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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Shipping Emissions Standstill, City’s Feed-In Tariff, China Misses 2011 Target

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has yet to come up with a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions from international shipping, after concluding a week of committee-level talks. Discussions on market-based measures will resume in October when the Marine Environment Protection Committee meets again. The EU has threatened to enforce its own shipping regulations if the IMO fails to act, as it has with aviation, Reuters said.

In a move usually taken by national or provincial governments, the city of Palo Alto, Calif., has announced a solar feed-in tariff program within its boundaries, called CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now). The program will unfold over multiple years, but this year it will involve the purchase of up to 4 MW from Palo Alto solar resources. Minimum project size is 100 kW, and the purchase prices the city will pay range from about 12 to 14 cents/kWh per the length of the contract, the city said.

Coffeyville Resources Refining & Marketing (CRRM) has reached an agreement with the EPA and the Department of Justice for allegedly making modifications to its refinery that increased emissions without first obtaining pre-construction permits and installing required pollution control equipment. CRRM will pay a civil penalty of more than $970,000, and invest an additional $10.75 million on new pollution controls and operating costs to resolve alleged violations of air, superfund and community right-to-know laws, the EPA said.

China cut energy intensity for each unit of gross domestic product by 2.01 percent in 2011, but missed its target of 3.5 percent for the year. The country’s head of the National Development and Reform Commission said this was due to a drought that affected hydropower resources, but said China will meet its five-year projection for saving energy and curbing greenhouse gases through 2015, Bloomberg reports.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) announced a new Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) arrangement for clean rural electrification that will allow rural households to swap kerosene lamps and diesel generators for certified emission reduction (CER) credits. Registered projects that install renewable generation technologies in communities with no access to electricity may earn credits if 75 percent of the consumers are households.

Fifty-two senators, most of them Democrats, missed the required mandate of 60 votes to move on with the $160 billion highway bill without a proposed amendment to authorize Keystone XL construction. A deal on the highway bill will depend on stand-alone votes in the Senate on additional amendments including offshore oil drilling and EPA clean air rules, Reuters said.

In a roundup of congressional hearings, The Hill reports that today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee panel will examine rising gas prices at a hearing, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on the U.S. Forest Service budget.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu will speak Thursday during a hearing of a House Energy and Commerce Committee panel to review his department’s fiscal 2013 budget request, but gas prices are also expected to be a topic. Also Thursday, a Commerce Committee panel will review NOAA’s budget.

On Thursday, a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee will look at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission budget. Also Thursday, the panel will look at the budgets of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, The Hill said.

The Department of the Interior hosted policymakers and members of the government science community to discuss an ecosystem-based framework for the Alaska Arctic that would focus on ecological areas that support special wildlife, land or water resources, as well as areas important for local communities, the DOI said.

The Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E) has announced a $150 million fund open to all energy technologies in early-stage research projects that may not otherwise to attract private investment, but could lead to breakthrough energy technologies. Individual awards under the Open FOA will range between $250,000 and $10 million, the agency said.

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