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ASHRAE Government Affairs Update, 9/30/2016

Non-US Government Affairs Activities

  • US-China Announcement on Climate Change Mitigation
  • Paris Climate Agreement Passes Key Milestone on the Road to Implementation
  • New Developments on HFC Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

  • President Obama Issues Memorandum Directing Federal Agencies to Take Into Consideration Climate Change and National Security Concerns
  • ASHRAE Seeks Applicants for Engineering & Public Policy Internship

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

  • US Conference of Mayors Adopts Energy Efficiency Resolution
  • California Governor Signs Legislation on Super Pollutants 
  • Massachusetts Governor Issues Executive Order on Climate Change

Non-US Government Affairs Activities

For additional information on non-US national-level government affairs activities please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at [email protected].

US-China Announcement on Climate Change Mitigation

Taking further steps in the fight against climate change, representatives of the world’s two largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama, formally signed the Paris Climate Agreement, promised to support technical cooperation during implementation of the Agreement, and renewed their commitments on related joint actions, such as backing an amendment to the Montreal Protocol on an HFC phasedown, the US-China Climate Change Working Group, and the US-China Clean Energy Research Center. Additional information can be found here.

 

Paris Climate Agreement Passes Key Milestone on the Road to Implementation

Widely consider to be the most significant international effort yet to combat climate change, the Paris Climate Agreement will enter into force when 55 countries (or “Parties” as they are formally known) representing at least 55% of global GHG emissions formally join. As of this writing, the Agreement passed a key milestone when 60 Parties approved, representing 48% of global emissions, bringing the Agreement closer than ever into implementation. Several other Parties are expected to ratify the Agreement in the near future, including the European Union, making it possible that the implementation process could begin before years’ end.

Notably, even after the 55% threshold has been met, the Paris Climate Agreement will remain a voluntary arrangement – although with some legally binding aspects unique to some countries. There will also be significant international pressure for the signatories to faithfully meet their stated commitments. Click here for a useful ratification tracker that also contains links to additional information on the Paris Climate Agreement.

 

New Developments on HFC Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

Leading up to the next round of negotiations on the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda, leaders from more than 100 countries recently called for an amendment on HFCs, including an early “freeze date” for certain countries, and an ambitious phasedown schedule for others.

Concurrent with that announcement, a combination of governments and philanthropists pledged $80 million to so-called Article 5 countries, who are in special need of assistance with the phasedown, with a focus on energy efficiency.

To view the joint statement on the amendment, please click here.

 

US Federal Legislative & Regulatory Activities

For additional information on Federal legislative, regulatory, and global government affairs issues please contact Mark Ames, ASHRAE’s Senior Manager of Federal Government Affairs, at[email protected].

President Obama Issues Memorandum Directing Federal Agencies to Take Into Consideration Climate Change and National Security Concerns

US President Barack Obama recently issued a new Memorandum to Executive Departments and Agencies on Climate Change and National Security that requires Federal agencies to include the impacts of climate change in their national security-related activities.

A bit more specifically, the Memorandum creates a new Climate and National Security Working Group chaired by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and the Assistant to the President for Science and Technology. The Working Group includes representation from approximately 20 agencies and is required to create, within 90 days from September 21, 2016, an Action Plan that addresses how the US Federal government broadly can incorporate climate change considerations into national security-related missions and operations. Within 150 days from September 21, 2016, Federal agencies are required to develop their own individual plans.

This Presidential Memorandum builds upon the other Executive Orders, legislative requirements, current programs, and other ongoing climate change mitigation-related activities of the Federal government. For additional information, please click here.

 

ASHRAE Seeks Applicants for Engineering & Public Policy Internship

Are you or do you know a college engineering student who is interesting in immersing themselves in a fun-filled nine-week summer program during which they will receive hands-on experience with how public policy and engineering interact? If so, then look no further than the Washington Internships for Students of Engineering (WISE) Program!

Founded in 1980 through the collaborative efforts of several professional engineering societies, WISE has become one of the premier Washington internship programs. Every year approximately 15 outstanding engineering students entering their final year of undergraduate study (or who have just graduated) are selected in a nation-wide competition. During the internship they learn how government officials make decisions on complex technological issues and how engineers can contribute to legislative and regulatory public policy decisions. The ASHRAE Government Affairs Office hosts an outstanding engineering student every summer through this program.

The 2017 WISE Program runs from June 4 to August 5. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2016 and competition is always high, so submit your application today! To download the application and find additional information, please click here

 

GGAC Regional and Chapter Activities

For additional information on State, local, and international government affairs, please contact Jim Scarborough, ASHRAE’s Manager of Grassroots Government Affairs, at [email protected].

US Conference of Mayors Adopts Energy Efficiency Resolution

The US Conference of Mayors recently adopted a resolution in support of maintaining building energy codes the IECC 2015 level. The resolution, entitled “Moving America's Model Building Energy Code on a Path of Steady Efficiency Improvements Toward Net Zero” opposes the adoption of proposals that roll back the 2015 IECC's level of efficiency; and supports the adoption of the Energy Efficient Codes Coalition's Builder Flex Points proposal and its recommended 5% boost in efficiency for the 2018 IECC. Additionally the resolution encourages municipal support for all eligible code officials to attend these hearings and to vote in favor of continued and future efficiency gains for America's model energy code, the IECC.

 

California Governor Signs Legislation on Super Pollutants 

California Governor Jerry Brown (D) recently signed Senate Bill 1383 which establishes some of the nation's toughest restrictions on super pollutants (also known as short-lived climate pollutants) including black carbon, fluorinated gases and methane. SB 1383 concurrently promotes renewable gas by requiring a 50% reduction in black carbon and 40% reduction in methane and hydrofluorocarbon from 2013 levels by 2030. Sources of these super pollutants include petroleum-based transportation fuels, agriculture, waste disposal and synthetic gases used in refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosol products. To view a statement on this bill, please click here

 

Massachusetts Governor Issues Executive Order on Climate Change

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) signed Executive Order 569 on September 16, which lays out a comprehensive approach to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions, safeguard residents, municipalities and businesses from the impacts of climate change, and build a more resilient Commonwealth. The Order, Establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth, represents the collaboration between the Office of the Governor, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, and key State, local and environmental stakeholders. The Order, which will be reviewed again in 2019 and every five years thereafter, builds upon earlier efforts already underway to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Initiatives and programs underway across State government include vulnerability assessments and resiliency plans within the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance, Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, and MassPort.

This effort follows legislation passed by the legislature in August (H. 4568) to seek out long-term contracts from offshore wind farm developers to bring at least 1,600 megawatts of wind energy to Massachusetts in the next 10 years. It also encourages the delivery of larger supplies of Canadian hydropower and other renewables, and provides incentives for utilities to develop energy storage technology.To view the Executive Order please click here.  

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