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Threading the Climate Needle in Paris

Threading the Climate Needle in Paris

If Republicans are angry about President Obama's climate policy going around Congress, this will really make them mad.


It's possible that 2015 United Nations climate talks in Paris could produce a global agreement structured in a manner that does not need Senate ratification.

The Capitol Hill politics for any kind of action on climate are brutal. And that's not lost on negotiators trying to reach a meaningful accord to try and avoid the most dangerous levels of global warming.

I asked U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres about the possibility of an agreement that doesn't have to get ratified by the Senate.


"We don't know yet what governments are going to decide, but it is very clear that they will have to find some way to have a draft in Paris that will be robust, that will give certainty, and that will be politically digestible in all countries," Figueres, the executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters on the sidelines of a Capitol Hill event on this study.

The finer points of the architecture of a global deal are complicated topics. It's something to watch as the high-stakes 2015 summit draws closer.

Ben Geman

P.S. Can Obama be effective on climate change without Congress? Take the National Journal Energy Poll below.



By Clare Foran (@ckmarie)

INTERIOR MOVES CLOSER TO ALLOWING ATLANTIC DRILLING. The Interior Department is out with a study that looks at the environmental impact of seismic research to pinpoint underwater oil and gas reserves.

  • Our take: There are still many decisions to be made—and battles to fight—before oil-and-gas drilling could be authorized off the Atlantic Coast.

STATE DEPT. WATCHDOG SAYS KEYSTONE CONFLICT REVIEW FOLLOWED RULES. The finding is a blow to environmentalists battling the Keystone pipeline.

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PELOSI BACKS CALIFORNIA PAL ESHOO IN ENERGY TUSSLE. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is backing Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif., in the fight to become the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

MICHAEL CONNOR CONFIRMED TO KEY INTERIOR POST. The Senate unanimously confirmed Connor to fill the role of Interior Department deputy secretary, the second-highest ranking position in the department.

CANADIAN CRUDE MOVES THROUGH KXL SOUTHERN LEG. TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said that even without the controversial northern extension, the pipeline can move Canadian crude to the Gulf Coast.

NASA'S CLIMATE SATELLITE HOPES TO SAVE LIVES, AND MAYBE THE PLANET. NASA wants to measure every raindrop and snowflake on Earth.

HOUSE DEMOCRAT PENS KEYSTONE OP-ED. Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., takes to the pages of The New York Times to argue that the president needs to reject the pipeline to preserve his legacy on climate change.

KEYSTONE PROTEST SET TO TAKE PLACE SUNDAY. Opponents of the pipeline are expecting large youth turnout in a protest of the project that will lead participants on a march from Georgetown University to the White House.

SHIPPERS CONFUSED BY FEDERAL ORDER ON OIL TRANSPORT. The head of the American Petroleum Institute says the industry still doesn't know what the government expects on safety checks.

HIGH GAS PRICES MEAN LESS EXPORT OPTIMISM. A surge in domestic natural gas prices due to cold weather may dampen demand for U.S. liquefied natural gas exports in Asia. (Paywall)


NATIONAL JOURNAL ENERGY POLL: Can Obama establish a legacy on climate change without action by Congress?

A) Yes, actions taken by the administration are on track to make a significant impact.

B) Yes, but actions by the administration won't make much of an impact.

C) No, the administration could make an impact, but proposed measures won't go far enough.

D) No, any meaningful impact will require action by Congress.

Click here to respond


SHOULD THE U.S. INVEST IN NUCLEAR POWER? How does nuclear fit into the U.S. energy equation and what, if anything, should Washington do to support its deployment?

"The United States needs low-carbon electricity options, but expanding nuclear capacity is far too time consuming and expensive, particularly when we have cheaper, faster, and safer wind and solar options. The economics just do not work for nuclear." -Janet Larsen, director of research, Earth Policy Institute

Read the full responses from National Journal's Energy Insiders


GRID EVENT. The Bipartisan Policy Center holds a discussion on a new report entitled "Cybersecurity and the North American Electric Grid: New Policy Approaches to Address an Evolving Threat."

DROUGHT DISCUSSION. The National Review holds a discussion focusing on the drought in California.

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Exactly what I need as a busy college student."

Samantha, Student

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