climate policies enacted in the United State could put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage relative to countries that do not,” according to the event website. “A BCA is a trade tool that levels the field for domestic manufacturers by imposing a fee on carbon-intensive products when they reach the border.” Speakers include Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Climate Leadership Council Vice President Catrina Rorke.

Background Reading: Supporters Seek U.S. Carbon Border Adjustment, Citing Inevitability

Solar Grid Security

DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO) and the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) are hosting a Nov. 3 virtual event to discuss supply-chain security for solar power. “Solar and storage play an increasingly important role in ensuring U.S. energy independence, and now more than ever cybersecurity has become a priority for the industry as these technologies continue to penetrate the grid in record-breaking numbers,” according to the event website. Speakers include DOE Deputy Secretary David Turk, and DOE Deputy Assistant Secretary for Renewable Power Alejandro Moreno.

Grid Forum

The American Council on Renewable Energy is holding a Nov. 3-4 virtual forum on the power grid, where speakers will examine the roles of infrastructure legislation, administrative orders and actions, regional and state developments, and private sector strategies on the path to a carbon-free grid,” the group says.

Fed Energy Conference

The Federal Reserve’s regional banks in Kansas City and Dallas are co-hosting their sixth joint energy conference on Nov. 5. Officials plan to discuss the state of the energy sector, the “regional and macro implications of the global energy transition,” the changing U.S. energy landscape and other issues.

Background Reading: Official Says Fed Readying ‘Scenario Testing,’ But Avoids Climate Policy

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