Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations

Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by American Clean Power — Methane fee faces negotiations
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Welcome to Monday’s Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup.

Today we’re looking at the future of a key methane proposal in the reconciliation package, the latest on climate finance plans and a UN report on greenhouse gas concentrations.

For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Write to us with tips: rfrazin@thehill.com and zbudryk@thehill.com. Follow us on Twitter: @RachelFrazin and @BudrykZack.

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Let’s jump in.

Senators weigh future of methane fee in spending bill

Sen. <span class=Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Dems seek to preserve climate provisions Democrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  Five ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan MORE (D-Del.) is seen during a Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee hearing to discuss security threats 20 years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on Tuesday, September 21, 2021." width="645" height="363" data-delta="6" />

The future of another key climate provision, a fee on methane emissions from oil and gas development, is being negotiated on Capitol Hill. 

Leaving a meeting of Senate committee chairs with jurisdiction over climate provisions, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said he hopes the fee will be included in a massive spending bill Democrats are negotiating. 

“My hope is going to be in,” said Carper, who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. 

“We’ve negotiated a methane fee. We’ve tried to do it in a way that Senator [Joe] Manchin and his folks will be more receptive of it and we’re still talking,” he added, saying in the meeting that lawmakers discussed a “broad range” of climate provisions.

His comments came after Reuters reported, citing two anonymous sources, that the methane fee was likely out of the multi-trillion-dollar social spending package. 

But, Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who chairs the Senate’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee, told reporters that nothing had been agreed to. 

So why is this methane fee such a big deal?  

According to Schumer’s office, the methane fee is expected to be responsible for about 9 percent of the climate benefits from both the Democratic human and climate infrastructure package and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. 

Read more about the meeting here

Developed countries to meet climate finance goal 3 years late: plan

Developed countries will likely be three years late on meeting their goal of giving $100 billion in climate finance annually to developing countries.

In line with a goal first set in 2009, the world’s developed countries said they would contribute that much to help developing countries with climate change mitigation by the year 2020. 

But a new report called the Climate Finance Delivery Plan published Monday by the United Kingdom's COP26 Presidency says that goal is now expected to be met in 2023. 

COP26 is the name of the major United Nations climate change summit that starts this weekend, at which countries will negotiate the future of global climate action. The plan was put together by officials from Canada and Germany.

So what’s next?: The report says that the $100 billion goal was not likely to be met by 2022, but expressed “confidence” that it will be met in 2023, based on pledges made by developed countries as of last week. 

“Developing countries have been rightfully disappointed that so far developed countries have not delivered on the $100 billion pledge that was already given in 2009,” said a statement from Jochen Flasbarth, the state secretary in Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment, one of the officials who put the plan together.

Read more about the report here

A MESSAGE FROM AMERICAN CLEAN POWER

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Clean energy sources like wind, solar and energy storage power American jobs and economic opportunity across the U.S. Clean energy is powering the future, and together, we are the future of power. Read more

Greenhouse gas concentrations hit record last year, UN says

Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hit a record high last year despite temporary declines during the pandemic.

Greenhouse gas concentrations grew at a faster pace than the annual average from 2011 through 2020, according to the World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Greenhouse Gas Bulletin published Monday.

Specifically, levels of carbon dioxide, the most important greenhouse gas, surged to 149 percent of the pre-industrial level or the levels before 1750, when humans “started disrupting Earth’s natural equilibrium.”

Methane was 262 percent of that level while nitrous oxide was at 123 percent, a WMO press release about the report explained.

What about the coronavirus pandemic?: Despite stay-at-home orders and the impacts of COVID-19 contributing to a temporary reduction in these gases, the pandemic did not have "any discernible impact" on the levels of gas in the atmosphere or their growth rates, the release added. 

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The WMO warned that these emissions will cause increased global temperatures as well as more extreme weather patterns ranging from intense heat to rising sea levels. 

Read more about the findings here

EPA SAYS GENX IS MORE TOXIC

A new assessment from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on chemicals known as “GenX” chemicals that have been found in a North Carolina river show they are more toxic than a Trump-era assessment found. 

The new toxicity assessment from the EPA says it’s safe for people to ingest less of the chemical than previously thought. 

Some numbers: It’s now safe to ingest “GenX” chemicals at a level of only three-millionths of a milligram per kilogram of body weight each day. 

A 2018 draft report from the agency said it was safe to ingest eight-hundred-thousandths of a milligram per kilogram of body weight. 

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And some impacts...The new report states that in animal studies, GenX chemicals have shown impacts on the liver, kidneys and immune system as well as offspring development and have an “association” with cancer. 

Using animal studies, the 2018 draft found health impacts in the kidneys, blood, immune system and fetal development and said the data was “suggestive” of cancer. 

EPA Administrator Michael ReganMichael ReganBiden administration takes step toward reversing Trump water regulations rollback Biden, top officials spread out to promote infrastructure package Energy & Environment — Beyond COP26 MORE was formerly the head of North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality and secured an agreement with a company called Chemours over the GenX contamination that required it to stop discharging its wastewater in the area. 

What did they have to say? Chemours spokesperson Cassie Olszewski provided a statement to The Hill saying the company was "unaware" of data that would support the agency's conclusion, but that it was reviewing the technical info it released. 

Also a reminder, this is PFAS: GenX is part of a class of chemicals known as PFAS, which have been linked to a range of health issues. PFAS are sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily and persist in people's bodies and the environment. 

Read more about the assessment here.

DO YOU LIKE EVENTS?

This week, The Hill is putting on an event titled “Securing Energy Networks from Cyber Threats.” It will take place on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 2:00PM ET/11:00AM PT

As part of The Hill's A More Perfect Union festival, lawmakers, security experts and energy leaders explore how to proactively safeguard water, power, gas, and other systems from next-generation digital threats and prevent disruptions to everyday life. 

Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerLiberty University professor charged with alleged sexual battery and abduction of student Five Senate Democrats reportedly opposed to Biden banking nominee The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by ExxonMobil - House to vote on Biden social spending bill after McCarthy delay MORE (D-Va.), FERC Commissioner Allison Clements and CSIS's Suzanne Spaulding join The Hill's Steve Clemons. RSVP today.

A MESSAGE FROM AMERICAN CLEAN POWER

Clean energy sources like wind, solar and energy storage power American jobs and economic opportunity across the U.S. Clean energy is powering the future, and together, we are the future of power. Read more

ON TAP TOMORROW

  • The House Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing on FEMA wildfire assistance programs
  • The House Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing on Protecting Human Rights in International Conservation

WHAT WE’RE READING

BLM’s top cop out, accuses senior official of ethics violations, E&E News reports

Oil prices reach multi-year highs on tight supply, Reuters reports

Climate change: The environmental disasters we've almost fixed, BBC News reports

How a landmark environmental justice bill is failing to protect Richmond, Calif.’s air, The Mercury News reports

ICYMI:

And finally, something offbeat and off-beat: Illegal sprinkles.

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s energy & environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you tomorrow.