Policy & Enforcement Briefing: World Future Energy Summit, China Carbon Trading, Obama’s Jobs Council

by | Jan 18, 2012

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At the Abu Dhabi opening of World Future Energy Summit, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon laid out three core goals for 2030 in his launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All campaign: to ensure universal access to modern energy services; to double the rate of improvement of energy efficiency; and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. The global sustainable energy expansion is a mandate of the UN General Assembly.

Increased focus on emerging markets will be an important area of focus for the renewables industry in the next years in order to maintain growth, according to industry leaders at the World Future Energy Summit. As well, industry leaders see a need for continued investment into research and development, and well as an investment into education to attract top minds that will support technological developments.

In China, the National Development and Reform Commission ordered the cities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Shenzhen, and the provinces of Hubei and Guangdong to launch and run pilot carbon trading platforms, and develop implementation programs for broader use as China aims to hit 17 percent reduction marks in the 2011-2015 timeframe, Reuters reports.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the European Commission are launching a $6.7 million agricultural partnership with Malawi, Viet Nam and Zambia for a climate-smart approach to agriculture. The project aims to transition the countries’ farming systems with practices that best endure climate change, reduce emissions, fight hunger and poverty, and increase agriculture’s potential to capture and sequester atmospheric carbon, the UN News Centre reports.

President Obama’s Jobs Council released its year-end report, which supported an energy policy that includes expanded oil-and-gas drilling as well as expediting energy projects that deliver electricity and fuel. The report did not mention the Keystone Xl by name, and the White House clarified that the jobs council report does not endorse the Keystone pipeline, writes The Hill.

Onshore oil and gas lease sales on public lands in 2011 have yielded a 20 percent increase in lease sale revenues over 2010 – or about $256 million in public revenue, the DOI said. During 2011, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held 32 onshore oil and gas lease sales covering about 4.4 million acres and sold 1,296 parcels of land. Its first sale of 2012 is Thursday in Charleston, West Virginia.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has voted unanimously on a so-called loading order which requires utilities meet customer demand first with energy efficiency and conservation, followed by renewables, and then fossil-fuel power once the other alternatives are exhausted. The decision also halts the current practice of turning from sustainable resources once state-required minimum targets are met, writes North American Windpower.

The Department of Interior and California have agreed to expand the Renewable Energy Policy Group’s (REPG) work to expedite review and processing of renewable power projects. The agreement will include transmission projects and bring in new partners. Since 2009, the group’s actions have brought 130 renewable power projects to the state, the DOI said.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie halted a bill proposing changes to the state’s energy industry with his concerns about how much solar power the proposal demands from utilities. Christie suggested lower solar energy mandates and the removal of the industry’ exemptions from oversight on new solar projects. The governor seeks to maintain some level of support for the industry’s growth, but assure protection of open space, agricultural and forest lands, according to NorthJersey.com.

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