OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Kerry faces colleagues with climate, Keystone questions looming

State of Play: Secretary of State nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), who will lead the Obama administration’s climate diplomacy if confirmed, will appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday for his formal nomination hearing.

E2-Wire will be watching to see if Kerry fields questions on climate change, or the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, a controversial project that’s under State Department review.

Flashback: We reported on Kerry's climate challenges and opportunities at State here.


MORE OF THURSDAY’S AGENDA:

Waxman, Whitehouse plan climate push


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A pair of Capitol Hill Democrats at the forefront of calls for tackling global warming will announce an “initiative” of some sort at a Thursday morning press conference.

California Rep. Henry Waxman, the top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who leads an Oversight panel on the Senate Environment Committee, are behind the effort.

The duo will announce the effort at the Capitol Visitor Center.

White House official to discuss energy’s future

The National Journal and The Atlantic will co-host a morning forum titled “The New Economics of Energy: How Technology and Innovation Are Changing the Way We Power Our Economy.”

Speakers include Brian Deese, deputy director of The White House’s National Economic Council.

The 8:30 a.m. event will be held at Washington, D.C.'s Newseum and webcast here; click here for more info.

Biofuels, health in focus

The Institute of Medicine will begin a two-day conference in Washington, D.C. Thursday on the “Nexus of Biofuels Energy, Climate Change, and Health.”

“The workshop will focus on air, water, land-use, food, and social impacts of biomass feedstock as an energy resource. Invited speakers will present and discuss the state of the science and health policy implications of using different types (and generations) of biofuels as an energy source,” a summary states.

The event will include federal officials, academics and others. Click here for specifics.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:

Check out these stories that ran on E2-Wire Wednesday ...

— Freshman Dem senators quickly join Keystone pipeline push
— Wyden joins three senators in nuclear waste policy group
Kerry to divest oil holdings if he's confirmed for State
— Airlines accused of pocketing EU emission trading fees
— Murkowski to release 'comprehensive' energy blueprint next week
— House Republican fears Obama has ‘boxed himself in’ on Keystone decision
— White House starts review of revised gas ‘fracking’ rule 


NEWS BITES:

Kaptur takes top Democratic Energy and Water appropriations post

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) was named ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee's Energy and Water subcommittee on Wednesday.

The move comes after Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) challenged and defeated Kaptur to serve as ranking member of the full committee. Kaptur was next in line for the lead Democratic slot on the committee.

Kaptur had not previously served on the Energy and Water panel.

Edison Electric Institute spokesman heads to Pepco

The spokesman for a major electric utility industry lobby group is leaving to join Pepco’s communications team.

Dan Riedinger is departing the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). He starts his new position with Pepco on Monday.

“I consider myself truly lucky to have worked with such fabulous and talented people during these many years — within EEI, its member companies and the journalism community,” Riedinger said in a Tuesday email.

API study: College endowment returns on fossil fuel investments nearly triple

College endowment returns on oil-and-gas investments nearly tripled, according to an American Petroleum Institute-commissioned study.

From the Houston Chronicle:

The study traced the returns for 823 colleges and universities, which held $408 billion in oil and natural gas equities. Those investments represented 2.1 percent of the schools’ total endowment assets, but generated 5.7 percent of endowment gains between June 2010 and June 2011.

The report follows on a campaign led by environmental group 350.org that aims to get colleges and universities to divest from fossil fuels.


Please send tips and comments to Ben Geman, ben.geman@thehill.com, and Zack Colman, zcolman@thehill.com.

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