Energy News for July 1, 2015

  • by BPC Staff
  • on July 1, 2015


POLITICO Morning Energy for 7/1/2015

By ERIC WOLFF, with help from Elana Schor and Darius Dixon

HOW THE U.S. AND CHINA FOUND EACH OTHER THROUGH CLIMATE CHANGE: China and the U.S. have discovered they can look past their differences in the South China Sea and on human rights and focus on one area where they agree: Climate change. Few climate policy wonks saw it coming a decade ago, when China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter was bristling at wealthy nations’ pleas to adopt serious pollution controls, but these days, top Chinese officials can’t stop talking about global warming. They’re jumping at every opportunity to discuss the issue with diplomats in Europe and the United States, Pro’s Andrew Restuccia writes this morning. Here’s his piece on how China changed its mind on carbon emissions, and how the two largest carbon emitters in the world came together on this topic, despite other disagreements.
ME adds that China is testing no fewer than seven different cap-and-trade pilot programs. A paper by researchers from Resources from the Future published last year studied three of the programs and discovered that cap-and-trade is a challenging idea for a power sector that had never known a market economy.

THE HIlLARY FILES: COPENHAGEN EDITION: Look no further than last night’s batch of emails from Hillary Clinton’s home server to understand how far China has come in a few years. The 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen got off to a bad start with China at odds with the U.S. and Europe on major carbon reductions. Top negotiator Todd Stern pressed Clinton in one email to travel there, sending her a New York Times editorial on the failing talks in a Dec. 12, 2009, and she later did attend. And when the talks ended in a disappointment, Clinton advisor Sid Blumenthal recommended in another email to the Secretary of State a policy change on China toward a more aggressive stance.,,

Heckuva job, Hillary: Longtime Clinton advisor and now-campaign chairman John Podesta did not agree with the negative assessment of the talks. From his email to Clinton on Dec. 20: “Not withstanding some press whining, I thought BHO and HRC did a fabulous job in Copenhagen.”

PARIS, ALLONS-Y! INDIA, OU ETES VOUS? Momentum is building for the Paris climate talks in the fall. Now that China and the U.S. have submitted their carbon reduction plans, nations emitting 70 percent of the world’s carbon have committed to reduction, as Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz tweeted on Tuesday. Now eyes turn to India, the fourth largest emitter of carbon dioxide — after the U.S., China, and the E.U. — and the largest emitter to not have submitted an Intended Nationally Determined Contribution. India is not fully electrified, and it has been remedying that problem with a construction program that includes coal power alongside solar and wind. Reports in April indicated it may submit two climate plans to the U.N.: One which reflects carbon reductions using only domestic resources and another which would make bigger cuts thanks to international assistance.

A Serbian, a Korean, and Icelander walk into the UN: While rarely discussed — because it’s not the most meaningful indicator — the highest per capita carbon emissions rate in the world is not China. It’s Qatar, at 40 metric tons of carbon per person in 2010, according to the World Bank. The U.S. ranks 10th in per capita emissions, South Korea 21, Serbia 56, China 58, and Iceland 59. All four of those last countries listed submitted their INDCs on Tuesday, but China got all the limelight, what with being a huge emitter of greenhouse gases. Well, ME has a little spotlight of its own to shine on the promises of the smaller nations: Korea promised a 32 percent reduction by 2030, Serbia a 9.8 percent reduction by that year, and Iceland will work with the European Union nations to collectively make a 40 percent reduction by 2030.

HAPPY CANADA DAY! I’m Eric Wolff, and I’ll raise my Tim Horton’s mug in honor of our neighbors to the north on this, their national birthday. Send tips, quips, and comments to, or follow us on Twitter at @ericwolff, @Morning_Energy, and @PoliticoPro.

** A message from Fuels America: Working men and women in the heartland sent a clear message to the EPA last week: The Renewable Fuel Standard is working for Rural America, supporting over 850,000 jobs and strengthening rural economies. EPA, don’t choose foreign oil over American workers. The RFS works for Rural America: **

JEB! SCORES ON ENERGY INVESTMENT Tax returns released by Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush revealed that while he made a definitely made a killing investing in health care companies in the years since he left office,, he did pretty well on at least one energy investment, too. Between March 2008 and October 2013, Bush tripled a$14,300 investment in oil company Pioneer Natural Resources, according to tax forms he released on Tuesday.

ME FIRST — INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS BACK OBAMA’S METHANE PLAN: A coalition of investors representing $1.5 trillion in assets are releasing a statement of support today for the Obama administration’s plans to slash methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by as much as 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025. The statement, released by green group Ceres, puts California’s influential public employees and state teachers’ retirement systems — among other institutional players — on record as “concerned that methane emissions pose a serious threat to climate stability, accelerating the rate of warming in the near term and threatening infrastructure and economic harm that will weaken not only the companies we invest in, but the nation as a whole.” Check out the full statement here:

SHOW ME (HOW) THE MONEY (IS COLLECTED): The Nuclear Regulatory Commission covers about 90 percent of its budget through fees on the nuclear power plants and others it regulates, and three congressional Republicans want know how the cash register works. GOP lawmakers have regularly needled the agency leadership over increases in the NRC budget after the “nuclear renaissance” failed to materialize, and on Tuesday they asked the GAO to look into the fee-collection methods. Of special concern to Rep. Ed Whitfield and his colleagues was the jump in the percentage the agency spent in overhead in 2014 compared to a decade earlier. NRC Chairman Stephen Burns announced this year that the agency would seek to get 10 percent smaller by 2020. Whitfield, and Reps. Adam Kinzinger and Bob Latta, posited several questions to the NRC as an oversight matter, though a response deadline wasn’t included. The letter:

Great timing. The letter was sent over on the same day the agency’s new fee schedule was published in the Federal Register. Perhaps in response to the efforts to “right size” the NRC — and the regular complaints about the fees — the agency reduced the amount needed in fee recovery by $28 million, compared to the previous year. The fees might have been lower if not for the shutdown of Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant and the termination of USEC’s certificate for the Paducah uranium enrichment facility. The fiscal 2015 fee rule:

LCV GETS ALL UP IN CONGRESS’ FACEBOOK The League of Conservation Voters is buying ads on Facebook that will show up alongside the feeds of users who live in the districts of select members of Congress. The group is targeting members who voted for a bill sponsored by Republican Ed Whitfield that would allow governors to opt out of the EPA’s carbon rule for power plants, namely Reps. Lee Zeldin (R, N.Y.), Dave Reichert (R, Wash.), Brad Ashford (D, Neb.), Ann Kirkpatrick (D, Ariz.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D, Ariz.).

YOU KNOW WHERE THERE IS SOME NUCLEAR RATS? Peace Farm and Nuclear Watch New Mexico filed a Freedom of Information Act Request yesterday to get more information on this remark made at an Atlantic Council event on June 23 by Rep. Mac Thornberry, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee: “We have lost people, engineers in the nuclear complex, who go work in the energy industry, partly because they had to, well, shoot rats off of their lunch in some of the facilities that they were working in.” ME has no words.


— 1st Summer Flex Alert Issued Since 2013; Californians Urged to Conserve Energy Amid Heat Wave: KTLA:

— Indiana 10th in nation in clean-energy jobs.

— Think Tanks Move to Fore on Energy. WSJ:

— Oklahoma Court Rules Homeowners Can Sue Oil Companies Over Quakes. New York Times:

— Water Use Declining as Natural Gas Grows. Climate Central:

— Solar deal will supply Denver government with 2% of power needs. Denver Business Journal.

— U.S. crude oil production for April rises to most since 1971: EIA. Reuters:

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