Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Green Climate Fund, Basel Amendment, Roadless Rule
A United Nations committee has completed the draft design of a Green Climate Fund that would send $100 billion per year by 2020 to assist developing countries in lowering greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reported. Negotiators will consider whether to approve the design at next month’s U.N. climate summit in Durban, South Africa.
Basel Convention countries Canada, Australia, Japan and India have dropped their opposition and agreed to a vote on giving the Basel Ban Amendment the force of law, according to an announcement from the Basel Action Network. The Amendment, which prohibits exports of hazardous wastes to developing countries, has been stalled, but the agreement allows it to be adopted when 68 of the original 90 parties to the convention vote to ratify. The U.S. is not a party to the convention, but supporters hope it will feel diplomatic pressure to accept the ban if it is ratified.
A federal appeals court has upheld the so-called “roadless rule” which bars road construction, logging and energy exploration on 50 million of acres of National Forest, The Hill reported. Industry groups and Wyoming challenged the Clinton-era rule, while conservation groups, California, Oregon and Washington defended it in court. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, the top Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, criticized the decision, saying that Congress should block the regulation.
The EPA announced that it has issued final air permits to Shell for oil drilling in Alaska’s Beaufort and Chukchi Seas beginning in 2012. The agency said the permits limit Shell’s emissions of most air pollutants to less than 250 tons per year, the maximum threshold in the Clean Air Act’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration provisions.
China will establish energy consumption quotas soon, Reuters reported. An official with the country’s National Energy Administration said the regional quotas will exclude hydro, wind and solar power.
Beijing slammed a demand by the U.S. solar industry for high tariffs on Chinese manufactured solar panels, The New York Times reported. The statement from the Chinese commerce ministry called on the U.S. to reject “protectionism” that could harm the global economy and slow efforts to combat global climate change.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved BP’s first exploration plan for drilling new wells in the Gulf of Mexico since the massive oil spill in 2010, Reuters reported. BP will still need to apply for permits to drill the individual wells proposed in the plan. Some would be at depths of 6,000 feet, deeper than BP’s disastrous Macondo well.
Some energy companies are considering pulling out of shale gas exploration in New York state because the state’s proposed drilling rules place off limits so many lands under lease, Reuters reported. The state recently ended a drilling ban, but imposed far stricter rules to protect surface waters than neighboring Pennsylvania.
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