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Washington Week: GOP to hold climate 'showcase,' Democrats draft new carbon bill

Amid a partisan divide over the best way to lower carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector, Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are holding an event to reinforce their support for technological innovation to tackle climate change.

SNL Image

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., ranking member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
Source: AP Photo

GOP members of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce are hosting an "Energy & Environment Innovation Showcase" Dec. 9 that will feature electric utilities, educational institutions and other organizations discussing "how successful energy and environment policy is best secured through realistic, innovative public policy," according to a news release on the event.

Participants will include DTE Energy, Duke Energy Corp., Vistra Energy Corp. and NuScale Power LLC. Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden, R-Ore., will speak at the event on potential climate solutions.

The showcase comes as Democratic committee leaders are forming draft legislation to chart a path for decarbonizing the U.S. energy sector by 2050. Although the bill will offer more of a broad outline than specific policy prescriptions, Democrats hope to make a price on carbon part of their 2050 strategy. In addition to that pending proposal, Democrats with the House Committee on Natural Resources will unveil legislation Dec. 10 to slash carbon emissions from public lands and waters.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have blasted potential carbon taxes and other "top-down" regulatory approaches to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, instead advocating support for technological innovation and research into clean energy technologies. The divides on climate change will likely extend into 2020, when lawmakers reconvene for the second half of the 116th Congress and candidates for the 2020 elections hone their messages on climate and energy policy.

Senate energy panel to consider lands bills

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will meet Dec. 12 to consider several pieces of legislation. Although a full list of bills is not yet available, Chairman Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said in November that the business meeting would focus primarily on lands-related bills.

The hearing comes after the Senate energy committee advanced a wave of energy-related bills in recent months, including legislation to support deploying advanced nuclear reactors and grid-scale energy storage.

The fate of those proposals in the near term is unclear. The Senate is consumed with passing spending legislation before a continuing resolution to fund the federal government expires Dec. 20. House Democrats are moving ahead on filing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, a process that could further delay progress on energy-related and other legislation.

Trade commission takes input on solar tariffs

The U.S. International Trade Commission fielded feedback Dec. 5 on import duties the Trump administration placed on most foreign-made solar cells and panels starting in 2018.

Several U.S. solar panel makers urged the administration to raise the quota on how many imported solar cells are exempt from the tariffs to avoid steeper production costs. Defenders of the duties said raising the quota would undermine efforts to protect domestic solar cell manufacturing.

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US Congress
Dec. 9

Republicans with the House Committee on Energy and Commerce will host an "Energy & Environment Innovation Showcase" at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Dec. 11

The Senate Committee on Foreign Relations will vote on several bills, including S. 1830, the Energy Security Cooperation with Allied Partners in Europe Act of 2019, and S. 704, the European Energy Security and Diversification Act of 2019.

Dec. 11

The House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis will hold a meeting on "Creating a Climate Resilient America: Smart Finance for Strong Communities."

Dec. 12

The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will consider several pending bills, primarily on lands-related matters.

Industry events

Dec. 2-13

The United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 25 will take place in Madrid.

Dec. 9

The Center for Strategic and International Studies will host a panel discussion on electric vehicle deployment at CSIS' headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Dec. 10-12

The gridCONNEXT 2019 conference will take place in Washington, D.C.

Dec. 10

OurEnergyPolicy and the Keystone Policy Center will explore "The Fate of Nuclear Power: Do existing nuclear plants need economic policy support if they are to be a part of our carbon-free future?" The event will take place at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C.

Dec. 11

The Inter-American Dialogue will host a panel discussion at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Mexico's energy sector as the López Obrador government celebrates its first anniversary.

Dec. 13

The National Capital Area Chapter of the U.S. Association for Energy Economics will host past NCAC presidents on "What You Need in Today's Energy Industry." The lunch presentation will take place in Washington, D.C.

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