Energy & Environment — Preparing for COP27

A preview of what’s on the table for the upcoming COP27 conference, the costs of threats to the Rocky Mountain snowpack, and the Supreme Court will weigh in on the Navajo Nation’s access to the Colorado River.

It’s the night of energy and the environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we are Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk.

World Climate Summit kicks off this weekend

A global climate summit known as COP27 will begin this weekend. Over the next two weeks or so, world leaders, businesses, climate advocates and more will gather in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to discuss the climate crisis.

From the United States, President Biden, as well as several lawmakers, are expected. But some of the biggest issues this year will be global.

On the one hand, there is a question to know how countries will balance tackling climate change while facing an energy crisis

  • Since Russia was a major supplier of natural gas to Europe before its invasion of Ukraine, the changes caused by this invasion meant that some countries would have to turn to high-emission fuels to keep the lights on.
  • Yet countries that have struggled to replace Russian fuel have also turned to clean energy. Earlier this year, the European Union said it would try to cut its reliance on Russian gas by two-thirds and pursue more solar-powered, energy-efficient rooftop heat pumps and faster approvals for energy projects. ‘renewable energy.

Another element that should generate discussion concerns the calls for rich countries to pay reparations for climate damage.

  • Developing countries say they want wealthier nations to pay for the “loss and damage” they have caused to less wealthy countries because of the extensive damage they have caused by their historic use of fossil fuels.
  • Special climate envoy John Kerry recently told reporters that the United States supports a dialogue on loss and damage, although he rejected the term “reparations”.

And then there is the scale of China’s efforts amid tensions with the United States

The conference should also enter into How? ‘Or’ What countries (and companies) will keep their emissions promises.

  • Studies and other analyzes have shown that while many countries and companies have made promises to reduce their emissions, few have put in place the policies necessary to achieve them.
  • “This year needs to be implemented more. The test this year is the willingness of countries to put their commitment into action,” Kerry said recently at an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations.

Check this weekend to learn more about the upcoming conference.


Seven Democratic senators have called on President Biden to bolster U.S. climate commitments at the United Nations COP27 climate summit next week.

In a letter published on Fridayy, Meaning. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Sheldon Whitehouse (DR.I.), Cory Booker (DN. J.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on the United States to support so-called loss and damage, or funds to cover the damage caused by climate change to developing countries.

Representatives of affected countries usually claim losses and damages ahead of the conference, but the United States has never backed it, although US climate envoy John Kerry has not ruled it out this year.

“No one is immune to the effects of the climate crisis, but the most vulnerable nations on the frontlines of the climate crisis have endured and are enduring disproportionate suffering, while contributing the least to global carbon emissions,” they said. wrote the senators. “The United States, on the other hand, is responsible for about a quarter of historic carbon emissions, more than any other country or the European Union.”

Biden says he will discuss gas prices with oil giants

President Biden said Friday he will soon have a direct conversation with oil companies, following his warning to oil giants earlier this week that they could face a “higher tax” on excess profits.

“I’m working like hell to keep up with energy prices,” Biden said in San Diego, Calif. “I’m going to have a little – as they say – come talk to the lord with the oil companies very soon.”

  • President threatened monday to push Congress to impose a windfall tax on oil companies. His comments came after ExxonMobil, Chevron and Shell reported strong results in the third quarter. BP, Marathon Petroleum and Phillips 66 also reported strong profits afterwards.
  • “What are the bills people have to pay every month, lots of people? Well guess what, every month a lot of people have prescription bills that they have to pay regularly, every month they have health care premiums, energy costs, home heating costs,” Biden said on Friday. “And how essential is that for working-class and middle-class families? What can you do about it?”

While analysts say the global oil market, not individual companies, sets much of the price, Biden intensified his concentration on record oil company profits ahead of Election Day, seeking to take offense at an issue that polls show is a major topic for voters this fall.

Read more here, from Alex Gangitano of The Hill.

Supreme Court to hear Navajo water rights case

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will weigh in on a dispute between the Navajo Nation and state and federal governments over the tribe’s claim to the waters of the Colorado River.

The tribe argued that the United States was not fulfilling its obligations regarding the river under an 1849 treaty.

  • In a depositlawyers for the tribe wrote that “[w]When the government creates an Indian reserve, it sets aside enough then unsuitable water to fulfill the purposes of the reserve. The Navajo Nation, which first sued for access to the river in 2003, sought access to the main branch of the river, rather than the San Juan River, the tributary where it draws most of its water.
  • Meanwhile, the federal government and the states of Arizona, Colorado and Nevada argued in an October filing that river water is not an explicitly listed government responsibility with respect to reserves. The case law “has made it clear that Indian tribes can only sue to enforce fiduciary responsibilities that the United States has “expressly agreed to.”[ed],'” they wrote.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona previously dismissed the Navajo Nation’s claims, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals revived the suit last year, citing “fierce” competition in the West for the over-allocated waters of the river.

Access to the waters of the river is governed by a century-old pact, which does not take into account the drought that has plagued the region for more than two decades. The state governments themselves have also been at odds over their respective water claims.

Learn more about the case here.

How Snowpack Threats Pose Risks Far Downstream

As the unusual fall heat warms the hills of the Rocky Mountains, snowmaking veteran Tony Wrone has come to terms with the fact that these are no longer the winters of his youth.

“Last year we had a really hard time because it was so hot in November,” Wrone, who started making snow in Keystone, Colorado in 1996, told The Hill.

“At the time, I think we opened a year there around October 18 or something,” said Wrone, snowmaking manager at the Aspen Snowmass resort. “Now we seem to be struggling to find temps in November.”

Wrone said he fears those conditions could happen again, especially because meteorologists have once again predicted a hot, dry fall. And what will happen this winter is anyone’s guess.

As climate change upends weather systems around the world, a region known for its snow has become increasingly uncertain of how long its mountain sides will be blanketed in white.

Like the rest of the western United States, the Rocky Mountains are at the mercy of an unforgiving drought, the region’s worst in more than 1,000 years. At the peak of the water cycle, lack of snow threatens both the livelihoods that depend on it and the water needs of those hundreds, if not thousands, of miles.

‘Uncertainty around water planning’: “We can think of the western snowpack as sort of the ultimate reservoir of water for us in the West,” said Sam Collentine, chief operating officer and meteorologist at OpenSnow, a snow forecasting service for to skiers.

When Wrone starts making snow this season in Aspen — less than 200 miles southeast of the headwaters of the Colorado River — it will contribute to the heart of this river system: the snowpack on which 40 million people in seven states depend.

As snowfall has become more unpredictable, so has the amount and timing of runoff that feeds the Colorado River each spring.

Learn more about The Hill’s Sharon Udasin.


The G-7’s efforts to cap Russian oil prices will come in the form of a fixed price, not a rolling target pegged to economic factors, a source familiar with The Hill told The Hill.

The source specifies that the group has opted for a fixed price which will be regularly reviewed rather than a price indexed to an index in order to increase market stability and reduce the burden on companies.

The price has not yet been set.

Reuters first reported fixed price plan.


  • The City of Jackson awarded $35.6 million in water infrastructure grants (WAPT)
  • Democratic lawmakers want Biden to sign a global memorandum on electric vehicles at COP27 (Reuters)
  • The EPA is supporting citizen scientists who want to know what’s in the air in southwestern Pennsylvania (The Pittsburgh Post Gazette)
  • Brazil’s Supreme Court’s decision to reactivate the Amazon Fund gives hope in the fight to save the rainforest (The Guardian)
  • How Hulk scolded the EPA over “eternal chemicals” (E&E News)

🕷 Lighter click: Oh, democracy.

That’s all for today, thanks for reading. Discover The Hill’s Energy & Environment page for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you next week!

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