US Climate Policy

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Presented in Track D, at EUEC 2011, January 31, Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, Arizona

D1.1   The Fight for Climate Action Continues…the Outlook for Alternative Approaches

 Linda Whelan, Senior Director, Energy & Environment Policy, Dynegy

 Passage of a federal climate bill before 2013 is now unlikely. The emphasis now switches to increasing pressure for GHG reductions thru other avenues. But these alternatives also face challenges and uncertainties: (1) EPA regulatory efforts. EPA is going full-throttle with its Endangerment Finding, Motor Vehicle Rule, and Tailoring Rule. Next up: FIPs, CO2 BACT, and NSPS standards. But the wave of legal challenges EPA is facing is unprecedented – will EPA be able to proceed as planned? And what about Congressional proposals to delay EPA? (2) Alternative Congressional actions. Many want renewable and energy efficiency mandates in the interim, but the range of targets and technologies complicates compromise. (3) State/regional cap&trade programs. Efforts to expand the scope and stringency of exiting state/regional cap&trade and to promote new programs where none currently exist are ramping up. But fall elections could derail those efforts, considering the California ballot measure and numerous gubernatorial candidates vowing to remove their states from existing programs. (4) State regulatory mandates. A recent Colorado law — which mandates electric utilities pursue actions to address climate change and provides assurances of rate recovery – is being hailed as a model. And it has its fans. But precedent implications have raised concerns. (5) And more!

 

 D1.2   Why “Cap-and-Trade” GHG Legislation Failed in the U.S. and What to Do About It

 Andy Van Horn, Managing Director, Van Horn Consulting

 After the November elections and the December 2010 Cancun COP16, U.S. states and Congress will re-examine legislative goals and mechanisms that made “cap-and-trade” a successful framework for SO2 and NOx reduction in the U.S. and the model for the European Union Emission Trading Scheme. Distrust of markets, overly complex regulatory features, scientific uncertainties and errors publicized in “Climate-gate” coupled with poor explanations about emissions trading enabled opponents to characterize cap-and-trade as “cap-and-tax” and to prefer “command-and-control” or no GHG regulation at all. The failure to understand offsets, misplaced concerns about “leakage,” the touting of auctions as a ubiquitous revenue source for government and for redress of inequities, combined with loudly-voiced bias against profits, which are essential to provide incentives for improved technologies, have obscured the reasons for global GHG reduction and confused the essential role of markets. Current U.S. cap-and-trade legislation is too complex to be widely accepted and may be too difficult to implement. This presentation will point out areas that continue to delay U.S. legislation, i.e., where “the perfect is the enemy of the good,” and will identify key elements like forward markets, offsets, environmental monitoring and verification that remain essential to achieving environmental goals while containing costs.

 

D1.3   Oh What a Difference A Year Makes: Climate Change Legislation 2009-2010

 Joseph Stanko, Partner, Hunton & Williams, LLP

 The new Democratic House Energy & Commerce Committee leadership, introduced a comprehensive climate change legislation in the Spring of 2009. The Waxman-Markey bill certainly was far-reaching, covering nearly every sector of the economy. Its release triggered a firestorm of activity, and after concessions and compromises, the bill narrowly passed the House in late June 2009. After a summer of negative “town hall meeting” reaction and a stalled Senate Environment Committee process, Senators Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joseph Lieberman attempted to cobble together a politically more palatable proposal. But when Senator Graham backed out of the process consensus faltered, leaving Senators Kerry and Lieberman to press on alone without success. Subsequent “utility-only” bills failed to break the gridlock, forcing Senate Leadership to abandon additional attempts to put a price on carbon through legislative means. This presentation will review the current Congressional state-of-play and the prospects for climate change legislation in 2011, as well as Congressional efforts to limit EPA regulation of greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act.

D1.4   US GHG Regulation – Now What?

 Joel Bluestein, Senior Vice President, ICF International

 With Federal GHG legislation apparently on hold for the near term, the focus shifts to Federal regulation under the Clean Air Act and regional activities. How will these actions play out and what do they mean for large emitters? How should companies plan for near-term compliance while positioning themselves for possible subsequent legislation?

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