EPA’s Renewable Fuels Decision Step in Right Direction
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) is cautiously optimistic that the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to release renewable fuel volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016 will allow renewable fuels to surpass 10 percent of the U.S. fuel supply going forward.
197 Nations Unite to Phase Out Potent Greenhouse Gases
The signatories of the Montreal Protocol agreed on November 5, after seven years of discussion, to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of chemicals that can warm the atmosphere up to 12,000 times more than comparable amounts of carbon dioxide. Eliminating HFCs should prevent 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming (0.9 Fahrenheit), a significant amount as the world community seeks to keep global warming below 2 Celsius.
New Ozone Regulations Ignore Tailpipe Exhaust
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) welcomes new ozone standards that will further protect public health from the negative respiratory, developmental, and other health effects of ozone exposure. The new standards, set at 70 ppb (down from 75 ppb), seek to strike a balance between health benefits and compliance costs, although public health groups have argued for a more rigorous standard. In setting the standard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has left out a major contributor to ozone – tailpipe exhaust. Tackling tailpipe exhaust provides the opportunity to further cut ozone emissions without excessive cost.
EESI Welcomes Action on Methane from Oil and Gas Sector
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) welcomes the release today of the Obama administration’s proposed rule to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. The announcement follows the White House’s pledge earlier this year to cut methane emissions from the sector 40 to 45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025. In the proposed rule, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set draft standards for methane emissions from new and modified production, processing, and transmission facilities in the oil and gas sector. The draft standards for existing sources of methane emissions, however, are voluntary.
EESI Welcomes More Ambitious Clean Power Plan
EESI welcomes the Obama Administration’s more ambitious Clean Power Plan, whose final version will be unveiled today according to a White House press release. Drafts of the plans called for reducing carbon emissions by at least 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. The final plan sets the reductions goal at 32 percent. "This is a very big deal," said Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) Executive Director Carol Werner. "An extra 2 points may not sound like much, but they lead to a 6.7 percent more ambitious target. The Administration is clearly trying to push other countries to be similarly ambitious in their carbon reduction goals ahead of the climate change talks in Paris at the end of this year. That’s excellent news.”
EPA Adherence to “Blend Wall” Damages Advanced Fuels
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) regrets that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in releasing renewable fuel volumes for 2014, 2015 and 2016, artificially caps renewable fuels at under 10 percent of the U.S. fuel supply going forward. This will ultimately impair the growth of advanced cellulosic fuels, a nascent but growing sector of the fuels sector.
More Action Needed to Address Health Impacts of Climate Change
On April 7, the White House announced a series of actions to protect communities from the health impacts of climate change. "Many excellent reports, apps, data gathering and educational initiatives were announced,” said Laura Small, a Policy Associate at the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. "We’re pleased to see the President taking action to gather more data about the public health impacts of climate change, and we're particularly excited about the decision to educate new healthcare professionals about climate change health risks. However, we hope the Administration will announce direct actions to shore up the health sector's ability to deal with climate change exacerbated vector-borne diseases, mental health issues, decreased air quality, and physical threats from wildfires and other extreme weather.”
Important Step, Some Missed Opportunities
In a sign that the Obama Administration takes an international climate deal seriously, the White House met the March 31 deadline to submit its plan to cut domestic greenhouse gases, known in U.N. jargon as its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC), to the United Nations Forum Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The U.S. plan represents a critical step in crafting an ambitious, global deal to stop climate change.
EPA Models Could Result in Higher Ozone and Air Toxic Levels
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) commends the EPA for addressing the health effects of ground level ozone in their proposed update to the agency’s ozone air quality standards. However, along with the Urban Air Initiative, the Energy Future Coalition, and the Clean Fuel Development Coalition, EESI cautions that the tools which states are tasked to use in crafting their State Implementation Plans (SIPs) for ozone and other air toxics are flawed. If used by state regulators, these models would force air quality policies and practices that would actually cause ozone and other air toxins levels to increase. Additionally, the role of gasoline aromatic hydrocarbons (gasoline aromatics) in ozone formation are being ignored by the EPA.
Critical First Step in Reducing Methane Emissions
The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) salutes the Obama administration’s decision to tackle methane emissions, a topic recently covered in an EESI Congressional briefing. Methane is a powerful climate warming pollutant – at least 84 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over the first 20 years of its presence in the atmosphere. Because of its potency, reducing methane emissions can reduce the rate of warming substantially in the near term.