Overnight Energy: Biden will aim to cut US emissions in half by 2030 | Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June

Overnight Energy: Biden will aim to cut US emissions in half by 2030 | Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June

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Today we’re looking at the Biden administration’s emissions goals for the decade, the next step in the administration’s goals on gas and oil leasing, and a Democratic proposal that would overhaul energy tax credits.



TARGET ACQUIRED: Biden will aim to cut US emissions in half by 2030

President BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE will announce a goal of cutting U.S. emissions in half by the year 2030, a person familiar confirmed to The Hill on Wednesday. 

Biden is expected to announce the updated target under the Paris climate agreement in conjunction with both Earth Day and a climate summit that will feature 40 heads of state

The announcement follows Biden’s return to the agreement, under which countries are expected to periodically update their interim targets.

The goal, called a Nationally Determined Contribution, was first reported by The Washington Post on Tuesday.

How does this compare to previous goals?: The Obama administration had aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent by 2025 when compared to 2005 levels.

The administration has said that it will be ambitious with its own target and push other countries to do the same. An administration official told reporters Wednesday that they may expect countries to take action at the meeting, including making announcements and indicating the next steps that they’ll take to combat climate change.


Read more about the targets here.


YOU KNOW THE DRILL: Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June

New oil and gas leasing on public lands will be paused through at least the end of June, the Biden administration announced Wednesday. 

“The Bureau of Land Management is exercising its discretion to not hold lease sales in the second quarter,” said a statement from Nada Culver, the agency’s deputy director for policy and programs. 

In an executive order, President Biden paused new oil and gas leasing on public lands and in public waters.

The pause does not have an end date, but is “pending completion of a comprehensive review and reconsideration of federal oil and gas permitting and leasing practice.”

An interim report is expected to be completed this summer.

What will the review involve?: According to the bureau, the review will look into whether taxpayers receive a fair return, and how to make sure it will consider climate change and environmental justice, among other matters. 

Republicans and industry representatives have pushed back on Biden’s pause, arguing that companies should be able to acquire new parcels of land on which to drill. The administration, meanwhile, has pointed to statistics showing that a number of the existing leases aren’t being used for energy production.

Read more about the announcement here.


CLEANUP CREW: Senate Democrats introduce bill to reform energy tax credits

Senate Democrats introduced legislation Wednesday that would overhaul “overly complex” energy tax incentives to encourage clean energy development.


The Clean Energy for America Act, sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenPutting a price on privacy: Ending police data purchases Overnight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states Pallone commits to using 'whatever vehicle I can' to pass Democrats' drug pricing bill MORE (D-Ore.), would add tax credits for clean electricity production for both fossil fuels and renewables if the facilities in question are carbon-neutral or carbon-negative. It would also make grid improvements such as high-capacity transmission lines eligible for the full-value investment tax credit.

What would the bill do?: The measure would also add tax incentives for electrified transportation, including long-term credits for battery-powered and electric fuel cell-powered vehicles. Separately, it would create a tax credit for domestic manufacture of clean fuel for transportation, open to any form of fuel 25 percent cleaner than average. The bill would also eliminate current tax incentives for fossil fuels.

“Energy policy is tax policy, and the federal tax code is woefully inadequate to address our energy challenges. It’s a hodgepodge of more than 40 temporary credits that don’t effectively move us toward the goals of reducing carbon emissions and lowering electricity bills for American families. Simply extending the status quo will not get the job done,” Wyden said in a statement.

Read more about the bill here.


Republicans blast Biden administration moves to pressure banks on climate

House and Senate Republicans condemned the White House’s efforts to pressure U.S. banks on climate and energy issues in two letters Wednesday.


In a letter led by Sen. John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.) and Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeySasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote Philly GOP commissioner on censures: 'I would suggest they censure Republican elected officials who are lying' Toomey censured by several Pennsylvania county GOP committees over impeachment vote MORE (R-Pa.), panel members wrote that they were “concerned by the Biden administration’s related effort to create and impose new global warming disclosure requirements on companies without any explicit statutory authorization from Congress.”

In a separate letter, Rep. Andy BarrAndy BarrGOP lawmakers ask acting inspector general to investigate John Kerry Overnight Energy: Biden will aim to cut US emissions in half by 2030 | Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June Fed to form committee focused on climate risks to financial system MORE (R-Ky.) called pressure on U.S. banks by U.S. Climate Envoy John KerryJohn KerryChina emitted more greenhouse gasses than US, developed world combined in 2019: analysis Overnight Energy: Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process| EPA official directs agency to ramp up enforcement in overburdened communities | Meet Flint prosecutor Kym Worthy Republicans request documents on Kerry's security clearance process MORE a “blatant abuse of power” that “threaten[s] to compromise the competitiveness of American financial institutions, ignore market demand in energy consumption, increase prices for consumers and kill American jobs.”

The letters come as the White House has increasingly made the finance sector central to its climate and emissions reductions goals. Earlier this week the Treasury Department announced the formation of the Climate Hub, a division with a goal of incentivizing investments that reduce carbon emissions and expand renewable energy.

Treasury Secretary Janet YellenJanet Louise YellenWaPo reporter: Treasury continuing recovery plan amid complaints of labor shortage, inflation Business groups target moderate Democrats on Biden tax plans On The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary MORE has called for a “whole-of-economy” approach to the climate crisis, while earlier Wednesday a coalition of financial institutions announced the formation of two groups aimed at reducing carbon emissions.



  • Day 1 of the White House Climate Summit
  • The Senate Energy Committee will hold a hearing to examine the opportunities and challenges that exist for advancing and deploying carbon and carbon-dioxide utilization technologies in the United States.
  • The Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing to examine 21st century communities, focusing on capitalizing on opportunities in the clean energy economy.
  • The House Oversight Committee's Subcommittee on the Environment will hold a hearing on the role of fossil fuel subsidies in preventing action on the climate crisis. Greta Thunberg is set to testify.




Lower UK air pollution limits to prevent deaths, says coroner, The Guardian reports

Harriet Tubman’s family home unearthed In Maryland wildlife refuge, according to HuffPost

Climate change clearly visible as NOAA prepares to release new 'normals', CNN reports

Over 4 of 10 Americans breathe polluted air, people of color are 61% more likely to be affected, USA Today reports


ICYMI: Stories from Wednesday (and Tuesday night)...

Oil and gas leasing pause on public lands will last at least through June

Finance industry announces two coalitions to align with Paris Agreement goals

Senate Democrats introduce bill to reform energy tax credits

Yellen touts 'whole-of-economy' plan to fight climate change

Biden will aim to cut US emissions in half by 2030: source

US setting aside area in several Western states to protect rare yellow-billed cuckoo

EPA administrator: We don't plan to return 'verbatim' to Obama-era water regulation

DOT appoints chief science officer for first time in 40 years

Kerry: China described climate change as 'crisis' for the first time

Russia, China to attend White House climate summit

Governors call on Biden to back shift to zero-emission cars by 2035

Nobel laureates call for elimination of fossil fuels

Collins joins Democrats in bid to undo Trump methane emissions rollback


OFF-BEAT AND OFFBEAT: Holy squatrimony