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THE PARIS CLIMATE DEAL WAS NEVER ENOUGH TO SAVE THE WORLD, SAYS THE UN: A major new climate report released by the United Nations on Sunday night concludes that a "rapid and far-reaching" transition in world energy use by 2030 is needed to stave off the worst effects of a 1.5-degree rise in the global temperature.

The report, the product of a week of deliberations in South Korea on confronting climate change, is meant to spur governments to up the goals of the Paris climate change accord, which only sought to limit global warming by 2 degrees.

The report underscores the effects the world is already experiencing as a result of a 1-degree Celsius rise in the global temperature above pre-industrial levels.

“Limiting warming to 1.5 [degree Celsius] is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics, but doing so would require unprecedented changes,” said Jim Skea, co-chair of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group III, in a statement.

President Trump said his decision to exit the Paris climate accord was based on its imposition of "harsh economic restrictions" on U.S. citizens.

Read John’s full story on the release here.

Welcome to Daily on Energy, compiled by Washington Examiner Energy and Environment Writers John Siciliano (@JohnDSiciliano) and Josh Siegel (@SiegelScribe). Email for tips, suggestions, calendar items and anything else. If a friend sent this to you and you’d like to sign up, click here. If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list.  

IEA CHIEF ISSUES WARNING ABOUT RISING EMISSIONS: Coinciding with the release of the U.N. report, Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency, warned late Sunday that global emissions are rising again this year.

“We expect energy-related CO2 emissions will increase again in 2018 after growing in 2017,”  Birol wrote in a Twitter post. “This will bring us further away from long-term climate goals. The world is not moving towards Paris Agreement goals requiring emissions to peak as soon as possible, but away from them.”

Global carbon dioxide emissions from energy use rose 1.6 percent in 2017 after three years of relatively flat change.

BUT RENEWABLES ARE ON THE RISE: Renewables will make up more than 70 percent of the world’s new electricity capacity added to the grid over the next five years, the IEA said in a report Monday, led by solar power.

In that same time, the IEA projects 40 percent of total global energy growth to come from renewables.

Renewables will provide almost 30 percent of the world’s electricity in 2023, up from 24 percent in 2017.

The trends are not enough: “While renewables have been growing strongly, their growth isn’t large enough to reverse CO2 emissions trends. We need more renewables in all end-uses – including more bioenergy - more energy efficiency & a range of other technologies & fuel sources to correct this course,” Birol said in a tweet.

A big future for bioenergy: The report especially highlights the importance of bioenergy.

It says bioenergy will have the biggest growth of all renewables between 2018 and 2023, because of its widespread use in heating and transportation, sectors in which other renewables currently play a much smaller role.

It is already the world’s most consumed renewable energy source, making up about 50 percent of the total, as much as hydro, wind, solar and all others renewables combined.

“Modern bioenergy is the overlooked giant of the renewable energy field,” Birol said.

GREENS PUT PRESSURE ON BIG BANKS TO SCRAP CREDIT FOR PIPELINES: A number of prominent environmental groups launched a campaign on Monday to get investment banks JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Credit Agricole to end their financing of pipeline companies TransCanada and Enbridge.

The campaign -- led by the Sierra Club, Rainforest Action Day and others -- argued in an open letter to the banks that their nearly $4 billion in credit lines to the companies violate indigenous people’s rights by financing the tar sands pipeline companies in Canada.

Their letter warns banks to avoid the “reputational and financial risk” of supporting the companies that build the pipelines, “which is incompatible with achieving the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement and respecting human rights.”

TRUMP'S COAL BAILOUT MOVES TO THE BACK BURNER: Trump’s plan to save uneconomic coal and nuclear plants is showing signs of being relegated to a backburner priority, especially in the wake of conservative, free-market groups lashing back against it, say industry sources.

“Last I heard this week the bailout push is on the backburner,” Devin Hartman, the former head of electricity policy at the free-market R-Street Institute, told John. “The [White House] has pumped the breaks on it as conservative groups have come to strongly oppose it.”

Hartman is the incoming president and CEO of the Electricity Consumers Resource Council, representing large industry electricity users, which is part of an industry coalition that opposes the Trump grid plan to essentially provide subsidies to coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

Wrestling with legal questions: Other industry sources have said recently that the White House has also been struggling with the legal justification for the plan, as well as questioning whether there is a real need for the plan to make the grid more resilient.

The White House did not return emails to respond to the idea of the grid plan being on hiatus.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry told a roundtable of reporters last month that his agency has completed all its work on the plan, and that it was now up to the White House to make a decision.

Trump stops talking about it in coal country: A sign that the plan may be slipping from the agenda came when Trump visited West Virginia at the end of September.

In the Mountaineer State in August, Trump had suggested that he had a nebulous “military plan” in the works to save coal.

But when he arrived in West Virginia two weekends ago, there was no reference to anything close to a military plan. He instead referenced supporting transmission lines and coal exports. There had been speculation that he would roll out the coal plan while in West Virginia.

Katie Tubb, energy and environmental analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that she tends to think that the administration may be dragging its feet for some reason, because it has been all summer and there is still nothing, yet.

TRUMP ISSUES RARE ORDER TO DEVELOP ADVANCED ENERGY FUEL CELLS: Trump took the unusual step Friday of issuing an order to define the production of an advanced energy technology essential to national security.

Trump used his authority under the Cold War-era law known as the Defense Production Act “that the development of and the purchase of equipment and materials needed for alane fuel cells are essential to the national defense,” according to the order released by the White House.

So, what’s an alane fuel cell? Fuel cells use a chemical process to produce electricity, rather than burning a fuel. They do this with very little emissions, and are more efficient in their use of fuel than just about any other energy technology.

Former President George W. Bush famously made hydrogen fuel cell cars a key part of his energy agenda to wean the nation from its “addiction to oil.” Toyota currently markets and sells the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell sedan.

But alane (or, aluminum hydride) fuel cells represent the next level in the technology by solving a key part of the puzzle in the feasibility of these devices -- storing fuel.

“Alane, or aluminum hydride (AlH3), is considered by experts to be one of the most versatile, energy-rich fuels,” says the company Ardica that makes the fuel cells. “But until recently, it has been too expensive and difficult to produce. Until now.”

So, why is Trump interested? The fuel cells are crucial to keeping soldiers with electricity without carrying hundreds of pounds of batteries with them into the field and combat. Given the modern soldier’s need for computers and digital devices in combat, cutting the weight of batteries has been a key concern.

The Defense Production Act gives the president the authority to make the development of certain technologies a priority. The Department of Defense is currently the only agency with the capability to execute the president’s authorities under the 1950s law, while other agencies can partner with the Defense Department to address their needs.

Saving coal power plants: The administration has also been weighing the use of the Defense Production Act to order uneconomic coal and nuclear power plants not to close as a matter of national security. However, it is currently unclear whether Trump will act on that idea.

The president’s order of fuel cells could provide a glimpse into that decision, where the White House may see its power under the defense law as limited to those that pertain directly to the military.

Coal power plants may be a bridge too far in making that argument, unless tied directly to the function of one or more key military installations. But with most of the country switching to natural gas and renewables for electricity, finding military bases completely dependent on coal is unlikely.

KAVANAUGH BRINGS SKEPTICAL VIEW OF CLIMATE REGULATIONS TO SUPREME COURT: New Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh is generally skeptical of far-reaching environmental regulations, his decisions and writing show.

But conservatives who favor a deregulatory approach at EPA should not expect Kavanaugh to automatically vote in their favor, experts say.

“Kavanaugh is temperamentally and philosophically skeptical about the exercise of government power, especially when agencies act expansively, and find new powers in longstanding laws,” Jody Freeman, the founding director of the Harvard Law School Environmental and Energy Law Program, recently told Josh.

“But I don’t think his pick means it’s open season for deregulation,” Freeman added.

What the record says, and what it tells us: Kavanaugh, however, has voted to invalidate some major EPA pollution rules in dissents on the

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, and supports strong judicial oversight in reviewing the actions of administrative agencies, experts say.

That means he would likely favor the Trump administration EPA’s narrow approach to regulating carbon from coal power plants. The EPA’s so-called “ACE” rule is going through public comment now, and will be fought in court.

Read more about Kavanaugh’s environmental record here.

ANOTHER HURRICANE COULD HIT THE US THIS WEEK, TARGETING THE GULF COAST: Forecasters expect a hurricane to make landfall in Florida later this, forcing Gov. Rick Scott to declare an emergency in parts of the state in the path of the storm.

Tropical Storm Michael formed Sunday morning in the Caribbean Sea and is expected to make landfall later this week as a Category 2 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center’s Monday morning advisory.

Scott, a Republican, suspended his Senate campaign Sunday night after issuing an order for a state of emergency for 26 counties in the Florida Panhandle and the Big Bend area.

The impact of the storm could be felt across portions of the northern Gulf Coast, including coastal Alabama and Mississippi.

“This storm will be life-threatening and extremely dangerous,” Scott warned during a Sunday afternoon briefing. “This storm has the potential to bring devastating impacts to the Panhandle and Big Bend and every family must be prepared.”

Michael is the 13th named tropical storm or hurricane of the 2018 Atlantic hurricane season, coming weeks after Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas.

Last year, the trio of Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma caused a combined $268 billion in damage, according to Moody’s, making it the most expensive hurricane season in decades.

TWO AMERICANS WIN NOBEL PRIZE FOR CLIMATE CHANGE WORK: Two American economists, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, on Monday received the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics for their work incorporating the impact of climate change in economic forecasts.

“Human activity has contributed to the rapid increases in average global temperatures over the last 100 years. 2018 Economic Sciences laureate William Nordhaus’ research shows how economic activity interacts with basic chemistry and physics to produce climate change,” said a post to the Nobel Prize Twitter account.

In the 1990s, Nordhaus helped create a model that calculates the economic costs of climate change. The EPA uses a variant of Nordhaus’ approach, known as the Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy Model. He was an early advocate of a carbon tax, which many economists say is the most efficient way to reduce emissions.

R STREET NAMES NEW DIRECTOR OF ENERGY POLICY: The R Street Institute announced Monday it hired Travis Kavulla as director of energy and environmental policy,

Kavulia is currently vice president of the Montana Public Service Commission, to which he was first elected in 2010. He was also a former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners

Kavulla, R Street notes, has been an advocate for competition in electricity markets, and has been outspoken against the Trump administration’s plan to subsidize failing coal and nuclear plants.

“I am excited to lead the R Street team through what has become an increasingly complex, highly regulated energy policy landscape,” Kavulia said. “It is essential that the conservative movement field people who actually understand the detail of energy regulation. In this respect, I cannot have asked for a better home than this organization.”

He starts work in January, and will be based in Washington D.C.


New York Times Why a half degree of global warming is a big deal

Bloomberg Climate change will get worse. These investors are betting on it.

Quartz A Swiss startup will turn carbon dioxide into stone—for a price

SPONSOR MESSAGE: Interested in learning more about pipelines and the important role they play in the energy industry? Check out this clip on the remediation process and monitoring during pipeline operation.



MONDAY | October 8

Federal government closed in observance of Columbus Day.

TUESDAY | October 9

10 a.m., 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW. The Brookings Institution holds a discussion on "China's Environmental Agenda: Local Tolls and Global Goals."

Noon, The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine issues "Review of the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan: Report Three."  

WEDNESDAY | October 10

9 a.m., 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE. The Global America Business Institute, Sasakawa Peace Foundation USA, and the Heritage Foundation present forum on nuclear power called the “Multinational Nuclear Supplier Partnerships within the OECD: Ensuring Relevance and Competitiveness in the Global Nuclear Power Market.”

FRIDAY | October 12

Noon, 2322 Rayburn. Securing America’s Future Energy holds a lunchtime briefing on the Hill to discuss the importance of fuel economy standards and the steps the EPA and NHTSA can take to modernize the rules in a way that will save lives, reduce oil consumption, and strengthen American energy security.

SUNDAY | October 14

All day, New Delhi. One of largest energy conference in the U.S., CERAWeek, is holding its second annual energy forum in India, October 14-16. Featured speakers will include: Saudi energy minister Khalid Al-Falih, OPEC ministers, and U.S. Energy Undersecretary Mark Menezes.