Morning Consult Energy: Energy-Focused Unit Set to Open at Office of Science and Technology Policy
 

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Essential energy industry news & intel to start your day.
November 24, 2021
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Morning Consult Energy will be off Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. The weekday newsletter will resume Monday. 

 

COP26 Pledges Are Popular With the Public, but How Does That Translate Into Post-COP26 Action? 

Before all of us in the United States tuck in for tomorrow’s holiday meal, I took a quick look at how the post-COP26 dust is settling among the public and what it means both for the president and the senators still wrestling over the Build Back Better Act. 

 

So, in light of the two-week summit, has enough been done? The short answer (at least from healthy majorities of U.S. adults) is no, not yet, despite the popularity of a number of specific pledges that emerged. Several people I spoke to for this story say that whether or not the work of COP26 actually translates into climate action depends on what happens now: whether the Build Back Better Act and future similar legislation retain major climate provisions, and whether the Biden administration continues to invest in accelerating the energy transition. 

 

For more on the post-COP26 specifics — and a plethora of charts to help make sense of them — read on here: Momentum for Biden Administration Ahead of Senate’s Build Back Better Talks: Most of the Public Is Supportive of COP26 Climate Pledges

 

And for those of you celebrating: Happy Thanksgiving! See you Sunday.

 

Top Stories

  • The White House is set to announce today a new department of its Office of Science and Technology Policy that will be focused on energy. Meanwhile, Stanford University’s ​​Sally Benson, who will be the office’s deputy director for energy and chief strategist for the clean energy transition, said in an interview that her priorities for the role include making sure a quick transition reaps benefits for all and does not leave fossil fuel workers behind. (The Washington Post)
  • Southern California utilities may have to cut power over the coming holiday to mitigate the risk of wildfires from the high winds expected to sweep the region today through Friday. The potential outages could impact nearly 200,000 homes and businesses. (Bloomberg)
  • In light of President Joe Biden’s decision to release crude supplies from the country’s strategic reserves in coordination with other countries, he said that the public can expect gasoline prices to drop “before long” and that the country would lower its “reliance on oil” as it pivots to using more renewable energy. (Reuters) Analysts concurred that the move will likely lower fuel prices at least by a little bit in the short term, but that relief is likely to be temporary. (Roll Call)
  • As anticipated, the Biden administration filed a proposal in the Federal Register to protect more than 9 million acres of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest from logging and road construction. The move, which reverses the Trump-era policy to allow logging in much of the forest, was formally announced last week. (The Hill)
 

Chart Review

 
 

What Else You Need to Know

General
 

As Federal Disaster Aid Languishes, Private Lenders Are Filling the Gap

Christopher Flavelle, The New York Times

A new program allows Morgan Stanley to front money for disaster repairs and then get paid back, with interest, by taxpayers.

 

The Supreme Court will hear cases that could undercut Biden’s climate agenda. Here’s what to know.

Maxine Joselow, The Washington Post

In our crowded news cycle, it can be easy to miss key developments related to climate policy. So you would be forgiven for missing that the Supreme Court last month agreed to hear cases challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

 

Private funds will finance energy transition, investors say

Divya Chowdhury et al., Reuters

The transition to clean energy will primarily be financed by the private sector as a standardised framework of reporting climate credentials for companies across the globe is established, investors and think tanks said.

 

‘It should not have taken this long’: Regan confronts EJ vows

Kelsey Brugger, E&E News

EPA Administrator Michael Regan appeared pensive at a card table covered by a white tablecloth as resident Lisa Glenn named everyone on her street who had been diagnosed with cancer. Her neighbor got up and ran to the restroom in tears.

 
Climate Change and Emissions
 

Carney Says Carbon Offsets Must Be Limited to Residual Emissions

Stephen Treloar and Lars Erik Taraldsen, Bloomberg

The use of carbon offsets should be a last resort to cover only a small fraction of emissions if the world is to achieve meaningful decarbonization, according to Mark Carney, the co-chair of the Global Financial Alliance for Net Zero.

 

The Rise of the Local Climate Candidate

Patrick Sisson, Bloomberg

As the effects of climate change become more severe, local officials like Boston Mayor Michelle Wu are spotlighting environmental issues and solutions — and winning. 

 

Trudeau Vows to Go ‘Further, Faster’ on Climate Policy in His Third Term

Stephen Wicary, Bloomberg

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sketched out his government’s third-term agenda, emphasizing the need for strong action on climate change as Canada grapples with unprecedented flooding along its Pacific coast.

 

Big climate change job awaits WTO – if it can step up

Mark John, Reuters

From laying down the law on fossil fuel subsidies to promoting low-carbon supply chains, there is no shortage of ways in which the World Trade Organization could be at the forefront of the global fight against climate change.

 

Giant pipeline in U.S. Midwest tests future of carbon capture

Leah Douglas, Reuters

Dan Tronchetti received a letter in August that alarmed him: Summit Carbon Solutions, a company he’d never heard of, wanted his permission to conduct survey work for a 2,000-mile pipeline it planned to route through his Iowa corn and soybean fields.

 

Greenland ice sheet loses more than it gained for 25th straight year

Lexi Lonas, The Hill

The Greenland ice sheet has lost more ice than it gained for the 25th straight year, according to a summary by scientists in Carbon Brief.

 

Climate Change Might Be Driving Albatrosses to Divorce

Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic

It’s not you. It’s our dwindling food supply.

 
Renewables and Storage
 

GE’s renewables unit makes zero waste pledge for wind turbine blade production

Anmar Frangoul, CNBC
The issue of what to do with wind turbine blades when they’re no longer needed has become a headache for the industry.

 

US clean energy sector pushes nine resource adequacy reforms

Ellie Potter, S&P Global Platts

Various clean energy groups want the US to put an entity in charge of procuring necessary electricity resources, creating “buyers with accountability,” among other recommendations aimed at ensuring resource adequacy as the US transitions to cleaner energy sources, according to a Nov. 23 report.

 
Oil, Gas and Alternative Fuels
 

Many environmentalists back Biden’s move to tap oil reserve

Matthew Daly, The Associated Press

Democrats and climate activists generally supported President Joe Biden’s decision to release a record 50 million barrels of oil from America’s strategic reserve, even as the move appeared to contradict his long-term vision of combating climate change.

 

EPA forces natural gas plants to make pollution data public

Sean Reilly, E&E News

For the first time, hundreds of natural gas processing plants will have to publicly report emissions of benzene and other hazardous air pollutants.

 

U.S. energy secretary: companies making huge profits, should increase oil supply

Alexandra Alper and Jeff Mason, Reuters

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday urged U.S. energy companies to increase oil supply amid “enormous profits” as President Joe Biden seeks to bring down the price of gasoline for American families.

 

Shale oil’s slower investment sparks new tension with White House

Liz Hampton, Reuters

As the Biden administration and allies scramble to deliver more oil to market through stockpile releases, shale producers are tapping the brakes on reinvestment, according to new data, a sign of the widening split between U.S. oil companies and Washington.

 

Explainer: What is happening with U.S. gasoline prices?

Laura Sanicola, Reuters

The United States uses more gasoline than any other nation in the world, and lately Americans have grown concerned about the swift rise in costs at the pump.

 

Why Is Biden Tapping the Strategic Oil Reserve, and Will That Lower Gas Prices?

Timothy Puko and Katy Stech Ferek, The Wall Street Journal

Biden administration says it will release 50 million barrels of oil in a coordinated effort with other countries.

 
Transportation
 

Mayors Cite Electric Vehicles As Top Climate Tech Priority

Josyana Joshua, Bloomberg

A recent survey shows U.S. city leaders are putting net-zero vehicles at the top of their climate agendas, along with public buildings, solar energy and LED lighting. 

 

Arc Lands $30 Million for Its $300,000 Electric Boat

Kyle Stock, Bloomberg

The next wave of electric vehicles won’t be on roads.

 
Electricity, Utilities and Infrastructure
 

The biggest problem facing the U.S. electric grid isn’t demand. It’s climate change

Vincent Acovino, NPR News

The power grid in the U.S. is aging and already struggling to meet current demand. It faces a future with more people, who drive more electric cars and heat homes with more electric furnaces.

 

O’Rourke seizes on Texas power grid in bid against Abbott

Rachel Frazin, The Hill

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D) is seizing on Texans’ concerns over their energy grid following the devastating winter storm earlier this year in his bid to oust Gov. Greg Abbott (R).

 
Environment, Land and Resources
 

Fire, frost, smoke: how climate change is threatening the wine industry

Alan Livsey, Financial Times

Prices are rising, which means investors should understand the risks.

 

Can Plants That Suck Metal From Soil Replace Mining?

James Bullock and David Rovella, Bloomberg

Mining is destructive to everything around it but renewable tech requires more metal than ever. Now there may be a green solution to this conundrum.

 

How Feeding Fish a Long-Lost Fungus Helps Save the World’s Trees

Damian Shepherd, Bloomberg

Fish is often considered one of the greenest meats to consume, but the soybeans used to raise them can lead to deforestation.

 
Coal/Nuclear
 

Nuclear fusion: why the race to harness the power of the sun just sped up

Tom Wilson and Ian Bott, Financial Times

Advances in technology and funding have sparked optimism in an area that has promised much but delivered little in six decades.

 

More Than 20 Coal-Fired Plants Will Close in Wake of Wastewater Rule

Darrell Proctor, Power

A new wastewater rule authorized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) earlier this year is leading several coal-fired plants to announce closure plans, according to an analysis of state regulatory filings by the Sierra Club.

 

West Virginia Governor Jim Justice faces justice for coal crimes in Kentucky

Adam Mahoney, Grist

Kentucky’s newest strategy might stop coal barons from gaming the reclamation system.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

Humanity’s failure to tackle climate change in the 1980s had many causes

Nathaniel Rich, The Guardian

In his article (Neoliberalism wrecked our chance to fix the climate crisis – and leftwing statements of faith have changed nothing, 17 November), Jeff Sparrow repeats Naomi Klein’s simplistic claim that, in Losing Earth, I “attribute” the missed opportunity on climate change during the critical decade between 1979 and 1989 to “human nature”. Anyone who reads Losing Earth will see that I do no such thing.

 

Dancing on the edge of climate disaster

Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Despite signs of hope, scepticism is fully justified when it comes to the COP26 announcements.

 
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