November 5, 2010

Message toMitch and the Senate: Lame Duck Energy “Compromise,” Renewable ElectricityMandate Raw Deal for American People.E&E News (11/5) reports, “President Obama andRepublicans have repeatedly highlighted energy as an area where compromise andprogress can be found over the next two years after the tumultuous and partisanmidterm elections. But the prospects for any progress will land squarely on theshoulders of a few Democratic and Republican senators who can successfullynegotiate and woo allies from the other party. But who will step up? Who hasthe political incentive to fill the leading and supporting roles on energy andenvironmental policy to overcome the fallback position of gridlock? Sen. JeffBingaman (D-N.M.), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, andhis GOP counterpart on the committee — whoever that turns out to be — are ashoo-in for major roles. Despite passing a bipartisan energy bill out of thecommittee in 2009, Bingaman largely ended up playing a secondary role this yearto Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham(R-S.C.) as they led the Senate’s efforts on a climate and energy bill. Thebill ultimately fizzled out, along with Kerry and Lieberman’s key roles on theissue. "The type of legislation that Lieberman was involved in in the pastis now fairly put to the left of what the new Senate will tolerate," saidScott Segal, an industry attorney at Bracewell & Giuliani. Alexander alsohas been an author of several bills boosting electric vehicles and nuclearpower, two other areas Obama and McConnell have said could be negotiableissues.

Headline Saysit All, “Memo to new Congress: Don’t take the renewable mandate bait.” Nick Loris and Jack Spencer (11/5) for the Bellingham Herald, “Imagine if the government made you spend20 percent of your family’s food budget on asparagus. It might be costlier thanother vegetables, but Congress and the president say it’s good for you.Asparagus producers are ecstatic – no more competing with other vegetables foryour business. And because there’s a mandate, they don’t even have to worryabout lowering costs. Other farmers respond by replacing their less-expensivecrops with the costlier, mandated vegetable. In the end, consumers are stuckwith less choice and higher prices. Sounds absurd, right? Well, it’s what wouldhappen to our electricity bills if Congress passes a Renewable ElectricityStandard. An RES would force Americans to purchase a pre-determined percentageof their electricity from certain energy sources that Washington bureaucratsdeem acceptable, like wind or solar, which featured prominently in last year’sfailed "cap and trade" legislation. Tuesday’s election likely killedany hopes of Congress passing a cap-and-trade bill anytime soon, but an RES,which has garnered bipartisan support, is still in the cards. Chalk RES up asanother policy that will increase the cost of living and curtail liberty forAmericans. An RES will eliminate competition, drive prices higher, and encouragegovernment dependence.”

Up-ton theAnte. Michigan Rep. Lays out First Order of Business Should he Gain E&CGavel: Get the Architect of the Cap-and-Raid Before the Committee.The Hill (11/4), “A Michigan Republican lawmaker is promising to makethe White House climate czar a familiar face by repeatedly bringing her infront of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Fred Upton, who isgunning to chair the powerful panel, vows to end “the free pass ofzero-accountability for Obama czars” such as White House energy adviser CarolBrowner. “Given her extensive influence within the administration, one wouldthink [current Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry] Waxman would want to hearher at some point,” Upton writes in a Nov. 1 column in the conservativepublication Human Events that is being circulated around town by his staff. “Givenher absence from Capitol Hill for the last two years, there is little doubtthat she will surely become a familiar face with Republicans in charge. We havequestions, and the American people deserve answers,” the column adds. Upton’scolumn calls Browner the Obama administration’s “point person for a massiveeconomy-killing national energy tax in the form of a cap-and-trade scheme.” Butmore broadly, it takes aim at Obama’s use of “czars,” or high-level adviserswho are not confirmed by the Senate. Czars are common targets of conservativeire even though presidents from both parties have surrounded themselves withthem.”

Welcome toNamibia, Home to an Estimated 166 Billion Barrels of Oil Offshore. Guess What?They Want to Drill For it Too.Reuters (11/5) reports, “Namibia has potentially huge undiscovered offshore oiland gas fields, but a lack of data is hampering investment into the southernAfrican nation, a senior petroleum official said on Friday. Namibia, largelyknown for its uranium deposits, has the same geological formations as Brazil,where recent oil finds has raised hopes for similar finds across the Atlantic. "Asfar as we are concerned the recent estimates suggest offshore Namibia containsabout 166 billion barrels of original oil in place, the mean prospectiveresources are about 42.6 billion barrels of oil, and 128.8 (trillion cubicfeet) of gas prospective resources," Immanuel Mulunga, petroleumcommissioner at the Ministry of Mines told an African oil conference. However,only 16 wells have been drilled along the country’s vast coastline, half ofthem in the Kudu gas field, Mulunga added. Mulunga said Namibia had thepotential to become a major African oil producer, where big finds in Uganda andGhana have spurred investors to frontier markets not usually associated withoil production. "Recent results could locate offshore Namibia as one ofthe larger oil and gas resources contained in the west African coast,"Mulunga said.”

RefineriesRunning at Full Capacity, Record Levels, to Fuel Robust Economy, in China.Shanghai Daily (11/5) reports, “CHINA’S two State-ownedoil refiners are boosting crude processing to record levels as the nationbattles a diesel shortage in some regions amid higher-than-expected demand. Seasonalconsumption is being triggered by farmers and fishermen. Exceptional demandcomes after government power restriction on the industrial sector — a move tomeet national energy efficiency targets — prompting some factories to usetheir captive diesel generators, analysts said. Sinopec, China’s largestrefiner, said yesterday it plans to increase oil processing 9.9 percent to583,000 tons a day this month from a year earlier, exceeding the October recordby 5,900 tons a day. It will reward units that beat their diesel productiontargets. It’s also limiting kerosene output to spare capacity for diesel andhas arranged immediate imports of 200,000 tons of diesel to regions sufferingtight supplies. Rival China National Petroleum Corp said today it will continueprocessing crude at a record high level — 400,000 tons a day reached onWednesday– for the remainder of the month. CNPC plans to expand daily dieseloutput to 168,000 tons in November from 158,000 tons in October. Sinopec saidit’s "sparing no effort" to ensure market supplies while CNPC calledthe measures to boost diesel production both a "politicalresponsibility" and "social responsibility."

You EverHear of the “UN High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing?” UsEither. Just Know that Soros and Summers Have a Seat at this Table. Bloomberg (10/5) reports, “At least $65 billion could be raised bytaxing foreign-exchange transactions and auctioning pollution permits, a UnitedNations panel recommending ways to finance aid for fighting global warming willconclude today, according to a draft of its report. The panel, which includesbillionaire George Soros and Larry Summers, director of President BarackObama’s National Economic Council, estimated that selling carbon emissionspermits could generate $38 billion and a financial transactions tax anadditional $27 billion, according to the draft dated Oct. 4 and obtainedyesterday. The UN will release the study in New York today. The findings areintended to guide envoys at UN climate talks that start this month in Mexico asthey seek ways to pay for $100 billion in climate aid that was pledged to poornations by 2020 at last year’s summit in Copenhagen. The draft report foundthat the goal is “challenging but feasible” to achieve. UN Secretary GeneralBan Ki-moon appointed the panel, called the High-Level Advisory Group onClimate Change Financing, in February. It’s led by Ethiopian Prime MinisterMeles Zenawi and his Norwegian counterpart Jens Stoltenberg. The 21-membergroup also includes Soros, Summers and Deutsche Bank AG Vice Chairman CaioKoch-Weser. “


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