UNFCCC Executive Secretrary Threatens Coal Industry

UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Christiana Figueres, was asked to be a keynote speaker at the coal summit. Her whole speech was full of subtle threats. She said, “I urge every coal company to honestly assess the financial risks of business as usual; anticipate increasing regulation, growing finance restrictions and diminishing public acceptance.”

She told them they had an opportunity to be part of the new paradigm shift of a new economy by:

  • Closing all existing subcritical plants
  • Implementing safe CCS (carbon capture and storage) on all new plants
  • Leave most existing reserves in the ground (a Climate Commission report claims 80% of fossil fuel reserves must stay in the ground to have a stable climate)
  • Invest future capital in renewables (wind & solar).


Environmental Protection Agency to Make Costly New Standards

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently proposed new regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. If finalized, this regulation will, in effect, bar the construction of new coal-fired power plants unless they use costly carbon-capture technology. It is the latest in a series of EPA regulations governing greenhouse gases that the Supreme Court triggered with its decision in Massachusetts v. EPA. Still more regulations are on the way, says Jonathan H. Adler, director of the Center for Business Law & Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

The EPA’s proposed rule would require both natural-gas and coal-fired power plants to meet stringent new limits — limits that most new natural-gas plants can meet, but that are not (yet) met by any coal-fired plant in regular operation.

  • Specifically, the regulation would limit carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants to between 1,100 and 1,000 pounds per megawatt-hour (lbs/MWh), depending on the size of the plant and method of emission monitoring. This is an easy standard for state-of-the-art gas plants to meet; coal, not so much.
  • Right now, the average U.S. coal plant emits over 1,700 lbs CO2/MWh.
  • The average natural-gas plant, on the other hand, emits around 850 lbs CO2/MWh.

If finalized, the EPA’s rule is likely to be challenged in court. At issue will be whether the new standards comply with the relevant statutory requirements, particularly as applied to coal plants.

Continue reading from NCPA…

House votes to give Congress power over major regulations

Taking direct aim at executive branch power, the House on Friday approved legislation requiring Congress to sign off on the most costly federal regulations.

The Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act passed 232-183 in a vote that went largely along party lines, hours before the House was to adjourn for its August recess.  Under the bill, both chambers of Congress would have to sign off on any federal rules that carry an annual price tag of $100 million.

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Energy: Carbon battle reaches House floor

ON TAP THURSDAY: The House will debate legislation that would effectively allow the Energy Department to block energy-related Environmental Protection Agency rules.

The bill, which allows the department to thwart rules it believes would adversely affect the economy, became a magnet for controversial amendments.

Among them: GOP measures that would thwart the EPA?s power to weigh the benefits of curbing carbon dioxide emissions when crafting regulations.

Click here for more on the ?social cost of carbon? amendments.

But that?s not all:
The House could begin debate on GOP legislation that would require congressional approval of many federal regulations. The Hill?s Ben Goad has more here on that bill and why the White House has threatened a veto.


Federal court rules for EPA in Texas suit over greenhouse gases

A federal appeals court sided with the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday in its ongoing dispute with Texas and Wyoming over reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision amounts to a defense of the federal Clean Air Act, which has faced repeated challenges from Texas, the nation’s leader in greenhouse gas emissions.

In a 2-1 vote, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington ruled that the states — along with various industry groups — did not have standing to sue because they could not show that they had suffered an injury or that a ruling throwing out the EPA plan would benefit them.

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Obama Supporters Target ‘Climate Deniers,’ As Science Challenges Obama on Global Warming

( – Organizing for Action Executive Director Jon Carson said last week his group, which grew out of President Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns, will be calling out “climate deniers.” “We’ll be calling out the climate deniers who are standing in the way of progress in Washington,” Carson said in an e-mail Thursday, the same day a supporter of more environmental regulations told a Senate committee “the warming over the past 15 years has slowed.”

The OFA included targeting climate deniers as part of the group’s August agenda. The organization is now a 501(c)(4) group that focuses on mobilizing political support for issues advocated by the Obama administration. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), ranking member of the committee, asked Thursday at the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee hearing on global warming, “President Obama said, ‘the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago.’ Do any of the witnesses agree with that statement? And if so, what is the data set you rely on?” CONTINUE READING…


The Coal Train Chugs Along

Even without more regulations from the White House or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States continues to lead the world in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, according to BP’s latest Statistical Review of World Energy. And while the United States may be cutting its coal use (and, therefore, its carbon dioxide emissions), the rest of the world continues to binge on coal, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

  • Last year, the United States reduced its emissions by 3.9 percent.
  • That reduction was larger than that of any other major industrialized country.
  • In contrast, China’s carbon dioxide output soared by 6 percent and India’s by 6.9 percent, while Brazil’s rose by 2.5 percent and Mexico’s by 4.3 percent


EPA waives fee requests for friendly groups, denies conservative groups

Conservative groups seeking information from the Environmental Protection Agency have been routinely hindered by fees normally waived for media and watchdog groups, while fees for more than 90 percent of requests from green groups were waived, according to requests reviewed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

CEI reviewed Freedom of Information Act requests sent between January 2012 and this spring from several environmental groups friendly to the EPA’s mission, and several conservative groups, to see how equally the agency applies its fee waiver policy for media and watchdog groups. Government agencies are supposed to waive fees for groups disseminating information for public benefit.

“This is as clear an example of disparate treatment as the IRS’ hurdles selectively imposed upon groups with names ominously reflecting an interest in, say, a less intrusive or biased federal government,” said CEI fellow Chris Horner.

For 92 percent of requests from green groups, the EPA cooperated by waiving fees for the information. Those requests came from the Natural Resources Defense Council, EarthJustice, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, The Waterkeeper Alliance, Greenpeace, Southern Environmental Law Center and the Center for Biological Diversity.

Continue reading from the Washington Examiner…

No Relief in Sight at Pump

U.S. gasoline prices jumped 6% in February, and market experts predict they will climb higher because critical refining operations in the Northeast are shutting down.

From New York to Philadelphia, refineries that turn oil into gasoline have been idled or shut permanently because their owners are losing money on them. Sunoco Inc. is expected to close the region’s largest refinery in July, taking another 335,000 barrels per day in production capacity off the market. Continue reading here…

EPA’s “Sustainability” Agenda: Vast Power Grab

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is on a mission to further unilaterally expand its already vast regulatory powers in the name of “sustainable development.” Congress should take action to rein in the agency before it’s too late.

An EPA-requested report issued in August by the National Research Council (NRC), a private nonprofit, lays out “an operational framework for integrating sustainability as one of the key drivers within the regulatory responsibilities of EPA.” The NRC and the EPA held a meeting on the report just last week.

The exact meaning of the environmental buzzword in the context of the EPA’s agenda is vague. The report refers to a broad definition from President Obama’s Executive Order 13514:

Sustainability: “to create and maintain conditions, under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.”

Continue reading…