By David Leiter, Sarah Litke, Jean Cornell, Bryan Stockton, Jordan Collins and Neal Martin
Renewable electricity standards were the hot topic in Congress last week with the introduction of not one, but two bills establishing such a mandate. On Tuesday, Senators Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Udall (D-CO), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), introduced their Renewable Electricity Standard Act of 2013. The bill, S. 1595, would create a standard of 25 percent renewable energy generation by 2025. The Udall cousins first introduced a version of the 25x25 bill in 2002 and continue to be champions for the issue. The duo also said they were considering adding the proposal as an amendment to the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency package. Two days later, Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced a similar measure, S. 1627. While in the House, he included RES language in bills, including Waxman-Markey, and said during his first speech on the Senate floor that he wished to introduce his own version of an RES bill as well. This Senate will focus this week on issues like healthcare and employment non-discrimination and the House will be in recess next Tuesday.
On the nominations front, the President nominated John Elkind to serve as Assistant Energy Secretary for International Affairs and Joseph Hezir to serve as the Energy Department’s Chief Financial Officer. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee announced last week that it would hold a hearing November 14 to consider the nominations of Steven Croley to serve as Energy Department General Counsel and Christopher Smith to serve as Assistant Energy Secretary for Fossil Energy.
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change talks will begin in Warsaw November 11. On Friday, a blog published the leaked version of the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report on climate change impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability issues. While the findings—which include warnings on how climate change could negatively impact agriculture, human health, and security—will not be finalized until March 2014, it is unclear how the leaked report will impact discussions in Warsaw.