Overnight Energy & Environment

Overnight Energy: Biden clean electricity standard faces high hurdles | Appeals court agrees to pause lawsuit over Trump-era emissions rule | US, UAE say they'll invest in Middle East decarbonization

WEREN'T WE JUST HERE? Welcome to Overnight Energy, your source for the day's energy and environment news.

Today, a major Biden administration campaign promise on clean power has a fight ahead of it; a lawsuit over a Trump administration emissions rule is on hold; and John Kerry talks decarbonization in the Middle East.

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IN CHARGE: Biden clean electricity standard faces high hurdles

President Biden is doubling down on a campaign promise to achieve a carbon-free power sector by 2035 with his $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan.

The plan would achieve the carbon-free goal by setting a clean electricity standard, which would require power providers to get a certain amount of energy from clean sources. 

The problem is now convincing skittish Democrats to back the effort.

No Republicans are expected to support the infrastructure proposal, which will also include a hike to the corporate tax rate.

What about on the Democratic side?: And the carbon-free power sector provision is likely to have at least one Democratic critic in Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), a crucial swing vote in the 50-50 Senate who has expressed skepticism about such a mandate.

"The market will take you there," he told the Washington Examiner in January.  

"I will look and see what they are doing. Anything we pass sure as heck should be feasible. Just setting an artificial date doesn't always work. You have to have faith in American ingenuity," Manchin added. 

A spokesperson for Manchin didn't respond to The Hill's request for comment on the standard's inclusion in Biden's proposal.

Read more about the issue here.


RUNNING ON FUMES: Appeals court agrees to pause lawsuit over Trump-era emissions rule

An appeals court judge on Friday agreed to pause a lawsuit seeking to overturn a Trump administration rule on emissions standards and fuel economy.

More than 50 public interest groups and local and state governments had sued over the so-called Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) vehicles rule, which applies to vehicles with model years 2021-2026.

The rule cuts year-over-year improvements demanded from automakers from 55 miles per gallon by 2025 to 40 mpg by 2026. In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs argued the rule unacceptably weakened emissions standards and hurt public health.

What do opponents say about the standard?: "[T]he harms resulting from these unlawfully lax standards grow larger and larger with each passing model year of vehicle sales," a coalition of state and local governments said in a filing in March opposing a suspension of the lawsuit.

"The sheer magnitude of these accumulating harms, which include greenhouse gas emission increases greater than the total emissions of many States, warrants continued judicial oversight to ensure an opportunity for resolution if Respondents' review is delayed or leaves some of these harmful standards in place," the filing added.

Read more about the case here.


KERRY THE MESSAGE: US, UAE say they'll invest in Middle East decarbonization

The U.S. and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said Monday that they would help finance decarbonization in the Middle East region and the global community at large. 

"We will also cooperate closely to make new investments in financing decarbonization across both the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the wider international community and help the most vulnerable adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change," said the statement, which was attributed to the two nations, rather than any specific individuals.

"We will particularly focus our joint efforts on renewable energy, hydrogen, industrial decarbonization, carbon capture and storage, nature-based solutions, and low-carbon urban design," they said.

Meeting of the minds: The remarks came after a recent regional dialogue that was part of U.S. Climate Envoy John Kerry's trip to the UAE. 

Kerry was among climate leaders from 10 countries that said in a joint statement Monday that they would work to "accelerate climate action."

"Our countries, gathered in Abu Dhabi under the auspices of the United Arab Emirates, are committed to accelerate climate action," they said in a joint statement.

Read more about the meeting here.



Cleanup costs for "orphaned" oil wells in Texas and New Mexico could reach nearly $1 billion, Grist reports

Possible new breach identified in Florida as wastewater leak continues, The Tampa Bay Times reports

Exxon sues Energy Transfer over charges from pipeline dispute, Reuters reports

New England's solar growth is creating tension over who pays for grid upgrades, according to Energy News Network

Lawsuits pile up over endangered species decisions made by Trump administration, ABC News reports


ICYMI: Stories from Monday and the weekend


AND LASTLY: The prodigal mascot returns