Energy

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April 29, 2021
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Paying for Infrastructure: Carbon Tax Gets More Voter Support Than Gas Tax

After a substantial foray into last week’s climate summit and its accompanying emissions commitments, Morning Consult polling has returned to one of the Biden administration’s major legislative hurdles: how to get his infrastructure plan passed and paid for. 

 

While past articles from my colleague Claire Williams found that President Joe Biden’s initial plan to raise corporate income taxes to help pay for the more than $2 trillion in proposed investments is widely popular with voters, my latest story compares that pitch with a handful of others that have been proposed: a carbon tax, an increased gas tax and a mileage tax, specifically. 

 

We found that the latter two options — which some have framed as “user fees” for those who will most use the infrastructure — are comparably unpopular: roughly 3 in 5 voters say they oppose both. A carbon tax, however, which would target greenhouse gas emitters, garnered the support of 52 percent of voters, and opposition from 34 percent. Meanwhile, higher corporate taxes remain popular with a majority of voters. For more, see here

 

Top Stories

  • In his first address to Congress, President Joe Biden doubled down on his message that fighting climate change will beget job creation, saying that “there’s no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.” Citing “independent experts,” Biden said that his more than $2 trillion American Jobs Plan would add millions of jobs to the U.S. economy, including in renewable energy and in electric grid modernization. (The Hill)
  • The Senate voted 52-42 to effectively reinstate an Obama-era methane rule, using the Congressional Review Act to rescind the Trump administration’s relaxation of the 2016 regulation of the potent greenhouse gas. The regulatory reversal had the support from many companies in the oil and gas industry and prompted three Republicans — Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — to join their colleagues across the aisle to vote for the measure. (Politico)
  • The Supreme Court heard arguments over whether several energy companies can seize New Jersey land to build a $1 billion interstate pipeline using eminent domain, granted by the 1938 Natural Gas Act that allows private energy companies to take property if they have received the relevant Federal Energy Regulatory Commission certificate. A lower court ruled in favor of the New Jersey government, which argues that the project would compromise the state’s rights. (Reuters)
 

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What Else You Need to Know

General
 

Six House Democrats ask Garland to review case of lawyer placed under house arrest over Chevron suit

Zack Budryk, The Hill

Six House Democrats on Wednesday called for Attorney General Merrick Garland to review the case of a lawyer who claims his yearlong house arrest is retaliation for his work against Chevron.

 
Climate Change and Emissions
 

People of Color Breathe More Hazardous Air. The Sources Are Everywhere.

Hiroko Tabuchi and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times

Researchers uncovered stark disparities between white people and minorities across thousands of categories of pollution, including trucks, industry, agriculture and even restaurants.

 

Glaciers Are Melting More Rapidly, Risking Floods and Droughts

William Wilkes, Bloomberg

A new study found the Earth lost 30% more ice per year from 2015 to 2019 compared with the previous five years.

 

The U.S. Will Need a Lot of Land for a Zero-Carbon Economy

Dave Merrill, Bloomberg

At his international climate summit last week, President Joe Biden vowed to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030. The goal will require sweeping changes in the power generation, transportation and manufacturing sectors. It will also require a tremendous amount of land.

 

Climate Activists Say BlackRock Just Failed a Key Test

Michelle Celarier, Institutional Investor

The asset management giant voted in favor of Wells Fargo’s existing chairman, whom activists criticized for not doing enough to fight global warming.

 

From dust bowl to California drought: a climate scientist on the lessons we still haven’t learned

Maanvi Singh, The Guardian

Peter Gleick argues there’s an urgent need to reshape our relationship to water: ‘There is enormous untapped potential for conservation’

 

Colorado governor says he would veto climate change bill

The Associated Press

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis says he would veto a bill backed by fellow Democrats that is designed to enforce, through additional regulation, a state plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change.

 
Renewables and Storage
 

Tesla’s Latest Solar Stumble: Big Price Increases

Ivan Penn, The New York Times

The company is charging tens of thousands of dollars more to cover roofs with its much-anticipated solar shingles, angering some customers.

 
Oil, Gas and Alternative Fuels
 

Total and Shell report jumps in profit

Anjli Raval and David Keohane, Financial Times

The energy majors are lifted by the oil market recovery but French group warns of a volatile outlook.

 

Hidden Super Polluters Revealed in Wake of Texas Energy Crisis

Kevin Crowley, Bloomberg

Two natural gas plants belonging to Targa Resources were responsible for more emissions during this year’s winter storm than any of the biggest U.S. oil refineries, state records show.

 

Biden’s first 100 days were big for clean energy. What about fossil fuels?

Emily Pontecorvo and Shannon Osaka, Grist

Biden promised to hold polluters accountable. Here’s how his actions stack up.

 

Oil pipeline disputes raise tensions between U.S. and Canada

John Flesher and Matthew Brown, The Associated Press

Months after President Joe Biden snubbed Canadian officials by canceling Keystone XL, an impending showdown over a second crude oil pipeline threatens to further strain ties between the two neighbors that were frayed during the Trump administration.

 

13 U.S. refineries exceeded emissions limits for cancer-causing benzene in 2020: report

Laura Sanicola and Laila Kearney, Reuters

Thirteen U.S. oil refineries released the cancer-causing chemical benzene in concentrations that exceeded federal limits last year, according to government data published by the green group Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) on Wednesday.

 
Electricity, Utilities and Infrastructure
 

NextEra Plans to Harness Landfill Gas to Make Renewable Fuel

Josh Saul and Naureen S. Malik, Bloomberg

NextEra Energy Inc. and OPAL Fuels LLC plan to capture methane from a Minnesota landfill to produce renewable natural gas, adding to a series of projects seeking to cash in on the energy source while helping cut greenhouse-gas emissions.

 
Environment, Land and Resources
 

Facing Drought, Southern California Has More Water Than Ever

Laura Bliss, Bloomberg Green and CityLab

Previous droughts motivated the greater Los Angeles region to build new storage and create lasting conservation habits. But vulnerabilities still remain.

 
Coal/Nuclear
 

Destination: Elga
Polina ivanova, Reuters

A Russian telecoms magnate plans to spend billions on the Siberian coal project, despite terrain that is covered by snow up to eight months a year and the doomed efforts of the previous owner. As many Western countries move away from the fossil fuel, Moscow doubles down on production and turns east, to Asia.

 

China has ‘no other choice’ but to rely on coal power for now, official says

Evelyn Cheng, CNBC

China has ambitious goals for cutting its carbon emissions, but it won’t be abandoning coal power anytime soon as it keeps its eye firmly on economic targets.

 
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
 

Tax credits for wind and solar projects are broken. Congress can fix that.

Sheldon Kimber, Grist

There’s a backlog of renewables projects ready to go, but banks can’t easily finance them.

 

What we lose when we lose our glaciers

Gaia Vince, The Guardian

To enter a world of ice and rock is to witness the sublime, a sensory paradox of perspective-shifting unreality.

 






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