Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

June 29, 2015

Top Stories

EPA.  Today the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency must reconsider its new mercury rules for power plants because it didn’t properly take the costs of the regulations into account before deciding to adopt them.  The mercury rules went into effect earlier this year and required coal and oil-fired power plants to install high-tech scrubbers to cut emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants.  NY Times

Climate Change.  Reuters reports that many U.S. oil companies are taking unusual measures to block a proposal that would give investor groups the right to nominate climate experts for board seats.  The proposal — which was passed by over two thirds of the companies targeted — highlights growing consensus among investors that these companies must do more to address risks associated with climate change.  Reuters

Energy Policy.  Mark Muro and Reed Hundt of the Brookings Institute argue that the federal government should do more to help state-level green banks — which leverage public and private money to finance low-carbon technologies — to scale-up their operations.   They assert that the assistance needed is largely administrative in nature, such as clarifying the nature of definitions and eligibility, reducing red tape, and granting quicker access to funds.  Brookings

Energy Policy.  On the eve of the official deadline to reach a comprehensive deal, it remains unclear whether the U.S. and international partners will be able to finalize negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program.  All parties involved have ruled out a long-term extension of negotiations, although the talks could drag on a few days beyond June 30 as negotiators seek to resolve issues related to inspections, the timing of sanctions relief, and the scope of Tehran’s nuclear research.  WSJ

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

June 26, 2015

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  Just days before a diplomatic deadline, Iran’s Supreme Leader has backed away from the concessions promised in April to restrain part of his country’s nuclear program and allow international inspections.   The announcement is rattling Western governments, and U.S. officials believe Iran is publicly asserting itself in order to get the White House and other negotiating partners to compromise more in the final deal.  WSJ

Energy Outlook.  British start-up Tokamak Energy believes it is on the verge of the “Wright brothers moment” for energy, claiming it will release a prototype reactor that could make electricity from nuclear within a decade.  The invention represents a compelling example of how companies and academic groups are developing new forms of carbon-free energy on an accelerated timeline — most experts did not expect this shift for another 20 years at least.  FT

Energy Outlook.  Brigham A. McCown asserts in Forbes that the European Union’s reliance on Russian energy leaves it subject to reactive — rather than proactive — foreign policy.  He cites numerous examples of ways in which the EU can reduce this dependence, such as diversifying its energy sector through efficiency programs and increasing its focus on renewable sources.  Forbes

Energy Policy.  As negotiators prepare for a global summit on climate change later this year, the new government of Alberta Canada plans to double a carbon tax on large emitters by 2017.  The oil sands region of northern Alberta contains the world’s third largest reserves, which emit more carbon dioxide per barrel compared to other types of crude;  Canadian oil executives have planned on the carbon tax increase as part of a broader strategy to address the region’s rising emissions.  FT

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

June 25, 2015

Top Stories

Energy Policy.  A group of President Obama’s closest foreign-policy advisers warned yesterday that they would oppose a nuclear agreement with Iran if tougher terms weren’t included in the final deal — including intrusive snap inspections of Iran’s nuclear and military sites, a resolution of questions surrounding secretly developed nuclear-weapons technologies, and a phased reduction of international sanctions on the Islamic Republic.  The group also advised the White House to make clear to Iran that the U.S. will use military force if needed.  WSJ

Energy Outlook.  The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that declines in employment related to oil and natural gas extraction tend to lag price declines and continue to decline well after prices begin to rebound.  Using BLS data in relation to the oil price decline following the 2008 recession, EIA finds that 82% of the decline in jobs occurred after oil prices reached their lowest monthly level.  EIA

Energy Policy.  The U.S. oil industry is launching a campaign to win support in the 2016 elections for “pro-energy” policies — an agenda that is likely at odds with that of democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton.  Although industry representatives have said the campaign would “stay above partisanship,” they have voiced deep concerns recently about many policies supported by the current administration, including new regulations on ozone pollution and methane emissions.  FT

Oil.  Ahead of a possible nuclear deal with the west, executives from European oil majors met with Iranian officials in Tehran to discuss investing in the country’s energy industry — evidence of the growing interest among big companies in Iran, which boasts the third-largest oil and gas reserves.  Iran is eager to bring back major oil players, as it will require tens of billions of dollars of foreign investment to meet its goal of doubling production by the end of the decade.  FT

Keybridge Releases 2014 Annual Progress Report on McDonald’s-Alliance for a Healthier Generation Partnership on Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action

Keybridge Releases 2014 Annual Progress Report on McDonald’s-Alliance for a Healthier Generation Partnership on Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action

Keybridge prepared the first annual report on McDonald’s progress toward fulfilling its Commitment to Action to increase customers’ access to fruits, vegetables, water, and low-fat dairy products and to help families make more informed food choices. For more information about Keybridge, please contact us at info@keybridgedc.com.

Link: Executive Summary2014 Progress Report McDonald’s Alliance Partnership on CGI Commitment to Action

Energy and Environment News

Energy and Environment News

June 24, 2015

Top Stories

Climate Change.  A peer-reviewed study funded by the U.S. Department of Energy finds that oil extraction in Canada produces greenhouse-gas emissions that are 20% higher on average than those produced from conventional U.S. crude.  The authors note that as oil-sands products become a larger fraction of the U.S. fuel mix over the next 15 years, the U.S. well-to-wheel emissions for gasoline and diesel production are likely to increase.  WSJ

Climate Change.  Eduardo Porter asserts in the NY Times that President Obama’s climate change strategy lacks strong analytical foundations and is driven more by hope than by science.  He cites findings from various environmental experts — from top organizations like Greenpeace to economists at the University of Chicago — to demonstrate that policymakers’ preferred methods of combatting climate change are not supported by current data.  NY Times

Energy Policy.  Germany is forgoing plans to raise emissions charges for older coal-fired power stations at the request of its power sector, which warns that any levy would result in the closure of mines and plants, and potentially collapse the industry.  The move illustrates the challenge Berlin faces as it attempts to meet its ambitious targets to combat climate change, while also safeguarding jobs.  FT

Energy Outlook.  Adie Tomer of the Brookings Institute explains that demand for gasoline in the U.S. is relatively inelastic, resulting in a close correlation between the retail price of gas and the amount of money that the average American family spends on gas relative to other household expenses.  He argues that because gasoline prices are likely to increase over the longer term, the U.S. needs to find alternatives to driving in order to “dull” the economic impact of rising gas prices on other areas of the economy.  Brookings

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