Obama Administration Adds Todd Stern, Lisa Heinzerling to Key Climate Positions

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 26 Jan 2009 21:49:00 GMT

Today, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that Todd Stern will be the special envoy for climate change:
With the appointment today of a special envoy, we are sending an unequivocal message that the United States will be energetic, focused, strategic and serious about addressing global climate change and the corollary issue of clean energy.

Stern was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, the liberal think tank run by John Podesta, the chair of the Obama transition. Stern was a partner at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, as Vice Chair of the firm’s Public Policy and Strategy practice. Stern wrote on international climate change policy for CAP, promoting the creation of the E-8, a coalition of nations “focused on global ecological and resource problems” – (United States, China, India, Russia, South Africa, Brazil, Japan, and the European Union).

Stern was Assistant to the President and Staff Secretary in the White House from 1993 to 1998. He also coordinated the Administration’s Initiative on Global Climate Change from 1997 to 1999, acting as the senior White House negotiator at the Kyoto and Buenos Aires negotiations.

Carbon Control News reports that Georgetown Law professor Lisa Heinzerling will be joining the Environmental Protection Agency “to advise incoming Administrator Lisa Jackson on how to address climate change.” As Bradford Plumer notes at The New Republic, Heinzerling “was the lead author of the plaintiff’s brief in Massachusetts v. EPA back in 2007, in which the Supreme Court agreed with the plaintiffs that the EPA did, in fact, have the authority to regulate carbon-dioxide.”

Although the administration has not confirmed the appointment, Gristmill’s Kate Sheppard reports that Heinzerling’s voicemail recording at Georgetown says she is on a two-year leave from the school because she has “taken a position in the new administration.”

Investing in Sustainable Energy Options in Ukraine via the Kyoto Protocol

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 19 Mar 2008 16:00:00 GMT

This webcasted panel discussion will examine opportunities for U.S. businesses and others to invest in energy efficient and renewable energy projects in Ukraine using the mechanisms of the Kyoto Protocol. The panelists will review opportunities for reducing energy waste in Ukraine’s major end-use energy sectors as well as the status and near-term potential for developing Ukraine’s solar, wind, biomass/biofuels, small hydro, geothermal, and coal-mine methane resources.

  • Brian Castelli – Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Alliance to Save Energy
  • John Palmisano – Chairman, IE3
  • Rich Rosenzweig – Chief Operating Officer, Natsource
  • Ken Bossong – Co-Director, Ukrainian-American Environmental Association

(biographical information on each of the four panelists follows below)

This event, being co-sponsored by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and The Washington Group, will be broadcast live on-line in English.

Persons planning to attend in person should arrive by 11:50 am

  • (Ukrainian Time: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm)

U.S.-Ukraine Foundation 1701 “K” Street NW Suite #903 Washington, DC 20006

TO SUBMIT QUESTIONS ON-LINE: Questions for the panelists can be e-mailed either in advance or during the discussion to [email protected]. Please type “Kyoto/Energy Panel” in the “subject” line.

TO REGISTER AND FOR MORE INFORMATION: For On-Site Attendance, RSVPs Required. Lunch will be served. Space is Limited.

RSVP by email to: [email protected].

The presentation will be broadcast live online. To register to watch online, please visit this link and follow the instructions.



Since 1976, Mr. Palmisano has:

  • Created 3 emissions brokerage and 1 emissions trading businesses, including the first emissions brokerage firm, AER*X
  • Advised the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on developing a “green” exchange
  • Consulted to trade associations, the US EPA, the United Nations, the World Bank, US Congress, the Russian government, the Ukrainian government, the Canadian government and many US and international companies on both emissions trading matters and developing “green” energy projects and policies
  • Helped create three “green” NGOs that focus on promoting emissions trading—one in Russia, one in Ukraine, and one in the United States
  • Established emission brokerage offices and representatives in Moscow, Kiev, Hong Kong, London, and Washington DC
  • Brokered more than 70 emission trades
  • Served as an expert witness in public utility commission and legal proceedings
  • Managed the air pollution control program in California for an engineering company
  • Developed several major environmental policies while working at US EPA

Mr. Palmisano’s immersion into emissions trading began when he was a manager at the United States Environmental Protection Agency where he developed regulatory reforms dealing with air and water pollution control. He received U.S. EPA’s Gold Medal for his work on emissions trading.


BRIAN CASTELLI Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Alliance to Save Energy

Brian T. Castelli is the executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Alliance to Save Energy. He has 30 years of national and international experience in the energy field, including expertise in energy efficiency, renewables, emission reductions, and electricity demand reduction.

Prior to joining the Alliance in July 2005, Castelli ran his own energy consulting firm. There he was the federal energy liaison for the California Energy Commission; a principal with the Center for Energy and Climate Solutions, and a consultant to both the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO).

As a presidential appointee, Castelli served as chief of staff to the U.S. Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy from 1994 to 2001. He managed 550 staff and more than $1 billion in programs and research, development, and deployment initiatives and directed the development and implementation of energy policies and programs.

Castelli also led and participated in missions to Western Hemisphere, European, and former Soviet Union countries and was also deeply involved in developing energy-efficiency measures for the eventual closure of the nuclear reactors in Chornobyl, Ukraine.

Prior to DOE, Castelli was appointed in 1988 by Gov. Bob Casey to the Pennsylvania Energy Office (PEO), for three years as deputy director for administration and public affairs and then as executive director, through 1994. As executive director he ran the commonwealth’s energy policies and programs, managed the state energy office and the Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority, and took the lead on responding to energy emergencies.

Notably, he developed a revolving loan fund for energy-efficiency measures and a “Green Buildings” program for cutting energy use and costs in all commonwealth-owned or operated buildings, and he drafted legislation for and implemented an alternative fuel program.

Earlier in his career, Castelli was vice president of finance for The National Center for Appropriate Technology; senior vice president and cofounder of CEXEC; and financial analyst with the Federal Energy Administration. He has authored many articles, studies, and reports on energy-related issues, served on various boards of directors, and made presentations in many state, national, and international forums and conferences.

Castelli holds two degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, a bachelor of science in chemical engineering and an MBA in industrial/environmental management from the university’s Wharton School.


RICH ROSENZWEIG Chief Operating Officer, Natsource

Richard Rosenzweig, Chief Operating Officer of Natsource (Washington, DC), is responsible for the company’s global Advisory Services and Research business unit. He provides services to private firms, investment funds, governments, and international financial institutions on all aspects of climate change and renewable energy, including risk assessment and management, market entry strategies, trading system design, domestic policy development and international negotiations. Mr. Rosenzweig has extensive experience in all aspects of emissions trading and risk management. He represented several companies in the design of the U.S. Acid Rain and NOx SIP Call Programs. Mr. Rosenzweig was involved in the first transaction of UK and Danish greenhouse gas allowances. He joined Natsource from the Washington law firm of Van Ness Feldman, where he was Principal.

Mr. Rosenzweig served as Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) from 1993-1996. His national policy responsibilities included the development and coordination of DOE strategy related to global climate change. He played key roles in developing the Clinton Administration’s Climate Change Action Plan, which incorporated the first project-based mechanism to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the Secretary of Energy’s international energy, environmental, and national security initiatives. He also helped to negotiate voluntary agreements between DOE and more than 600 electric utilities to achieve voluntary greenhouse gas reductions in the “Climate Challenge” program. Mr. Rosenzweig has written extensively on the greenhouse gas market, the impacts of trading system design, and the role of technology in addressing climate change. He has a BA degree from Northeastern University and an MS degree from American University in Political Science.


KEN BOSSONG Co-Director, Ukrainian-American Environmental Association

A former volunteer in Ukraine with the U.S. Peace Corps (February 2000 – January 2003), Ken Bossong presently serves as the coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Coalition, a U.S. NGO comprised of 50+ U.S. business, environmental, consumer, and energy policy organizations promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

Over the past 35 years he has served as the director of several national U.S. environmental NGOs as well as worked as a member of several organizations working on Ukrainian issues. He has degrees in law, public administration, and environmental engineering.

Most recently he was a short-term scholar at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center where he conducted research on sustainable energy policies and options for Ukraine.


Major Financial Program Support provided by:

Chopivsky Family Foundation Dmytro & Jaroslava Jarosewycz Memorial Charitable Gift Fund Heritage Foundation of First Security Federal Savings Bank (Chicago, IL) The Maria Hulai Lion Foundaton Self Reliance (NY) Federal Credit Union (New York City) Selfreliance Ukrainian American Federal Credit Union (Chicago, IL) Sutaruk Foundation

Individuals: Leonard & Helena Mazur Marta Pereyma Murray Senkus Stefan & Wolodymyra Slywotzky

ExxonMobil Stands to Profit Handsomely in International Carbon Markets

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 20 Feb 2008 00:38:00 GMT

ExxonMobil, the world’s largest company by both revenue and market capitalization, has a place on the world stage comparable to a major nation-state (only 23 nations in 2006 had a GDP greater than Exxon’s revenues of $347 billion, which rose 7% in 2007). Only 31 nations exceeded its annual greenhouse gas emissions in 2004 [UN MDG indicators, ExxonMobil CDP response]. If end-use emissions of ExxonMobil’s products are included, its carbon footprint of 1 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent is exceeded only by five nations.

David Sassoon at Solve Climate asked Mario Lopez-Alcala, a senior analyst with Innovest Strategic Value Advisors, to estimate how the Kyoto Protocol impacts the company. Lopez-Alcala made some counter-intuitive discoveries.
Turns out that under Kyoto, Exxon is responsible for abating only 9 million out of the 138 million tons of its carbon footprint—about 6.9% of its absolute exposure. Mario arrived at this figure by compiling a weighted average of the emissions targets affecting all Exxon operations around the world. His estimate for what it costs Exxon to abate those emissions, assuming it had to purchase carbon credits? About $1 billion a year. (He calculated net present value for the 2008-2012 Kyoto compliance period and applied a standard oil industry discount rate to arrive at the figure, based on an expected price of $28 per ton of carbon. He also had to add in to the calculation, abatement costs for reducing emissions to a baseline year.)

$1 billion annually is not a terribly large liability for a $400 billion company.

There’s also another aspect to Exxon’s carbon footprint: the 129 million tons of emissions that it is not required to reduce. It is an enormous carbon asset in a world in which carbon has a price, and it presents a tangible opportunity for enhancing profitability – even beyond $40.6 billion. By reducing those emissions – most simply through reduced flaring, co-generation, heat recuperation, and carbon capture and sequestration – Exxon could reap profits from selling carbon credits it generates. Mario reports that BP is the leader in the sector in taking advantage of these opportunities, which are tangible and positive already.

Sassoon concludes that from an investor (as well as moral) standpoint, ExxonMobil’s storied resistance to the science of climate change is a poor corporate position.

Bali: Australia Ratifies Kyoto Protocol

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 03 Dec 2007 17:05:00 GMT

On the first day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Bali, Kevin Rudd, the new prime minister of Australia ratified the Kyoto Protocol, leaving the United States and Kazakhstan the only signatories who have failed to ratify.

Rudd’s statement begins:

Today I have signed the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. This is the first official act of the new Australian Government, demonstrating my Government’s commitment to tackling climate change.

Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol was considered and approved by the first Executive Council meeting of the Government this morning. The Governor-General has granted his approval for Australia to ratify the Kyoto Protocol at my request.

Under United Nations guidelines, ratification of the Kyoto Protocol enters into force 90 days after the Instrument of Ratification is received by the United Nations. Australia will become a full member of the Kyoto Protocol before the end of March 2008.

The Kyoto Protocol: An Update

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 11 Jul 2007 18:00:00 GMT

Panel I
  • Harlan Watson – special representative and senior climate negotiator, Bureau of Oceans and International Environment and Scientific Affairs, State Department Panel II
  • Elliot Diringer – director of international strategies, Pew Center on Global Climate Change
  • Margo Thorning – managing director, International Council for Capital Formation

Dr. Watson and the subcommittee chair Faleomavaega had a long discussion. Dr. Watson defended the administration’s largely voluntary approach. Rohrabacher repeated his complaints that CO2 is not dangerous to human health and that the focus on climate change is taking resources away from fighting pollution.

4:24 PM Diringer The US-CAP platform. The Bali conference will be the stage for new negotiations on 2012 commitments. Kyoto was a major milestone, but just one stage. We have no expectation the US will ever ratify it.

4:34 PM Thorning Cap and trade is bad.

4:41 PM Manzullo R-IL We’re seeing the problems with cap and trade already. One of the manufacturers in Spain is being displaced by a factory in Morocco which is not covered by the system. People not covered by it would be the beneficiaries.

Diringer The type of effect doesn’t seem to be a function of cap-and-trade, but is related to any regulatory control. That’s what the importance of international agreements.

Manzullo How do you make the effort?

Diringer You start by being serious.

Manzullo We’re down to 3% in the export of machine tools. Setting the right example. I don’t think that works.

Manzullo The nations that buy things go with a more reliable supplier. It’s ITAR free. Using the white-hat techniques slams in our face.

Thorning Global energy prices are not likely to fall in the foreseeable future.

Manzullo What can you offer China and Morocco, countries that don’t respect the environment?

Thorning Let’s say we have a coal-fired boiler that 35% efficient. If China wants that, if we knew they’d protect our intellectual property, we’d be more likely to sell them the boiler.

Diringer We have various means of export support and promotion and we can make that assistance conditional.

4:48 PM Rohrabacher The air in China is murdering children. That has nothing to do with climate change. If all of the goals of the Kyoto Protocol are met, would that reverse the climate change trend that are so alarming people?

Thorning It would have virtually no impact on changing the climate.

Diringer Noone contends the Kyoto standards are sufficient.

Rohrabacher Why should we join the Kyoto protocol then?

Diringer I’m not aware of anyone advocating joining the Kyoto protocol. China’s implementing many environmental standards that have climate emissions benefits, but are based on national drivers. It’s important that we understand those motivations. The steps we would take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will also reduce the production of conventional air pollutants. There is common ground.

Rohrabacher I think there is room for common ground. There are choices that people make as to whether or not there will be reductions in NOX, which I understand is harmful to human health. Some scientists claim more CO2 will produce more plant growth and make people’s lives better. I would like to put on the record an article by James Taylor at the Heartlands Institute.

What is your view on using nuclear energy?

D: Nuclear energy is a major component of our electricity production. We expect it to remain a major part of our production mix.

Rohrabacher Might I suggest that you personally look at the high-pressure gas reactor? The traditional objections of environmentalists don’t apply. It actually eats plutonium. The last thing we want to do is to promote technologies to clean the air but help people drop bombs on us. There are some alternatives.

4:57 Faleomavaega What about poor countries?

Thorning Energy is an essential to reducing poverty. I think it’s important how we balance society’s resources. I want to see more resources going to provide energy that developing countries need. For about $18 billion a year we could provide LPG stoves to millions of people.

Our tax code has slowed depreciation. We have about the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. I hope we’ll look at the rate of capital cost recovery.

5:04 Diringer The UN convention establishes the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. There’s an understanding that one size does not fit all. We would favor a flexible framework.

I think the US is the single most influential force globally on tackling this issue. The EU has pledged unilaterally to reduce emissions. A very positive indication from the United States is necessary.

Thorning One of the things we need to keep our eye on is that the EU is not likely to meet their targets. What I see happening is lip service. I see the EU as not successful as it’s currently set up. Perhaps sectoral targets without necessarily having mandatory requirements. I think we can induce China, like the Marshall Plan.

5:09 Diringer I think it’s premature to conclude that the EU will not meet its Kyoto target. The EEA estimates it will achieve its targets. It won’t meet it entirely with domestic reductions, but also by relying on the flexibility mechanisms built into the Kyoto Protocol. The emissions trading scheme is only one of the mechanisms the EU is using, and it is in the learning phase. The biggest problem in the trial run was an over-allocation of emissions allowances.

5:13 Faleomavaega What do you expect will happen at Bali?

Thorning I think the US will push the Asia-Pacific Partnership mechanisms, which I think is the right way to go.

5:16 Rohrabacher Scripps has a beautiful climate change institute worth millions of dollars. Scientists on the dole. When that money should have been on the children of China who are going to have emphysema by the time they’re 30 years old by breathing in that rotten air. It’s like a huge black hole. If scientists say there will be more wildfires in California, that’s probably a $2 million research grant sucked away. I know people in California if they got those $2 million would dramatically impact air quality. There are 100s, thousands of these scientists taking this money. People say “Well, the issue is closed” swaying and wagging his arms. They’re ignoring the critics the scientists. $37 billion is a huge amount of money. It seems that the poltics of this thing has invaded the scientific community. With that said, I am hopeful. I do believe in science. I do believe in human progress. Perhaps we can come up with technologies that can clean the air, even though I think the scare tactics are not justified.