EPIC Presents at Western Energy Policy Research Conference

Western Energy Policy Research Conference 2013

Scott Anders and Nilmini Silva-Send attended and presented at this 3rd Annual conference in Portland, Oregon, Sept 5-6, 2013.

Scott Anders and Nilmini Silva-Send presented on a panel titled “Metropolitan and Regional Planning. ” Nilmini Silva-Send spoke about the effects of CEQA GHG Guidelines 2010 and SB 375 on local and regional greenhouse gas planning and in particular how GHG planning is being shaped by the courts. Litigation by “any interested group” and the Attorney General based on her duty to protect natural resources of the state are so far based on CEQA and the courts are doing what they always do – filling the gaps left by the legislature in application of these regulations. In particular, the courts have held that it is legally insufficient to not take into consideration Executive Order S-3-05 (state goal of reaching 80% below 1990 GHG levels in 2050) in any planning document that extends to that year.

Mr. Anders spoke about EPIC’s City-Scale Climate Planning Model for the San Diego Region.  This is a model developed by the Energy Policy Initiatives Center (EPIC), University of San Diego, to assist local jurisdictions to develop climate actions plans and the effects on GHG reductions of mitigation measures.  The model allows users to project emissions for planning years 2020 and 2035, select GHG reduction targets for those years, choose from a range of reduction measures to reduce emissions, and even estimate costs for a subset of measures. The tool is also designed to account for the inter-related nature of certain policy measures. For example, an increase in electric vehicles will increase electricity use but reduce emissions from the transportation sector. However, the emissions from this increased electricity use will depend on the percentage of zero-emission renewable energy sources used to produce the electricity.  Thus the model is based on two critical factors that drive emissions in the main emitting categories transportation and electricity: the GHG emissions intensity of a mile driven (CO2e/mile) and the GHG intensity of a unit of electricity (tons of CO2e per megawatt-hour).

Dr. Silva-Send also spoke on the “International Energy Policy” panel about National Energy Policies on Trial at the World Trade Organization. As negotiations on the future of the international climate regime languish, the obligations that most countries have taken on in the climate change regime require adoption of national energy policies that have significant impacts on international trade.  Because of this, climate change disputes have arisen at the World Trade Organization (WTO). In the past, the WTO dispute settlement body has attempted to find ways to balance trade and environmental rights and obligations affecting its members. While in theory the WTO has found a way to preserve non-discriminatory national environmental policies in the face of international trade rights, and this analysis may be extended to climate change-based national energy policies, none of the energy policy disputes are being defended on the basis of environment or climate.

The complaints recently decided or pending at the WTO are on wind energy subsidies (USA-China); feed-in tariff as subsidies and its domestic content rule (Japan/EU-Canada); biodiesel sustainability criteria of 35% GHG reduction as arbitrary and whether the EU’s FIT laws are actionable subsidies (Argentina-EU/Greece/Italy);  the biodiesel sustainability criteria of 35% GHG reduction is arbitrary and the EU’s FIT are actionable subsidies (China -EU); subsidies for solar cells and modules and domestic purchase rules (US/India).

Watch here for further developments in these areas of litigation!

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About Dr. Nilmini Silva-Send

Dr. Nilmini Silva-Send is EPIC’s Assistant Director, Adjunct Professor, and the C. Hugh Friedman Fellow in Energy Law and Policy. She leads the regional and local climate change projects and has extensive policy and technical knowledge about energy and GHG mitigation methods and measures. She has participated in several international energy policy dialogues, including in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Dr. Silva-Send is also a co-Principal Investigator in a multidisciplinary National Science Foundation funded climate education project in which she works with climate scientists, social psychologists and communication specialists to develop more effective methods to communicate links between climate science, energy use and society. During her career Dr. Silva-Send has conducted legal and technical analysis of environmental laws in Europe and the U.S., and carried out environmental due diligence assessments in Europe. She has also taught upper level and graduate level international law courses in Germany and since 2004 at the University of San Diego School of Law, where from 2009 she developed and teaches an annual contemporary course in International Energy Law. Dr. Silva-Send has a B.S. in Chemistry and a PhD in International Law and Policy. She is a member of the International Bar Association.
This entry was posted in CEQA, Energy, Greenhouse Gas, Legislation, Litigation, Renewable Energy. Bookmark the permalink.

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