Energy

Essential energy industry news & intel to start your week.
April 25, 2021
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As was debuted last week, the new Sunday newsletter looks a little different; beginning today, we will be sending it out in the mornings so that you have more time to get caught up on the week ahead. If you have a moment, please let us know what you think of the new format.

 

But before we get into the week ahead: Can you guess how many Democrats say governments have “a lot” of influence to alter the impacts of climate change? Here are your options (answer at the bottom of the newsletter):

 

A: 73% B: 65% C: 58% D: 47%

 

What’s Ahead

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will be featured in Monday’s Politico Playbook Virtual Interview, in discussion with journalist Tara Palmeri at 11 a.m. Why it’s worth watching: While Granholm has been very active in summits and events recently, the Politico event will go in-depth into the Biden administration’s plans for infrastructure and climate, both via the more than $2 trillion American Jobs Plan and via the Department of Energy’s existing plans to embrace renewable energy, electric vehicles and new technologies. 

 

There are two upcoming events on the Hill with implications for climate and finance; on Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee will hold a hearing titled “Climate Challenges: The Tax Code’s Role in Creating American Jobs, Achieving Energy Independence, and Providing Consumers with Affordable, Clean Energy” at 10 a.m. A few hours later, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety Subcommittee will hold a hearing on S. 283, the National Climate Bank Act, at 2:30 p.m. Why they’re worth watching: The financial sector has increasingly been in the spotlight as the federal government considers its “all of government” approach to combating climate change. The hearing on the tax code comes in the wake of Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introducing a bill that would eliminate tax breaks for the fossil fuel sector and incentivize investment in clean energy.

 

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will hold a technical conference to discuss “electrification and the grid of the future” on Thursday at 10 a.m. Why it’s worth watching: The conference is separate from FERC’s monthly meetings, and will begin a dialogue between the commission and stakeholders on how to make the administration’s electrification goals a reality. It will focus on the shift to electric sources at the point of final consumption: to fuel vehicles, heat and cool homes and businesses and provide process heat at industrial facilities.      

 

Events Calendar

 

Week in Review

Ah, Earth Week. It was a busy one, with multiple countries, companies and international organizations announcing emissions cut commitments and climate change mitigation efforts before or during President Joe Biden’s climate summit, which took place on Thursday and Friday. To kick it off, Biden made his own commitment to at least halve U.S. emissions by 2030 (compared with a 2005 baseline). 

 

All 40 of the world leaders invited — including Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin — accepted Biden’s invitation to the virtual event, and several of them made tangible emissions cut commitments. For instance, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged that the country will reduce its emissions by 40-45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030, and Japan raised its own target to a 46 percent reduction on the same timeline.

 

While Xi did not explicitly intensify China’s commitment (his current pledge involves reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2060), he did say the country would “strictly limit coal consumption” in the next five years and phase it down in the following five years. 

 

Also on Thursday, the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom tapped private investors in a collective plan to cut greenhouse gases by giving monetary rewards to countries that stop the destruction of tropical forests.

 

In other news: 

  • A group of progressive lawmakers, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), released legislation billed as the “Green New Deal for Public Housing Act,” aimed at modernizing the country’s public housing system and contributing to the renewable energy transition. The act is the first of several proposals that progressives are expected to unveil in the near future, as they move to influence the ultimate results of Biden’s proposed $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
  • The United Mine Workers of America, the largest coal workers union in the United States, indicated that it would support the country’s transition away from fossil fuels, assuming the Biden administration pushes for new jobs in renewable energy, technology to make coal cleaner and financial assistance for miners who lose jobs as a consequence. In his presentation of the mine workers’ plan, UMWA President Cecil Roberts specifically called for new jobs in Appalachia via tax credits subsidizing solar and wind turbine manufacturing.
  • Biden announced several picks to lead various environmental departments, including scientist Rick Spinrad to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency where Spinrad worked during the Obama administration. And, as anticipated, National Wildlife Federation senior adviser Tracy Stone-Manning was tapped to lead the Bureau of Land Management.
  • Insurance giant Swiss Re released a report saying that climate change is likely to reduce global economic output by 11 to 14 percent — as much as $23 trillion compared with growth levels without climate change — in the next three decades as a function of failed crops, the spread of disease and rising sea levels.
 
Stat of the Week
 

3,048,603

That’s how many workers were employed by the U.S. clean energy industry by the end of 2020, down from 3,355,419 in 2019. Weathering the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the industry lost more than 300,000 jobs over the course of the year.

 
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