Government Targets To Cut Carbon Emissions By 2050

Citing pressure from stakeholders and legal proceedings, the EPA said Thursday it’s moving forward with an endangerment finding regarding aircraft emissions that account for an estimated 11% of US greenhouse gas emissions. Proving pollutants from aircraft engines are a danger to the public is the first step in crafting enforceable limits to regulate those emissions. “Under the plan, the agency expects to propose its endangerment finding by April 2015 and finalize it by spring of 2016. Any proposed regulation would come after the endangerment finding, leaving it to the next administration to finalize.” [The Hill]

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana found BP was grossly negligent with regard to the accident and its activities in conjunction with the Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico. BP said it “strongly disagrees” with the finding and will immediately appeal. The number of barrels spilled remains in question and will ultimately factor into the dollar amount of the penalty, which could stretch beyond $10 billion. “The Court has not yet ruled on the number of barrels spilled and no penalty has yet been determined. The District Court will hold additional proceedings, which are currently scheduled to begin in January 2015, to consider the application of statutory penalty factors in assessing a per-barrel Clean Water Act penalty. The Clean Water Act requires the District Court to consider a number of factors in determining an appropriate penalty. The statutory maximum penalty is $1,100 per barrel where the court finds simple negligence and $4,300 per barrel where the court finds gross negligence or willful misconduct. During the penalty proceedings, BP will seek to show that its conduct merits a penalty that is less than the applicable maximum after application of the statutory factors.” [BP]

Saudi Arabian oil sales to the US have been trending downward as the US produces more oil domestically. The Saudis have recently cut prices to maintain US market share, but that tactic appears untenable given changing global supply/demand dynamics. “The Saudis are not going to sell crude at a disadvantage to themselves — they’re not about buying market share anymore,” Mike WittnerSociete Generale (GLE)’s head of oil market research in New York, said by telephone Aug. 28. “Those days are long gone. They’ll price crude to be competitive with the competing sour grades in every market, and if that means their flows to the U.S. are down, so be it.” [Bloomberg]