Policy & Enforcement Briefing: NO2 Standards, HCFCs, Product Efficiency

by | Dec 27, 2013

China will impose stricter standards on the cement, battery, leather and heavy metal industries, including a requirement to control at least 60 percent of nitrogen dioxide emissions, the country’s environment ministry said today. China is the world’s biggest producer and exporter of batteries, and produced 56 percent of global cement last year, Reuters reports. Earlier this week, the country reported that it is struggling to meet several key environmental goals for 2011-2015, due to rapid economic growth.

UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has appointed former Ghanaian president John Kufour and former Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg as special envoys on climate change. The two will help Ban consult with world leaders at the 2014 Climate Summit in New York in September.

Israel plans to cut use of oil for transportation by 60 percent by 2025, in part by tapping into newly discovered natural gas deposits, under a plan announced by the prime minister’s office, Reuters reports. The country is also investing in startups developing battery and biofuel technologies, as part of its 10-year, 1.5 billion shekel ($430 million) Fuel Choices Initiative, and is offering an annual $1 million prize for innovative developments in those fields.

President Obama enacted the US-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement, as part of the budget bill that he signed into law this week. The agreement establishes a framework for US offshore oil and gas companies and Mexico’s Pemex to jointly develop transboundary reservoirs.

The Chemical Facility Safety and Security Working Group has launched a pilot to test ways of sharing information about the storage of dangerous chemicals, according to an initial progress report by the group, The Hill reports. Obama established the group in the wake of the April fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, and the panel missed a deadline to identify safety measures by November 1.

BP failed to convince U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier that companies trying to recover monetary damages from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill should give proof that the spill caused their losses, the Washington Post reports. BP has complained about “fictitious” compensation claims.

Chevron Corp. appealed on Monday to Ecuador’s highest court, the Constitutional Court, to cancel the $9.5 billion fine against the company for pollution in the Amazon rainforest. The country’s National Court of Justice upheld a 2011 verdict in the case last month.

The Department of the Interior has sided with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and rejected a deal between the state of Alaska and the indigenous Aleut people, which would have permitted an emergency road through the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, Reuters reports. Interior’s refusal follows a four-year environmental analysis, as well as congressional and White House approval of the plan, which would have set aside 61,000 acres for conservation in exchange for permission to build the road.

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