Energy and Climate Debate
Energy concerns played a prominent role in national debates last week, with the appropriations committees in both congressional chambers approving wildly different versions of funding bills for fiscal year 2013 energy and water development and leadership in both houses appointing conferees to a surface transportation conference committee that is certain to spend a significant amount of time debating the Keystone XL pipeline, among other energy issues.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development approved a $33.4 billion energy and water spending bill for fiscal year 2013 April 24. The draft legislation, which was approved without objection, would allocate $27.1 billion for the Department of Energy, about $800 million less than the House version of the bill. The measure includes nearly $2 billion for the agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a $160 million increase from current levels. Of that, $95 million would go to wind energy programs, including $37 million for offshore wind power; $312 million, or $37 million more that in fiscal year 2012, would go to the Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy. The funding measure includes $793 million for the agency’s Office of Nuclear Energy, and would authorize the agency to develop a pilot program to license, construct, and operate one or more consolidated facilities to provide interim storage for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste, but provides no funding for the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository. Additionally, the draft text includes $4.9 billion for the agency’s Office of Science. The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved, 28-1, the legislation April 26.
On April 25, the House Appropriations Committee approved along party lines its allocations for twelve annual spending bills, setting the stage for the panel to begin moving more of the measures to mark up and to the House floor in May. The adopted allocations are significantly below those called for in the Budget Control Act, last summer’s budget agreement between President Obama and congressional leaders, already making difficult the path toward agreement on individual bills. At the same time, the committee reported the annual spending bill for Energy and Water programs, and the legislation is expected to be on the House floor the week of May 7. The House’s $32.1 billion version of the legislation also includes a policy rider that would bar the Army Corps of Engineers from implementing Clean Water Act guidance that clarifies which domestic waters fall under federal protection as well as an amendment from Congressman Rodney Alexander (R-LA) that would prohibit the Department of Energy from finalizing energy efficiency standards for federal buildings. The measure allocated $1.4 billion for the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy; currently the office is funded at $1.8 billion. The House measure, which, like the Senate version, does not include funding for the agency’s loan guarantee program, provides $25 million to support development of the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, which was halted in January 2010.
During an April 26 House Ways and Means Select Revenue Measures Subcommittee tax extenders hearing, most committee members agreed in saying that the production tax credit will reduce energy costs and help reduce the country’s dependency of foreign energy, while some contended that the program creates winners and losers in the market. As the credit nears its end of the year expiration, PTC supporters are looking for ways to continue to support the wind industry via the credit, including a shortterm extension that could be followed by a multiyear phaseout. The subcommittee is examining more than 60 tax extenders programs in advanced of legislation expected later this year to extend expired and expiring tax credits and deductions; the work done at the hearing was aimed in part at aiding tax writers’ efforts with fundamental tax reform.
The House and Senate appointed conferees last week as efforts begin to negotiate a long-term reauthorization of federal surface transportation programs. Senate leadership appointed 14 conferees, eight Democrats and six Republicans, April 24, and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) appointed 33 conferees, 20 Republicans and 13 Democrats, the following day. The Highway Bill conferees will convene May 8 for their first formal meeting. Moving forward, conferees will have a number of hurdles to overcome, in addition to a significant spending gap between the two-year $109 billion Senate version and the 90-day House extension, the House bill includes language approving the Keystone XL pipeline and measures that would preempt the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating coal ash. The conference committee will be under pressure to produce a conference report that can pass both chambers and reach the President’s desk before current authorization expires at the end of June.
Though Congress will be in recess this week, when the Senate returns May 7, in addition to continued consideration of funding measures, Senate Democrats plan immediately to bring student loan legislation to the floor as the first order of business, and then may move on to consideration of a small business tax bill, potentially pushing appropriations debate until late May or even June.
Energy Permitting Streamlining Hearing
During a hearing before the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources April 26, industry witnesses said that a package of six House Republican energy bills would hasten economic development and create thousands of jobs by streamlining an inefficient permitting process for new energy projects. The hearing was scheduled to consider the Planning for American Energy Act (H.R. 4381), the Providing Leasing Certainty for American Energy Act (H.R. 4382), the Streamlining Permitting of American Energy Act (H.R. 4383), the National Strategic and Critical Minerals Production Act (H.R. 4402), legislation that would reduce the royalty rate on soda ash (H.R. 1192), and a measure (H.R. 2176) that would dedicate a portion of right-of-way fees from wind and solar projects to defray the costs of processing new applications.
House Energy Legislation Considered
The House Energy and Commerce Committee began debate April 24 on two pieces of energy legislation. The first, the Gasoline Regulations Act of 2012 (H.R. 4471), which was introduced April 23 by Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY), would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from implementing Tier 3 vehicle emissions standards, greenhouse gas standards for oil refineries, and ozone air quality standards until a multi-agency panel has studied their impact on gasoline prices. The second, the Strategic Energy Production Act (H.R. 4480) would require that any withdrawal from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve would be offset by an increase in federal lands offered for oil and gas exploration, development, and production.
Farm Bill Approved
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved, 16-5, draft farm bill reauthorization legislation April 26 after adopting an amendment that would provide $800 million in mandatory spending on renewable energy programs over five years. The energy amendment, offered by Senators Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Dick Lugar (R-IN), was approved by voice vote, and would restore mandatory funding for the legislation’s energy title, which authorizes biofuel and renewable energy programs administered by the Department of Agriculture. The amendment included $241 million for the Rural Energy for America Program, $216 million for the Biorefinery Assistance Program, and $193 million for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. The draft bill also would authorize $1.2 billion in discretionary, nonmandatory funding for energy programs.
Fisker Loan Questioned
Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and John Thune (R-SD) sent a letter April 23 to Energy Secretary Steven Chu questioning the agency’s $529 million loan to Fisker Automotive. The company used some of the money, which was awarded through the agency’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, to manufacture a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that retails for more than $100,000.
On April 23, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced legislation (S. 2330 and S. 2334) to temporarily reduce the duty on hybrid electrical vehicle inverters and lithium ion electrical storage batteries.
The same day, Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY) introduced legislation (H.R. 4471) to require analyses of the cumulative impacts of certain rules and actions of the Environmental Protection Agency that impact gasoline, diesel fuel, and natural gas prices, jobs, and the economy.
Congressman Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced legislation (H.R. 4480) April 24 to provide for the development of a plan to increase oil and gas exploration, development, and production under oil and gas leases of Federal lands under the jurisdiction of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Defense, Energy, and Interior in response to a drawdown of petroleum reserves from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Representative Denny Rehberg (R-MT) introduced legislation (H.R. 4606) to authorize the issuance of right-of-way permits for natural gas pipelines in Glacier National Park.
Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced legislation (S. 2346) April 25 to amend the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 to modify the definition of the term “biobased product.”
Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced legislation (S. 2365) to promote the economic and energy security of the United States.
Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY) introduced legislation (H.R. 4621) to authorize negotiations with Brazil to eliminate tariffs and trade barriers to United States ethanol exports.
Representative Jerry McNerney (D-CA) introduced legislation (H.R. 4622) to provide for the establishment of a grant program to assist state and local governments to install solar energy systems.
Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced legislation (H.R. 4625) to amend the Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 to require the president to certify that the Yucca Mountain site remains the designated site for the development of a repository for the disposal of high-level radioactive waste.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation (S. 2465) April 26 making appropriations for energy and water development and related agencies for fiscal year 2012.
Representative Bill Flores (R-TX) introduced legislation (H.R. 4847) to prevent certain discriminatory taxation of natural gas pipeline property.
Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-AL) introduced legislation (H.R. 4850) to allow for innovations and alternative technologies that meet or exceed desired energy efficiency goals.
On April 27, Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), and Henry Waxman (D-CA) introduced the IMPACT Act. The measure would extend the 1603 Treasury grant program for two years, extend the production tax credit and the investment tax credit for eight years, and allocate $5 billion to the 48C Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit program, and would pay for the extensions by removing tax provisions for oil and gas companies that are valued at $44 billion over the next ten years.
The White House released the National Bioeconomy Blueprint April 26 with a two-fold goal of laying out strategic objectives that will help realize the full potential of the domestic bioeconomy and highlighting early achievements toward those objectives. The plan is designed to foster development of biological manufacturing methods and the use of renewable resources at all levels of the economy. It is primarily a list of existing programs, and the five strategies are supporting research and development, successfully transferring discoveries from the laboratory into commerce, improving education and work force training, encouraging collaborations between public and private sectors, and making regulations faster and more predictable. The Department of Agriculture will soon issue a rule that will add intermediate materials and feedstocks to the BioPreferred program and streamline the procedure for designating products as biobased.
Department of Energy
$2.5 Million for Airport Baggage EVs
The Department of Energy announced April 25 up to $2.5 million available this year to demonstrate and deploy fuel cell electric vehicles for transporting passenger baggage at major American airports. The projects selected for funding will demonstrate for three years first-generation, fuel cell powered baggage towing tractors under real-world operating conditions, and collect and analyze data to test their performance and cost-effectiveness.
$9 Million for Solar Forecasting
The Department of Energy announced April 23 that $9 million is available this year to help utilities and grid operators better forecast when, where, and how much solar power will be produced at domestic solar energy plants. As part of the agency’s SunShot Initiative, the three year projects will enhance solar forecasting that will allow power system operators to integrate more solar energy into the grid and help ensure the economic and reliable delivery of renewable energy.
$5 Million for Plug-and-Play PV
The Department of Energy announced April 24 up to $5 million available this year to develop plug-andplay photovoltaic systems. The funding, part of the agency’s SunShot Initiative, will help drive innovations to alter the design and installation of residential PV systems that can be purchased, installed, and operational in one day, thus reducing non-hardware costs, which currently account for half of the total cost of residential systems. As part of a planned five-year program, the agency will invest an initial $5 million for two projects that will develop innovative prototypes through university, industry, and utility partnerships, and the department plans to make an additional $20 million request to Congress over the next four years to support these efforts.
Potential Development Tools
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Agency posted tools April 25 to evaluate commercial and industrial rooftops, parking lots, and contaminated lands for solar and wind energy potential. There are about 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of potential property nationwide, and Richmond, California, will serve as a pilot community for developing the tools.
Department of Interior
Secretary Calls for Congressional Leadership
Speaking April 24 at the National Press Club, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar described the Republicancontrolled House as living in an “imagined energy world.” Secretary Salazar called on Congress to pass oil spill reform legislation, a clean energy standard, tax credits to promote clean energy, and an agreement with Mexico on offshore drilling boundaries before the end of the year.
Environmental Protection Agency
$4 Million for Clean Diesel
The Environmental Protection Agency announced April 23 that it is making up to $20 million in grant funding available for clean diesel projects that reduce emissions from existing diesel engines. Projects may include, but are not limited to, emission control and idle reduction technologies; cleaner fuels; engine upgrades or replacements; and vehicle or equipment replacements. Only technologies that have been certified by the agency or the California Air Resources Board are eligible, and requests for proposals are due by June 4.
Top Green Power Companies
The Environmental Protection Agency released its list of the top 50 green powered organizations on April 23, and Intel, the computer-chip maker, led the listing of Green Power Partnership organizations voluntarily using clean, renewable electricity from sources such as solar, wind, and low-impact hydropower. Kohl’s and Microsoft followed Intel as top users. The top 50 program partners are using more than 15 kWh of green power annually, each using more than 100 million kWh a year. Intel, which has ranked first on the list since 2008, annually uses more than 2.5 billion kWh of green power, or 88 percent of the company’s nationwide electricity use.
GHG Permit Streamlining Recommendations Forthcoming
The Clean Air Act Advisory Committee’s Tailoring Rule Permit Streamlining Workgroup announced April 25 that it will complete its recommendations to streamline the greenhouse gas permitting program by September 15. The full committee will finalize its recommendations to the Environmental Protection Agency in October. The committee convened the work group to consider revisions to the agency’s greenhouse gas permitting program in response to the agency’s March 8 proposed third step of its tailoring rule, which requires new sources that emit 100,000 MT CO2e annually and existing sources that make modifications that increase their emissions by 75,000 Mt per year to obtain the permits.
Palm Oil Comments
Environmental and scientific groups are at odds with palm oil companies and palm oil industry groups over an Environmental Protection Agency preliminary finding that palm oil-based biofuels do not meet the requirements of the renewable fuel standard. The groups say the agency’s analysis underestimates that greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil production, and the palm oil industry argues that palm oil-based biofuels meet the requirements of the standard. The agency issued a proposed finding in January stating that the biofuels do not meet the 20 percent lifecycle greenhouse gas reductions necessary to qualify as renewable fuels under the Clean Air Act, but rather 17 percent.
Views on Fracking
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said April 26 that the Administration does not have a negative view of fracking, but rather sees it as part of the overall energy picture. The agency is continuing its study into the impact of the drilling process on groundwater and expects initial results by the end of the year.
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson said April 26 that the agency is focusing on finalizing the next round of car and truck rules, which are due in September, and is also considering some issues related to water pollution and toxics. The agency anticipates decisions on a number of court cases in which it has been sued to be finalized this summer, including its climate change endangerment finding, the cars and trucks rule, and the tailoring rule.
According to the Renewable Fuels Association, Growth Energy, and the American Coalition for Ethanol, ethanol producers announced April 23 that they will fund a nationwide fuel survey of 160,000 gas stations, the last Environmental Protection Agency Requirement they face to move forward with E15 gasoline. Some Midwestern states will be ready to add E15 at gas stations as soon as all parties are registered and they implement an agency-approved plan to avoid use of the fuel in cars that it could damage. At the same time, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is considering a ruling on the agency’s waiver, which could immediately halt the plan.
Industry Comments on Tailoring Rule
In comments on the proposed third step of the Environmental Protection Agency’s tailoring rule, industry groups argued the agency should include the largest emissions sources in the plant-wide applicability limits, eliminate the case-by-case need to determine required controls by setting source-specific emissions limits, and exempt facilities with actual emissions below the threshold regardless of emission potential. The tailoring rule requires permits from new sources emitting 100,000 tons/year, and existing sources increasing their emissions by 75,000 tons/year, of CO2 equivalent, and public comments closed on April 20.
Groups Call for Hydrofluorocarbon 134a Elimination
On April 27, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Institute for Governance & Sustainability, and the Environmental Investigation Agency petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to phase out hydrofluorocarbon 134a in new home and retail refrigerators and freezers given the chemical’s contribution to global warming. The groups are requesting mandates for replacing HFC-134a with safer alternatives within two years after a new appliance model is available in stores.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted April 26 to approve four presidential nominees, including John Norris to his first full five-year term on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Anthony Clark to FERC, Adam Sieminski to be administrator of the Energy Information Administration, and Marcilynn Burke to be assistant secretary for land and minerals management at the Department of Interior. The nominees are expected to be confirmed by the full Senate.
AZ RE Tax Exemption
Arizona enacted legislation (S.B. 1229) April 10 creating a transaction privilege tax and use tax exemption for renewable energy credits, retroactive to tax periods starting after December 31, 2006. The measure provides a transaction privilege tax exemption for retail sales or transfers of renewable energy credits.
CA Low-Carbon Fuel Standard
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled April 23 that enforcement of California’s low-carbon fuel standard could continue pending the state’s appeal of a district court ruling that the measure is unconstitutional. The court also granted the California Air Resources Board’s motion for an expedited briefing schedule, setting a May 25 deadline for the opening brief and a June 25 due date for the answering briefs.
CA GHG and Green Building Order
California Governor Jerry Brown (D) issued Executive Order No. B-18-12 April 25, requiring agencies to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent from 2010 levels by 2015 and 20 percent by 2020. The order aims to green existing and new state buildings by making them more energy efficient and less dependent on grid-based electricity, and by encouraging the use of environmentally-friendly building products; it also immediately requires all new or renovated state buildings larger than 10,000 square feet to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED silver certification or higher.
Expedited CA Review Contested
Sacramento-based Planning and Conservation League filed a lawsuit in the California Superior Court in Alameda County April 23 challenging legislation (A.B 900) enacted last year allowing some legal challenges filed under the California Environmental Quality Act to bypass trial court and go directly to a state court of appeal. The league contends that the measure violates the state constitution’s separation of powers clause. The law gives the governor the authority to certify certain environmentally friendly projects statewide for the expedited judicial review process and other streamlining benefits contained in the law.
Coal Export Policy Review Requested
Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber (D) sent a letter April 25 to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and top U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Land Management officials calling for a complete environmental impact statement on proposed coal exports to Asia and the formulation of a clear federal policy on the exports before additional permitting and leasing decisions are made. Six proposed or potential coal exports sites in Oregon and Washington state would collectively ship roughly 157 million MT coal to Asia.
ID EE Legislation
Idaho enacted legislation (H.B. 485) April 3, retroactive to January 1, replacing the insulation deduction for existing residents with a deduction for energy efficiency upgrades. Upgrades include additional insulation, replacement windows, storm windows, weather stripping and caulking, and duct sealing.
The Susquehanna River Basin Commission announced April 23 that a drought has forced energy companies and other industries to halt their withdrawals of water from 19 streams in northeastern Pennsylvania, although restrictions on six of the streams have been lifted, and additional limits may be lifted soon due to recent rainfall.
CA Renewable Energy Study
On April 26, California’s nonpartisan Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes released Finding the Sweet Spot: Green Energy Incentives and Job Creation, requested by Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D), arguing the state should create a state-sponsored “green bank” offering loans to cleantech companies willing to base their operations and create jobs in California. The report argues a green bank would create jobs, drive green innovation, and lessen the California taxpayer burden by replacing grants with loans. The report went on to urge the addition of a “clawback” provision in the new incentive programs to minimize taxpayer losses in the event a company fails to achieve certain goals or goes bankrupt. The report also studied the state's Self-Generation Incentive Program, the sales and use tax exemption on green industry manufacturing equipment, and the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.
Short-Lived Pollutant Coalition
Norway, Nigeria, Colombia, Japan, the European Commission, and the World Bank joined a coalition April 24 formed earlier this year by the United States and other countries to curb black carbon, methane, and hydrofluorocarbons. The Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants was launched in February to share practical ideas and encourage policies that target emissions that remain in the atmosphere for a short time.
Japanese Environment Plan
Japan’s Environment Ministry recently released a new Basic Environment Plan that would continue the nation’s emphasis on implementing the 3 R policy and building a low-carbon society while promoting clean innovation and sustainability. The plan is the fourth in a series and replaces one introduced in 2006. The new plan would promote green innovation via medium- to long-range investment and research and development.
EU Waste Resolution
The European Parliament’s environment committee adopted a draft resolution April 25 stating that the European Union should promote the use of waste as a resource by phasing out landfills and by ensuring by 2020 that waste that could be recycled or composted is not incinerated. The resolution found that the European Commission should publish by 2014 proposals requiring EU countries to gradually introduce a general ban on landfills. While the resolution is nonbinding, the Commission is required to take it into account when preparing proposals to the Resource-Efficient Europe Roadmap published in September. The full European Parliament will vote on the resolution in late May.
U.N. Climate Center
A United Nations evaluation panel narrowed to three April 23 the number of groups vying to host the U.N. Climate Technology Center for boosting clean energy technologies. The top proposals include a consortium led by the U.N. Environment Program that includes the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the Global Environment Facility, which provides environmental grants to developing countries; and Det Norske Veritas AS. The three proposals were selected from among nine submitted in March. The center was formally launched at last year’s U.N. climate talks; final selection will be made at this year’s in Doha, Qatar.
EU Transport Fuel Ratings Deferred
The European Commission announced April 20 that the European Union will defer until 2013 a decision on a proposal (EU Fuel Quality Directive 2009/30/EC) to assign pollution ratings to different transportation fuels, including those derived from Canadian oil sands. The proposal would label crude oil produced from oil sands 22.3 percent more greenhouse gas intensive than average crude, frustrating the Canadian government, which has accused the EU of discriminating against Canadian oil.
Canadian Environmental Bill Advances
On April 26, a comprehensive environmental bill, first outlined by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, passed its first reading in the Canadian parliament. The bill would create a single environmental assessment process for all major projects; repeal Canada’s Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, though the country is no longer a member of the protocol anyway; and ease fishing regulations. Environmental and public health groups oppose the measure.
Possible Chinese Exemption from EU Airline Emissions Scheme
On April 26, European Union Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the EU will assess whether a recent modification to China's air passenger charges, replacing passenger fees paid into an airport construction fund with fees paid into a civil aviation development fund, would exempt Chinese airlines from the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS). EU directive (2008/101/EC), stipulates that all airlines operating within the European Union must obtain enough carbon allowances to cover their greenhouse gas emissions, unless they demonstrate comparable measures in their home nation. The modification to Chinese air passenger charges would send payments to a fund that can be spent on energy conservation and emission reductions, as well as other non-emissions programs.
Mexico Passes Climate Bill
On April 19, Mexico's Senate approved a climate change bill, adopted earlier in the year by the Chamber of Deputies, that would require Mexico cut emissions 30% from current levels by 2020 and 50% from 2000 levels by 2050, as well as create a voluntary cap-and-trade scheme. The bill also mandates a plan, to be in place by 2020, overhauling fossil fuel subsidies to balance traditional fuels with energy efficiency and sustainable transportation, as well as a goal of making 35% of the nation's total energy mix renewable by 2024.
State of the Air
The American Lung Association released a report April 25 concluding that more than 127 million people, or 41 percent of Americans, live in a county that exceeded air quality standards for ozone or particulates from 2008 to 2010. The annual report, State of the Air 2012, found that the Environmental Protection Agency’s air monitors in 235 counties exceeded the national ambient air quality standards for ozone, annual, or daily particulate matter, but suggested that air quality is improving due to Clean Air Act standards.
EV Standards and Regs Needed
American National Standards Institute’s Electric Vehicles Standards Panel released a report April 23 finding that at least 36 standards, regulations, codes, and other measures are needed to facilitate the safe, mass deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. The report, Standardization Roadmap for Electric Utilities – Version 1.0 identified and assessed existing standards, codes, and regulations, as well as gaps where new or revised standards are needed for plug-in electric vehicles, and plug-in electric hybrids. The gaps identified related to delayed battery overheating events; storage of lithium-ion batteries; packaging and transport of waste batteries; audible warning systems; and the labeling of high-voltage batteries, cables, and disconnect devices.
Report Finds Global Emissions Rising
On April 27, the WorldWatch Institute released Carbon Dioxide Emissions and Concentrations on the Rise as Kyoto Era Fades, finding global carbon emissions rising by 5.8% from 2010 after a 1.5%, recession-related decline in 2009. On average, developing nations emit at twice the rate of industrialized nations, with Brazil, China, India, and Indonesia leading with 7.6% rises in 2010, relative to an average 3.4% increase from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. China remains the world’s largest emitter with a 25.4% share of the world’s CO2 emissions, relative to the United States’ 18.5% share, while the Top-10 emitting countries accounted for 68% of global carbon dioxide emissions.
IEA Report on Member Country Renewable Deployment
On April 25, the International Energy Agency released Tracking Clean Energy Progress, a report arguing for aggressive deployment of renewable energy technology to stave off climate change, with several policy recommendations on decreasing the clean technology commercialization timeframe. The report found that, over the last decade, solar energy deployment has grown an average of 42% annually across the 28 IEA countries - with system costs dropping by 75% in the last three years - while onshore wind has grown an average of 27% in the same ten-year time frame. Half of all coal plants in the member countries are built with outdated technology, because carbon-capture and sequestration lacks enough investment to determine commercial-scale feasibility.
IFC Green Bonds Launched
On April 27, the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank's private sector affiliate, announced it has raised $500 million for climate-friendly investment in its first round of “green bonds.” The funds will support investments in developing country renewable energy, energy efficiency, and other climate-friendly projects. This round of fund-raising, focused on American investors, includes commitments from BlackRock, TIAA-CREF, and the California State Teachers' Retirement System.©1994-2013 Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. All Rights Reserved.