In his June 25 climate change strategy announcement, President Obama stressed the importance of a strong economy and of U.S. leadership in global greenhouse gas reduction efforts. The administration continued pushing these two aspects of the strategy this past week. First, in his two speeches on Wednesday, President Obama explained that a strong economy is needed for climate action. The same day, Vice President Biden traveled to India where environmental issues were on the agenda. Following on Secretaries Kerry and Moniz’s recent trip, the Vice President said China, India, and the U.S.—the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases—should act to prevent climate change, such as limiting hydrofluorocarbons. The climate change strategy has been highlighted on a regular basis by the administration and Democratic members of Congress. They may be responding to recent polls which have shown that as climate change becomes a major political issue, voters favor proactive policies rather than denying the science behind climate change.
In their final week before a five week recess, the House will consider several bills, chiefly H.R. 2610, the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2014. The Senate, meanwhile, will vote on nominations to the National Labor Relations Board and to the FBI. While the chamber has yet to finish debate on its transportation and housing appropriations bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has expressed optimism that the Senate will consider S. 761, the Energy Saving and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2013 (known as Shaheen-Portman) before recess. However, there is growing doubt on the Senate’s ability to take up Shaheen-Portman before recess.
Off the Hill this week, the Interior Department will hold its first offshore wind lease sale on Wednesday. 164,750 acres off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts are available. The Energy Department’s Bioenergy Technologies Office will hold its annual conference Biomass 2013 on Wednesday and Thursday.