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[Due to the increasing size of the archives, each topic page now contains only the prior 365 days of content. Access to older stories is now solely through the Monthly Archive pages or the site search function.]

Eight energy majors commit to reduce methane emissions within natural gas industry

November 23, 2017

BP, Eni, ExxonMobil, Repsol, Shell, Statoil, Total and Wintershall committed to reduce further methane emissions from the natural gas assets they operate around the world. The energy companies also agreed to encourage others across the natural gas value chain—from production to the final consumer—to do the same.

The commitment was made as part of wider efforts by the global energy industry to ensure that natural gas continues to play a critical role in helping meet future energy demand while addressing climate change. Since natural gas consists mainly of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, its role in the transition to a low-carbon future will be influenced by the extent to which methane emissions are reduced, the partners said.

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Global Carbon Project reports global CO2 emissions suddenly on the rise after 3-year hiatus; need for reducing uncertainties

November 14, 2017

Global emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels have risen again after a three year hiatus, according to new analysis from the Global Carbon Project (GCP). According to the GCP, global emissions from all human activities will reach 41 billion tonnes in 2017, following a projected 2% rise in burning fossil fuels.

The researchers, from major international institutions, highlighted that persistent uncertainties exist in our ability to estimate recent changes in emissions, particularly when there are unexpected changes as in the last few years. They also stressed the importance of addressing that fundamental issue.

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EC proposes 30% CO2 reduction from 2021 to 2030 for light-duty vehicles

November 08, 2017

As part of a newly released Clean Mobility package, the European Commission is proposing a 30% reduction in average CO2 emissions for new cars and vans from 2021 to 2030.

The proposal includes targets both for 2025 and 2030. The 2025 intermediary target of a 15% reduction is intended to kick-start investments immediately. The 2030 target gives stability and long-term direction to keep up these investments. These targets will help push the transition from conventional combustion-engine vehicles to clean ones, the EC said.

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Ports of LA, Long Beach approve 2017 Clean Air Action Plan; targeted GHG reductions; zero-emissions on-road drayage by 2035

November 03, 2017

The governing boards of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach unanimously approved the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP) Update, ushering in a new era of aggressive clean air strategies for moving cargo through the nation’s busiest container port complex. The document provides high-level guidance for accelerating progress toward a zero-emission future while protecting and strengthening the ports’ competitive position in the global economy.

Building on the clean air gains achieved since the ports adopted the CAAP in 2006, the 2017 CAAP is a comprehensive plan for pursuing the ultimate goal of eliminating all harmful air emissions from port-related sources: ships, trucks, cargo handling equipment, locomotives and harbor craft. The estimated cost of implementing the 2017 CAAP ranges from $7 billion to $14 billion.

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UN Environment report says national GHG pledges only bring one-third of reductions needed for Paris Agreement

October 31, 2017

The eighth edition of UN Environment’s Emissions Gap report, released ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, finds that national pledges only bring approximately one-third of the reduction in emissions required by 2030 to meet climate targets, with private sector and sub-national action not increasing at a rate that would help close this gap.

The Paris Agreement looks to limit global warming to under 2 ˚C, with a more ambitious goal of 1.5 ˚C also on the table. If the emissions gap is not closed by 2030, the report says, it is extremely unlikely that the goal of holding global warming to well below 2 ˚C can still be reached. Even if the current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) are fully implemented, the carbon budget for limiting global warming to below 2 ˚C will be about 80% depleted by 2030. Given currently available carbon budget estimates, the available global carbon budget for 1.5 ˚C will already be well depleted by 2030.

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WMO reports GHG concentrations at highest in 800K years

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800,000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization’s Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El Niño event.

Concentrations of CO2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.

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Study finds cities can reduce CO2 more easily from residential conservation than transportation

October 30, 2017

A new study by a team from the University of Pennsylvania and MIT suggests it will be easier for cities to reduce CO2 emissions coming from residential energy use rather than from local transportation. This reduction will happen mostly thanks to better building practices, not greater housing density. The study is published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research.

The study used a series of fixed-ratio projections and scenarios to explore the potential for local residential energy conservation mandates and compact growth programs to reduce locally-based CO2 emissions in eleven representative US metropolitan areas. The modeling showed that averaged across all eleven metros, residential energy conservation mandates could reduce residential CO2 emissions in 2030 by an average of 30% over and above 2010 levels.

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OGCI makes first three investments: Achates Power, Solidia, and gas power with CCS

October 27, 2017

The Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) has made its first three investments, moving forward the organization’s commitments to spur the growth of promising low carbon technologies. (Earlier post.) OGCI Climate Investments is the $1-billion investment fund established last year by OGCI to invest in promising technologies and business models that have the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Launched in 2014, the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative is a voluntary, CEO-led initiative which aims to lead the industry response to climate change. OGCI currently comprises ten oil and gas companies. The three investments are:

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Study: expanding Brazilian sugarcane for ethanol could reduce global CO2 emissions by up to 5.6%

October 24, 2017

Vastly expanding sugarcane production in Brazil for conversion to ethanol could reduce current global CO2 emissions by as much as 5.6%, according to a new study by an international team led by researchers from the University of Illinois.

This would be a massive undertaking, involving the conversion of hundreds of thousands of square miles—at its most ambitious, more than the combined land area of Texas and California—to sugarcane fields. However, it could be accomplished without impinging on environmentally sensitive areas in Brazil and while allowing for the expansion of other agricultural crops and human needs, the researchers report in a paper in the journal Nature Climate Change. The carbon-related costs of converting the land to sugarcane fields were included in the analysis.

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Mayors of 12 major cities pledge to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025; major areas to be zero-emission by 2030

October 23, 2017

The mayors of London, Paris, Los Angeles, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Quito, Vancouver, Mexico City, Milan, Seattle, Auckland and Cape Town have pledged to procure only zero-emission buses from 2025 and ensure that a major area of their city is zero emission by 2030.

The signatories of the C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets Declaration “envision a future where walking, cycling, and shared transport are how the majority of citizens move around our cities.” The cities therefore commit to:

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Global CO2 emissions stalled for the third year in a row

October 21, 2017

The annual assessment of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the JRC and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) confirms that CO2 emissions have stalled for the third year in a row. The report provides updated results on the continuous monitoring of the three main greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O).

Global GHG emissions continue to be dominated by fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, which however show a slowdown trend since 2012, and were stalled for the third year in a row in 2016.

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ICCT study finds GHGs from shipping on the rise

October 20, 2017

Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) from global shipping are on the rise again, according to a new study released by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). Overall, the study found that maritime fuel consumption increased from 291 to 298 million tonnes (+2.4%) from 2013 to 2015, compared to a 7% increase in shipping transport work. Accordingly, CO2 emissions from global shipping (oceangoing vessels, domestic ships, and fishing vessels) increased from 910 to 932 million tonnes over the same period.

The report notes that these increases in GHG emissions are being driven by the rising demand for shipping and, as a result—despite improvements in operational efficiency for many ship classes—by the increased consumption of fossil fuels.

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Global Mobility Report finds world not on track to achieving sustainable mobility

October 19, 2017

The transport sector is not on track towards achieving sustainable mobility, according to the newly published Global Mobility Report 2017 (GMR). The GMR is the first study to assess the global performance of the transport sector and the progress made toward four main objectives: universal access, efficiency, safety, and green mobility. The publication covers all modes of transport, including road, air, waterborne, and rail transport. The report was produced by the Sustainable Mobility for All initiative (SuM4All)—a worldwide consortium of more than 50 leading organizations in the transport sector.

According to the report, apart from being inaccessible to many of the world’s most vulnerable, the transport sector today is plagued by high fossil fuel use, rising greenhouse gas emissions, air and noise pollution, an alarming number of road fatalities, and a reluctance to embrace digitalization.

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EPA proposes repeal of Obama Clean Power Plan

October 10, 2017

As anticipated, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), proposing to repeal the Clean Power Plan (CPP). Released in 2015 by the Obama Administration EPA, the CPP established the first national standards to limit CO2 emissions from fossil-fuel-fired power plants (Electric Generating Units, EGUs), with a target of a 32% reduction against a 2005 baseline by 2030. (Earlier post.)

The Trump Administration EPA has proposed to determine that the Obama-era regulation exceeds its statutory authority. EPA has now sent the NPRM to the Federal Register for publication. Upon publication, the public will have 60 days to submit comments.

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EIA: US energy-related CO2 emissions down 1.7% in 2016; carbon intensity of economy down 3.1%; transportation emissions up

October 06, 2017

US energy-related CO2 emissions decreased by 89 million metric tons (MMmt), from 5,259 MMmt in 2015 to 5,170 MMmt in 2016. Although real gross domestic product (GDP) increased 1.5% over that period, other factors contributing to energy-related CO2 emissions more than offset the growth in GDP, leading to a 1.7% decline in energy-related CO2, according to the latest report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA).

These contributing factors included a decline in the carbon intensity of the energy supply (CO2/British thermal units [Btu]) of 1.7% along with a 1.4% decline in energy intensity of the economy (Btu/GDP). Combining these two factors, the overall carbon intensity of the economy (CO2/GDP) declined by 3.1%.

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ExxonMobil expands methane emissions reduction program

September 26, 2017

ExxonMobil announced an enhanced program to reduce methane emissions from its production and midstream facilities across the United States. The program prioritizes actions at sites operated by subsidiary XTO Energy and includes efforts to develop and deploy new, more efficient technologies to detect and reduce facility emissions.

Methane detection and repair relies on a technical-mechanical-professional collaboration to ensure the best results. There is no one solution, and finding the next emission-reduction opportunities requires investment today. The newly announced methane emission reduction program at XTO Energy will build on practices already in place. The new steps include:

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California Legislature passes $1.5B California Clean Air Initiative to cut emissions; $895M for mobile sources

September 19, 2017

The California state legislature has passed a set of bills (AB 134 and AB 109) providing $895 million towards programs that will reduce air pollution from mobile sources which are responsible for 40% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Titled the “California Clean Air Initiative,” the bills will invest the bulk of available discretionary revenue (the 40% of cap-and-trade revenue not previously allocated by statute) through incentives to replace old, high-polluting diesel engines in heavy trucks and buses; provide rebates to help low- and middle-income families purchase new and used zero-emission vehicles; and promote zero-emission car-sharing and agricultural van pool programs, among others. The Clean Air Initiative marks the single largest investment in clean air in state history.

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Berkeley Lab copper catalyst yields high-efficiency CO2-to-fuels conversion

Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed a new electrocatalyst that can directly convert carbon dioxide into multicarbon fuels and alcohols using record-low inputs of energy. The work is the latest in a round of studies coming out of Berkeley Lab tackling the challenge of creating a clean chemical manufacturing system that can put carbon dioxide to good use.

In the new study, being published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team led by Berkeley Lab scientist Peidong Yang discovered that an electrocatalyst made up of copper nanoparticles provided the conditions necessary to break down carbon dioxide to form ethylene, ethanol, and propanol.

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European auto industry proposes further 20% cut in passenger car CO2 by 2030 from 2021; conditional on EV uptake and infrastructure; no ZEV mandate

September 13, 2017

At the Frankfurt Motor Show, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) outlined the industry’s proposal for a pathway to future CO2 reductions: a 20% CO2 reduction for passenger cars by 2030, compared to 2021. The European Commission will reveal its proposal on CO2 targets for cars post-2021 later this year.

The ACEA said that this target should be conditional on the real market uptake of electrically-chargeable vehicles and the availability of charging infrastructure for alternatively-powered vehicles which are crucial to achieve any significant CO2 reductions beyond 2020 levels. Based on a mid-term review in 2025, this target could be adjusted either upwards or downwards.

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Digging into the differences in carbon accounting for biofuels

August 24, 2017

The benefit to the climate of using biofuels as a substitute for fossil fuels has been sharply contested for years; much of the disagreement is based on the assumptions underlying the carbon accounting in the lifecycle analysis. The argument essentially boils down to whether or not biofuels are inherently carbon neutral because the CO2 released when they are burned is derived from CO2 uptake during feedstock growth.

A paper and subsequent formal comments and responses in the journal Climatic Change highlights the conceptual differences and the impact on policy. Professor John DeCicco at the University of Michigan Energy Institute has grown increasingly critical of the lifecycle analysis methods used to justify and administer biofuel policies. In a 2016 open-access paper in Climatic Change, he and his colleagues argued that once estimates for process emissions and displacement effects including land-use change are considered, US biofuel use to date is associated with a net increase rather than a net decrease in CO2 emissions. (earlier post)

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EPA to revisit trailer and glider provisions of Phase 2 GHG and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines

August 20, 2017

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to revisit provisions of the Phase 2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Fuel Efficiency Standards for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Engines, citing “concerns” raised by stakeholders in the trailer and glider industry.

In September 2011, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel efficiency standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles for model year 2014-2018 (“Phase 1”). (Earlier post.) These standards applied to newly manufactured engines, tractors, vocational vehicles, large pickups, and vans. In October 2016, EPA and NHTSA jointly updated the standards for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles MY 2021-2027 (“Phase 2”), and regulated trailers and gliders—for the first time under the GHG program—with compliance deadlines beginning in 2018. (Earlier post.)

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California ARB approves cap-and-trade amendments; linking with Ontario

July 28, 2017

Following more than 18 months of review and public comment, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved amendments to the state’s cap-and-trade program that improve its implementation and the state’s effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The amendments also establish a framework for the program’s annual limits on greenhouse gas emissions beyond 2020, to be revised in a subsequent, public rulemaking process to reflect the requirements of AB 398.

The Board action includes adopting amendments that have been in development since late 2015, and were first heard by the Board in September 2016. The amendments include linking with Ontario, which launched its own cap-and-trade program earlier this year. The Canadian province is expected to link with California’s program in 2018, becoming the second jurisdiction to join California following Quebec in 2014. Additionally, the Oregon legislature is considering a measure to establish a cap-and-trade system that is compatible with California’s.

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ifo Institute study projects ban on combustion engines in 2030 would affect 600K jobs in German manufacturing

July 18, 2017

In Germany, legislation banning permits for new cars and light trucks with internal combustion engines as of 2030 is currently under consideration. A new study by the ifo Institute projects that such a ban could lead to significant losses in terms of jobs and added value in Germany. More than 600,000 jobs, or 10%, of jobs in German in manufacturing would currently be directly or indirectly affected by a ban. In the automotive industry alone a ban would endanger 436,000 jobs, while up to 130,000 jobs at small and medium-sized companies would be at risk.

Such a ban would also impact a total of 13% (amounting to around €48 billion) of gross value added. The study was commissioned by the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA).

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France launches new climate plan; Euro 7 lead; targeting ending the sale of vehicles emitting GHGs by 2040

July 07, 2017

Nicolas Hulot, France’s new minister responsible for environment and energy, presented the country’s new climate plan at a press conference at the Ministry. Prepared at the request of the President and the Prime Minister, the climate action plan is divided into six main themes: render the Paris Agreement irreversible; improve the daily life of the French; end the use of fossil energy and engage in carbon neutrality; make France the Nº 1 green economy; encourage the potential of ecosystems and agriculture; and intensify international mobilization on climate diplomacy.

Among the many actions outlined in the plan is the targeting of ending the sale of cars emitting greenhouse gases (“gaz à effet de serre”) by 2040. (The plan at this current level of detail does not specify whether or not that is tailpipe emissions or full lifecycle emissions, factoring in upstream for electric vehicles.) France also intends to initiate an ambitious (“ambitieuse”) Euro 7 standard at the European level.

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Study finds fleet switch from PFI to GDI engines will result in net reduction in global warming

May 12, 2017

A new study quantifying emissions from a fleet of gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines and port fuel injection (PFI) engines finds that the measured decrease in CO2 emissions from GDIs is much greater than the potential climate forcing associated with higher black carbon emissions from GDI engines. Thus, the researchers concluded, switching from PFI to GDI vehicles will likely lead to a reduction in net global warming.

The study, by a team of researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Georgia, Aerodyne Research, California Air Resources Board (ARB), Ohio State University, UC Berkeley, and UC San Diego is published in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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California Assembly weighing integrating air pollution performance into GHG cap-and-trade

April 27, 2017

The California Assembly is considering a bill (AB-378) that would integrate air quality performance into the state’s greenhouse-gas (GHG) cap-and- trade program. Assembly Bill 378 was proposed by by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who heads the Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources. CNR passed the proposal on Monday.

This bill creates a framework for grading industrial facilities’ air quality performance and creating a uniform air pollution standard that facilities must meet to receive allocation of free allowances from the California Air Resources Board (ARB) beginning in 2021.

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GWU team demonstrates one-pot process for optimized synthesis of controlled CNTs from CO2; coupling cement and C2CNT

March 27, 2017

Researchers at George Washington University led by Dr. Stuart Licht (earlier post) have developed a new process that transforms CO2 into a controlled selection of nanotubes (CNTs) via molten electrolysis; they call the process C2CNT (CO2 into carbon nanotubes). This synthesis consumes only CO2 and electricity, and is constrained only by the cost of electricity.

Controlling the electrolysis parameters opens up a wide portfolio of CNT morphologies, including hollow or solid, thick- or thin-walled and doped CNTs. Molten carbonate electrosynthesized boron-doped CNTs exhibit high electrical conductivity. The process is described in a paper published in the Journal of CO2 Utilization. In a second paper in that journal, the team reports on the uses of C2CNT to retrofit cement plants. Per ton CO2 avoided, the C2CNT cement plant consumes $50 electricity, emits no CO2, and produces $100 cement and ∼$60,000 of CNTs.

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EIA: US energy-related CO2 dropped 2.7% in 2015; of end-use sectors, only transportation increased

According to a report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US energy-related CO2 emissions decreased by 146 million metric tons (MMmt) in 2015 to 5,259 MMmt, down 2.7% from 5,405 MMmt in 2014. This decline occurred despite growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.6% as other factors more than offset the growth in GDP. Energy-related CO2 emissions in 2015 were about 12% below 2005 levels.

These factors included a decline in the carbon intensity of the energy supply (CO2/British thermal units [Btu]) of 1.8%; and a 3.4% decline in energy intensity (Btu/GDP). Of the four end-use sectors, only transportation emissions increased in 2015 (+2.1%).

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California ARB votes to move forward with light-duty vehicle GHG and ZEV programs through 2025; cranking it up post-2025

March 25, 2017

After considering the Advanced Clean Cars Midterm Review (earlier post), the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously on Friday to continue with the vehicle greenhouse gas emission standards and ZEV program for cars and light trucks sold in California through 2025. The action ensures that California and 12 other states that follow its vehicle regulations—one third of the US auto market—will move forward the greenhouse gas emission standards adopted in the 2012 process involving the federal government, California and the automakers.

The Board also voted to support the expansion of the ZEV marketplace before 2025, calling for redoubling current efforts underway to support market growth and paving the way for new regulations to increase rapidly the number of zero-emission vehicles required to be sold in California after 2025.

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IRENA, IEA study concludes meeting 2˚C scenario possible with net positive economics

March 20, 2017

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 70% by 2050 and completely phased-out by 2060 with a net positive economic outlook, according to new findings released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy Transition—a joint study by IRENA and the IEA—launched on the occasion of the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, presents the case that increased deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency in G20 countries and globally can achieve the emissions reductions needed to keep global temperature rise to no more than two-degrees Celsius, avoiding the most severe impacts of climate change.

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IEA finds CO2 emissions flat for third straight year even as global economy grew in 2016

March 18, 2017

Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew, according to the International Energy Agency. The data signal a continuing decoupling of emissions and economic activity. This was the result of growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency, as well as structural changes in the global economy.

Global emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatonnes last year, the same as the previous two years, while the global economy grew 3.1%, according to estimates from the IEA. Carbon dioxide emissions declined in the United States and China, the world’s two-largest energy users and emitters, and were stable in Europe, offsetting increases in most of the rest of the world.

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EPA re-opens Mid-Term Evaluation Process for light-duty vehicle greenhouse gas standards 2022-2025

March 15, 2017

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced that EPA intends to reconsider its final determination issued on 12 January 2017 which recommended no change to the greenhouse gas standards for light duty vehicles for model years 2022- 2025. (Earlier post.) EPA will reconsider that determination in coordination with NHTSA as part of a renewed Mid-Term Evaluation process.

This process was established as a part of the 2012 final greenhouse gas emissions standards for model years 2017-2025, requiring EPA to determine no later than 1 April 2018 whether the greenhouse gas standards for model years 2022-2025 established are appropriate. In coordination with EPA, the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is evaluating its fuel economy standards for that period. In accord with this schedule, the EPA intends to make a new Final Determination regarding the appropriateness of the standards no later than 1 April 2018.

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Auto Alliance urges EPA to withdraw premature Final Determination on light-duty GHG regulations, resume Midterm Evaluation process with NHTSA

February 23, 2017

The Auto Alliance has sent a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt requesting that the US Environmental Protection Agency withdraw the Final Determination on the Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards under the Midterm Evaluation which EPA announced on 13 January 2017. (Earlier post.)

It its letter, the Alliance argues that by rushing to issue the Final Determination (which maintains the current GHG standards as defined through 2025) in January 2017, EPA abrogated its commitment to a robust Midterm Evaluation of the standards in coordination with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is conducting its own midterm review of the fuel economy standards through 2025. Furthermore, the Alliance argues, EPA never published the final rules in the Federal Register. The Alliance is not arguing for a rollback of standards; instead, it is arguing for a resumption of the original Midterm Evaluation timetable (to which NHTSA appears to be adhering), that would result in findings by April 2018.

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Study finds transport, residential heating main sources of black carbon in Russian Arctic

February 04, 2017

According to a new international study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 38% of black carbon in the Russian Arctic originates from transport and 35% from residential heating sources, while open fires, power plants, and gas flaring are responsible for only 12%, 9%, and 6% respectively. These estimates confirm previous work for some areas of the European Arctic, but for Siberia, the findings differ from previous research, which had suggested that contribution from gas flaring were much higher.

Black carbon, or soot, increases snow and ice melt by dulling the reflective surface and increasing the absorption of sunlight. Researchers say this is one reason that Arctic regions have warmed faster than any other area on the planet, with average temperatures there today over 4 °C higher than the 1968-1996 average, according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA). Black carbon may also be contributing to the steep decline in summer Arctic sea ice coverage in recent decades.

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California ARB releases discussion draft of plan to cut GHG by 40% by 2030

December 02, 2016

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) released its initial draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990 levels by 2030—the most ambitious target in North America. The 2030 Target Scoping Plan Discussion Draft builds on the state’s efforts to reach its more immediate goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 and outlines the most effective ways to reach the new 2030 goal, including continuing California’s Cap-and-Trade program.

In his January 2015 inaugural address, California Governor Jerry Brown identified five key climate change strategy “pillars,” which recognize that several major areas of the California economy will need to reduce their emissions to meet California’s ambitious climate change goals. These five pillars are:

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California Air Resources Board posts revised draft of strategy to reduce “Super Pollutants”

November 29, 2016

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has posted a revised draft of California’s proposed Short-Lived Climate Pollutant (SLCP) Strategy. SLCPs are a category of pollutants which remain in the atmosphere for a relatively brief period, but have global warming potentials that are much higher than those of CO2. SLCPs may account for an estimated 40% of global warming, increasing the impacts of climate change.

SLCPs include black carbon (soot), methane and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—the fastest-growing source of GHG emissions in California and globally—which are used as refrigerants, aerosol propellants and insulation.

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