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Republicans Shift on Climate

Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Agency, Federal Legislation, Opinions, Policy, Texas
February 22, 2019

by Kelsey Tamborrino (Politico’s Morning Energy)  Republicans appear to be changing their tone and launching fewer attacks on climate science. Instead, some in the party have touted longstanding support for innovation to address the problem — a sign of the changing tides as they face pressure from the electorate and an emboldened Democratic party on the issue, Pro’s Anthony Adragna reports.

Republicans on the Hill are talking about the deployment of nuclear power, carbon capture technologies and investments in new energy research. “I want us to frame our position, not let the other side tell Americans what we are or are not for through their lens,” said Rep. Greg Walden.

That shift follows recent polling that shows large majorities of Americans now acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is driving climate change and that they support serious action. It also comes amid a wave of enthusiasm generated by freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her Green New Deal resolution, which has prompted Republicans to offer up their own solutions.

One early signal about whether the shift on climate science is genuine, Anthony points out, will come when House Republican leaders name their members for the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, a move expected as soon as next week. READ MORE

Young protesters arrested outside Sen. Mitch McConnell’s office demanding action on Green New Deal (Washington Post)

EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER IN TEXAS (Politico’s Morning Energy)

EPA head Andrew Wheeler: Green New Deal supporters are ‘oblivious’ to need for fossil fuels (Washington Examiner)

CALLING ALL TECH: (Politico’s Morning Energy)

BEYOND PETROLEUM, PART DEUX (Politico’s Morning Energy)

GOP attacks on GND based on false stats (Our Daily Planet)

Trump Energy Secretary Rick Perry ‘absolutely’ would talk with Ocasio-Cortez about Green New Deal (CNBC)

 

EVERYTHING COMES TOGETHER IN TEXAS: Officials from the Trump administration will mingle with the oil and gas industry on topics ranging from shale economics to the rise of electric vehicles and the Green New Deal at CERAWeek 2019.

The agenda of this week’s confab will take a close look at some novel topics nagging the industry, Pro’s Ben Lefebvre and Eric Wolff report. While the energy industry is no stranger to adopting new technologies, this week they’ll chew over topics like decarbonizing the economy, which once got little serious attention at fossil-fuel dominated events.

Daniel Yergin, the vice chairman of IHS Markit, which hosts the week-long event, told POLITICO the rising amount of conference time devoted to renewables, decarbonization and electric vehicles is a reflection of the industry today.

“We have NGOs and utilities and public officials who want to move very fast toward alternative energy, and others who just don’t think that’s feasible or that it’s going to happen,” Yergin said. “Two words we’ll hear a lot at the conference: energy transition. There’s no agreement on what that transition is.”

He also noted that “obviously, the Green New Deal one way or another will be a subject of discussion.”

On tap today: EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Senate Energy leaders Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin will speak at the conference.

IN THEIR WORDS: Murkowski and Manchin co-authored an opinion piece in The Washington Post on the debate over how to address climate change, though it doesn’t specifically mention the Green New Deal. “This is often portrayed as an issue with just two sides — those who support drastic, unattainable measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, and those who want to do nothing,” they write. “We believe the time for sensationalism is over. And we are seeking ideas that will bring people together, rather than drive them apart.”  READ MORE

 

Excerpts from Washington Examiner:  In his (EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s) speech, he did not mention climate change or renewable energy despite some of the largest oil and gas companies around the world at the conference discussing the challenge of the energy transition, and the need to address global warming.

Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, opposed Wheeler’s confirmation because of his inattention to addressing climate change.

Wheeler has tried to minimize the harm EPA’s actions would have on efforts to reduce carbon emissions, and on Monday he highlighted billions in economic savings to businesses he claims they would generate.

Meanwhile, an analysis released last week by the State Energy and Environmental Impact Center at New York University projected the Trump administration’s proposal to soften Obama administration fuel efficiency standards for vehicles would create between 16 million and 37 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2025, equal to the annual emissions of more than 9 million vehicles.

Wheeler showed no signs of altering his agenda though, emphasizing his priority of moving the agency’s focus away from combating climate change to basic duties such as cleaning hazardous toxic sites, and ensuring healthy drinking water. READ MORE

 

Excerpt from Politico’s Morning Energy:  CALLING ALL TECH: Oil and gas industry representatives in Houston this week are casting about for any and all means to cut carbon emissions in the next few decades. Even after successfully lobbying the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era regulation cracking down on methane leaks, they are facing investor pressure to do something to at least try to hit the emission targets set in the Paris climate accord.

Fusion vs. ‘nature’s technology’ : The proposed solutions range from the mundane to the borderline sci-fi. Suncor COO Mark Little talked about developing tech to extract the chemicals that would become carbon emissions from oil before the product reaches consumers (he also pitched a global carbon price, to which ME says “good luck.”) Conservation International President Jennifer Morris also proposed companies use “nature’s technology,” i.e. planting trees to suck the carbon out the atmosphere. Shell executive Maarten Wetselaar called hydrogen power “one of the issues we all know or suspect will play a major role.”

In all: The industry doesn’t seem to know what’s next. But after years of focusing on measuring success in barrels per day, it seems to be at least talking about which roads to take next. “Multiple signals and reports tell us that the oil and gas business can be facing a crisis of confidence,” Eldar Sætre, CEO of Norwegian oil major Equinor told the crowd in Houston, adding “it is in fact a real threat to our license to operate, unless we proactively and collectively address it.”

CARBON PRICE JAILBREAK? The Republican-backed Climate Leadership Council says it will have GOP co-sponsors for its carbon price initiative in the third quarter. CLC Chief Executive Ted Halstead wouldn’t name names but said CLC is aiming at getting up to five Republicans to join the charge to put the policy in front of the Senate after the summer recess. “There will be a jailbreak moment,” Halstead told ME from Houston. “Our goal is to have a bipartisan version of our plan to be introduced in the Senate this year. There will be several Rs and several Ds to put this forward, and it becomes real.”    READ MORE

Excerpt from Politico’s Morning Energy: BEYOND PETROLEUM, PART DEUX : BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley called on the oil and gas industry to diversify if it wants to maintain its social license in the face of calls for more aggressive climate policies. “We have to move from being pure-play oil and gas companies into broader energy businesses,” Dudley said in his speech to CERAWeek. “It means improving the dialogue we have with policymakers around the world, including those behind the Green New Deal. And it means being increasingly open and transparent with our shareholders. We need to demonstrate that we share the common goal of a low carbon future and that we are in action toward it.”  READ MORE

 

Excerpts from Our Daily Planet:  The GOP response to the Green New Deal (GND) has been largely negative–well, that’s an understatement considering that Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, recently called the ideas behind the Green New Deal “tantamount to genocide.” The main argument from Republicans has been that implementation of the GND would be far too costly and many lawmakers have been throwing around the figure that it would cost U.S. taxpayers $93 trillion, a number that has been completely made up by a conservative think tank and is not based on any sort of policy analysis(as the Green New Deal is not actually a bill yet that’s capable of being analyzed for specific policy prescriptions).

As Politico reported, “the number originated with a report by a conservative think tank, American Action Forum, that made huge assumptions about how Democrats would implement their plan. But the $93 trillion figure does not appear anywhere in the think tank’s report — and AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin confessed he has no idea how much the Green New Deal would cost.” This hasn’t stopped Congressional Republicans from using this made up number and also calling for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold hearings on the Green New Deal as they seek to cast the progressive policy as bad for poor Americans, as Axios’ Amy Harder explained in her column yesterday.  READ MORE

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Energy Self-Sufficiency Initiative Russia Russian olive rutabaga Rwanda ry rye Rye grass s saccharification Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) safety safflower sago pond weed SAIC SAK Salicornia salt-tolerant saltbush saltcedar sal tree salt water Sanctions Santa Monica sardine oil Saskatchewan Saudi Arabia sawdust scale up Scandinavia scholarships/fellowships Science Advisory Board (SAB) Science Policy Scotland scum sea level rise seashore mallow seawater Seaweed/Macroalgae seaweed cultivation Section 526 Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) seed-to-wheel seed husks Senegal Serbia sesame sewage Seychelles shale shale gas shale oil shark oil sheep shipping shipping containers shipworm Sierra Leone silica Silphie/cup plant/Indian cup silver silver maple simarouba Singapore sisal SK slash Slovakia Slovakia/Slovak Republic Slovenia sludge Small Business Administration small engines small refinery exemption (SRE) smog smokestack soap Social social cost social value 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