Repsol on Pikka. AK Rare Earths Supply Chain. COP26 Taking a Swipe at LNG.

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U.S. unveils crackdown on methane from oil and gas industry
Valerie Volcovici, Nichola Groom, Reuters, November 2, 2021

  • Oil, gas methane emissions at center of EPA plan
  • U.S. oil, gas companies required to monitor 300,000 wells
  • Aim is to slash 74% of methane emissions from 2005 levels by 2035

Nov 2 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Tuesday unveiled a plan to slash emissions of the greenhouse gas methane from oil and gas operations as part of its broader strategy to crack down on climate change, drawing cautious support from both environmental groups and drillers.

The announcement coincided with the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, where the United States, the world’s second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, is seeking to reclaim leadership on the world stage by demonstrating tangible steps to curb emissions at home.

President Joe Biden has set a target to slash greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% by 2030 but is struggling to pass major climate legislation through a deeply divided Congress, making policies by federal agencies more crucial.

His administration and the European Union are also seeking to lead a new international pact to reduce methane by 30% by 2030, drawing participation from some 90 countries.

At the center of the U.S. plan to tackle methane domestically is an Environmental Protection Agency proposal that will for the first time require oil and gas operators to aggressively find and repair methane leaks. Oil and gas operations account for a third of methane emissions.

“The timing of this is critical. As we speak, world leaders are gathering right now in Glasgow and they are looking to the United States for true leadership,” U.S. EPA Administrator Michael Regan told Reuters in an interview. “This proposal is absolutely bold, aggressive and comprehensive.”

Specifically, the proposal will require companies to monitor 300,000 of their biggest well sites every three months, would ban the venting of methane produced as a byproduct of crude oil into the atmosphere, and require upgrades to equipment such as storage tanks, compressors, and pneumatic pumps.

The EPA rules would most likely take effect in 2023 and would be aimed at slashing methane from oil and gas operations by 74% from 2005 levels by 2035, an amount equivalent to the emissions created by all U.S. passenger cars and planes in 2019, according to the summary.

The American Petroleum Institute, which represents the U.S. oil and gas industry, said it was reviewing the proposals.

“We support the direct regulation of methane from new and existing sources and are committed to building on the progress we have achieved in reducing methane emissions,” it said in a statement.

Major producer BP Plc (BP.L), which has been seeking to burnish its green credentials and is investing heavily in clean energy, said it applauded the EPA proposals.

Washington-based environmental group Earthworks also called the proposals a positive step but added that it would “continue to advocate for the strongest possible standards” as the EPA seeks feedback on the plan.


Methane is the second-biggest cause of climate change after carbon dioxide. Its high heat-trapping potential and relatively short lifespan in the atmosphere means cutting its emissions can have an outsized impact on the trajectory of the world’s climate.

The EPA’s well monitoring proposal applies to sites emitting an estimated three tons of methane per year or more, a threshold the agency said would capture sites responsible for 86% of leaks. Smaller sites will require less scrutiny.

Oil and gas industry groups had pressed the EPA to exclude smaller wells from the regulations, citing the sheer number of such wells and the costs of the monitoring and repairs.

Environmental advocates, meanwhile, had pushed for all well sites to be covered, and were also seeking limits on flaring: the practice of burning off methane that comes out of the ground as a byproduct during crude oil drilling.

The administration’s methane strategy will also include a new proposal by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration requiring companies to monitor and repair leaks on about 400,000 miles (643,740 km) of previously unregulated natural gas gathering lines.

The administration’s plan also proposes new voluntary measures from the Agriculture and Interior departments to tackle methane emissions from other major sources, including landfills, agriculture and abandoned wells and coal mines.

The EPA said it will release a supplemental proposal next year to flesh out the rules and possibly expand them to include additional methane sources, including abandoned oil and gas wells, flares and tank truck loading.


Repsol CEO Calls Strategic Plan a ‘Transformation Story’
Energy Intelligence, November 1, 2021

Q: You have a potential large project up in Alaska. How does that project fit within a strategy to be low cost, low carbon and shorter cycle?

A: The North Slope is an area where infrastructure, facilities, pipelines are [already] there. So, we are not entering in frontier areas. It’s light oil so there are fewer emissions in terms of carbon footprint than some other oils in the world. And the emissions footprint of our Alaska asset is going to be around 75% less than the current coverage for North Slope operations, combining the facilities, infrastructure and the quality of the oil.

The project is low cost and low greenhouse emission intensity, consistent with our commitment to align the company’s portfolio with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. And, as I said before, a part of the energy demand in 20 years is going to be covered by oil. And this oil has to be an oil of low break-even, light oil, with the lowest possible footprint in carbon emission terms and avoiding, in some way, the new frontier areas in. … Alaska is fitting with this view.

Read the Full Interview Here


Global Methane Pledge to be unveiled at COP26 heaps more pressure on LNG fuel proponents
Sam Chambers, Splash 247, November 2, 2021

Proponents of LNG as shipping’s interim future fuel will face another barrage today with the White House the latest institution to go on the attack.

President Joe Biden is to unveil plans today at COP26, the major international climate summit taking place in Glasgow, to limit global methane emissions by 30% from 2020 levels by the end of the decade. Biden’s call is backed by an alliance of 90 countries. However, China, India and Russia remain outside the newly formed Global Methane Pledge. The pledge is seen by many attending this month’s talks in Scotland as one of the biggest announcements likely to come out of COP26.

Methane, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), accounts for about a quarter of all the heat trapped in the atmosphere since the pre-industrial era.

In August the IPCC released a significant report in which for the first time it took aim at methane, something that is emitted from LNG-powered vessels and by energy majors in creating LNG.

According to the IPCC, around 0.3C of the 1.1C that the world has already warmed by comes from methane.

In April this year the World Bank issued a report on decarbonising maritime transport in which it specifically recommended countries pull back from investing in further LNG bunkering infrastructure.

Taking a swipe at LNG as a fuel, the bank recommended that countries should avoid new public policy that supports LNG as a bunker fuel, reconsider existing policy support, and continue to regulate methane emissions.

“LNG is effectively liquefied methane, and methane is itself a highly potent GHG. Over 20-year and 100-year time horizons, methane is respectively 86 times and 36 times more potent a GHG than CO2. Therefore, any GHG emissions from unburnt methane released to the atmosphere – called methane leakage – can diminish or even entirely offset the theoretical GHG benefit of the use of LNG,” the bank warned. It has since taken its anti-LNG stance to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) submitting a paper to the Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which meets later this month.

As of the end of September, Clarksons data shows there were 704 ships trading, representing 0.7% of the global merchant fleet, that are capable of using LNG. In terms of the global orderbook however a sizeable 28.8% in gt terms will come out of yards as LNG capable.

In recent weeks, many dual fuel ships have switched to traditional bunker fuel as the price of LNG has soared across the planet.

Keen to dismiss the methane leakage argument, two LNG bunker lobby groups revealed details earlier this year of an independent, peer-reviewed study that claims GHG reductions of up to 23% are achievable now from using LNG as a marine fuel, depending on the marine technology employed. This is compared with the emissions of current oil-based marine fuels measured from well-to-wake.

This report used the latest primary data to assess all major types of marine engines and global sources of supply with data provided by original equipment manufacturers including Caterpillar MaK, Caterpillar Solar Turbines, GE, MAN Energy Solutions, Rolls Royce (MTU), Wärtsilä, and Winterthur Gas & Diesel, as well as from ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total on the supply side. Methane emissions from the supply chains as well as methane released during the onboard combustion process – also known as methane slip – have been included in the analysis.

Peter Keller, chairman of lobby group SEA-LNG, commented on the publication of this review: “Often based on outdated data, methane slip has become an overused argument for those wishing to justify inaction.”

The study claims that by 2030 methane slip will have been “virtually eliminated” as technological improvements continue.

Analysts at Alphatanker last week argued that today’s low-pressure LNG-fueled engines can reduce methane slip by around 50% compared with a first-generation low-pressure engine. Moreover, the recent development of high-pressure engines can reduce methane slip by up to 80% compared with a first-generation low-pressure engine.


A North of 60 rare earths supply chain
Shane Lasley, North of 60 Mining News, October 28, 2021

A recent agreement between Vital Metals Ltd. and Ucore Rare Metals Inc. marks a major milestone in establishing a complete North American rare earths supply chain with links in Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and Alaska.

Vital has already established Canada’s only rare earths mine at its Nechalacho project in Northwest Territories and is building a processing facility in Saskatchewan to upgrade the high-grade ore into a midstream carbonated product with a mix of rare earths.

Ucore is advancing plans to develop an REE separation facility in Alaska that would provide the link in a supply chain that offers manufacturers with a completely North American supply of the individual rare earth oxides needed for a wide array of modern technologies, including electric vehicles, renewable energy, computers, smartphones, and military equipment.

“The combination of our efforts clearly work together towards the collective goal of establishing an ex-China rare earth supply chain to ensure that Western world manufacturers have access to North American produced and sourced rare earth oxides,” said Ucore Rare Metals COO Mike Schrider.

Dominating the global rare earths markets for more than 40 years, China accounted for roughly 60% of all the REEs mined and approximately 80% of the separation and purification of these elements during 2020.

While MP Materials’ Mountain Pass Mine in California’s Mojave Desert does produce a significant amount of rare earths, it does not have the capacity to separate concentrates produced there into useable individual rare earths.

Instead, MP Materials currently ships its concentrates to China for separation. North American manufacturers then buy rare earth metals and upgraded products imbued with these elements from the Middle Kingdom and other overseas suppliers.

As such, the U.S. currently relies on foreign countries for 100% of its supply of separated rare earth oxides. And more than 80% of these critical metals are imported from China, either directly or via secondary countries.

“For far too long the U.S. sat on the sidelines while China strategically built out production and processing capabilities that have resulted in almost total dominance of the rare earth supply chain,” National Mining Association President and CEO Rich Nolan said earlier this year. “Ucore’s vision and plan show that need not be the case.”

With a preliminary offtake agreement for Vital, rare-earth carbonates produced in Canada and a second agreement with Southeast Conference to help secure the funding for a planned separation facility in Alaska, Ucore’s vision of establishing a critical link in an emerging North American REE supply chain is coming into much sharper focus.

Vital NWT mine

This burgeoning North American REE supply chain begins at Nechalacho, the first and only rare earths mine in Canada.

Nechalacho produced its first rare earths ore in June, two short years after Australia-based Vital Metals initiated a unique strategy that leverages the very high-grade ore coming to surface and modern mining technologies to quickly establish an operation with a very small environmental footprint.

North T, the first deposit being mined at Nechalacho, hosts 101,000 metric tons of resources averaging 9% total rare earth oxide. This is nearly an order of magnitude higher grade than most REE deposits, which tend to average around 1% TREO or less.

Vital contracted Nahanni Construction, a Northwest Territories-based dirt moving company majority-owned by the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, to mine the high-grade rare earth ore at Nechalacho.

“We are developing Nechalacho using the most sustainable methods possible, which includes the use of local labor so that we can support the communities surrounding our project,” said Vital Metals Managing Director Geoff Atkins.

Cheetah Resources Corp., Vital’s Canadian subsidiary, is utilizing a TOMRA x-ray transmission (XRT) sorter to upgrade the ore mined at North T to a concentrate that is expected to contain greater than 30% rare earth oxides.

Without the need for a complex processing facility or tailings storage, the Nechalacho Mine is something akin to a gravel quarry – simply mine and crush near-surface rock and sort out the best material with little or no water and zero chemicals.

“Mining is changing. While sorter technology is widely used in diamond mining, this is the first time that sensor-based sorting has been used as a single step to produce a metal ore concentrate. It is much more environmentally friendly,” said TOMRA engineer Russell Tjossem, who trained members of the Yellowknives First Nation to operate the sorter.

REE hub in Saskatchewan

The next link in the North American rare earths supply chain being established in partnership with Ucore is Vital’s rare earth carbonate production plant currently being built adjacent to Saskatchewan Research Council’s REE facility in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

“Our first shipment of ore is due to leave Nechalacho this month and we expect to start feeding into the plant before the end of CY2021 (calendar year 2021), with commissioning to follow,” Atkins said in early October.

This plant is being built to have a startup production capacity of 1,000 metric tons per year, which is 50% higher than originally planned, with a second stage of expansion to 2,000 metric tons per year.

“Vital has procured all key equipment required to process REE ore from our Nechalacho operation in the Northwest Territories into rare earth carbonate at the Saskatoon plant, including oversizing of some items to enable us to increase production in our second stage of operations,” Atkins said.

The only initial equipment not sized for the phase-two expansion is the leaching tanks, which can be easily added when needed. Vital says this selectivity in oversizing equipment is based on its management team’s previous experience in commissioning similar plants and will help ensure ramp-up occurs as smoothly as possible.

By mid-October, the Saskatoon processing facility was already taking shape, with foundation work complete, electrical services installed, and the construction of the building slated to be underway before the end of the month.

Saskatchewan Research Council, which provides a wide range of technological services to mining companies in Canada and around the globe, has been contracted to support the construction and operation of Vital’s plant. The collaboration between SRC and Vital is expected to maximize synergies as they ramp up side-by-side rare earths processing facilities.

“Construction of our custom-built facility is underway at the same time as the SRC Rare Earth Processing Facility being built by Saskatchewan Research Council, and it’s exciting to see this rare earths hub start to take shape in Saskatoon,” said Atkins.

Much of the initial rare earths carbonate produced at Vital’s custom-built Saskatoon facility will be shipped to REEtec AS, a Norway-based company that has developed an efficient and environmentally sound technology to separate the notoriously interlocked rare earths into the individual elements needed for high-tech and industrial applications.

Under an amended agreement signed earlier this month, Vital will sell rare earth carbonate product containing at least 750 metric tons of the magnet rare earths praseodymium and neodymium within 2,000 metric tons per year to REEtech. This is a 50% increase over the midstream rare earths product containing 470 metric tons of praseodymium and neodymium under a previous agreement between the companies.

“This 50% increase in product to be sold to REEtec represents a vote of confidence in Vital Metals’ ability to guarantee feedstock to the European rare earths supply chain,” said Atkins. “This increase will result in the expansion of our Saskatoon plant to double capacity by the end of 2023 with REEtec taking 75% of the plant capacity from that time.”

North American supply chain

On the heels of the deal to ship more rare earths carbonate to Norway-based REEtec, Vital entered into a separate agreement to supply Ucore with some of this midstream REE product produced in Saskatchewan.

“This agreement is an important and exciting entrance into the North American downstream rare earth supply chain,” said Atkins. “We are particularly excited that, similarly with REEtec’s position in the European market, Ucore represents the most advanced new rare earth separation company entering into the North American market.”

This entrance into the North American rare earths market will come with the development of the Alaska Strategic Metals Complex, or Alaska SMC, a rare earths and critical minerals separation and purification facility planned for development near the town of Ketchikan on the Southeast Alaska panhandle.

And much like Vital, Ucore believes time is of the essence when it comes to establishing North American supplies of rare earths, especially with the global transition to electric vehicle and renewable energy technologies that are driving massive new demand for these elements.

“Once we shift to an electric vehicle economy, we have got to make sure we have the materials for those manufacturing jobs or else we are going to lose those jobs,” Ucore COO Schrider told Mining News.

This sense of urgency is why Ucore drew a line in the sand with Alaska2023, a business plan with an aggressive 2023 deadline for the development of the Alaska SMC.

A preliminary agreement for a supply of a mixed rare earth product to feed this separation facility is a major step that should help Ucore secure the funding it needs to meet its targets.

Under a nonbinding memorandum of understanding announced on Oct. 19, Vital will sell a minimum of 500 metric tons of rare earths oxides, not counting cerium, to Ucore by 2024 and will expand its Canadian operations to supply at least 50% of Ucore’s planned 5,000 metric ton per year capacity at Alaska SMC by 2026.

“This partnership with Vital is an integral step in the development of the Alaska SMC, as Ucore continues to cultivate relationships with potential like-minded upstream and downstream partners in the evolving Western world market; with the ultimate goal of ensuring that original equipment manufacturers transforming to an electrified economy continue to have access to a comprehensive North American raw material and finished goods supply chain,” said Ucore Rare Metals Chairman and CEO Pat Ryan.

RapidSX tech for Alaska SMC

The planned Alaska SMC will be equipped with RapidSX, a proprietary technology being developed by Ucore’s subsidiary Innovation Metals Corp. to extract pure rare earth oxides out of midstream products such as the mixed REE carbonates to be produced at Vital’s Saskatoon facility.

RapidSX is not so much a new technology as an enormous upgrade to the conventional solvent extraction techniques that have been the standard for separating rare earths for more than 40 years. While effective, traditional solvent extraction is a long process that sometimes takes hundreds of stages to extract all the rare earths from a solution containing the notoriously interlocked elements.

Utilizing an innovative column-based platform developed by Gareth Hatch and his team at Innovation Metals, RapidSX is much faster, compact, and environmentally sound than these traditional solvent extraction techniques popularized in China.

Hatch and his team are advancing this technology toward commercialization at Innovation Metals’ demonstration plant in Ontario.

A small sample of mixed rare earths carbonate provided by Vital before the end of the year will give the innovation metals team the opportunity to test RapidSX with the likely initial feedstock for the Alaska SMC.

“Once the IMC team is through with the commercialization steps that are underway right now, we will actually take the Vital material and bring that to the plant as part of the engineering process for the development of the Alaska SMC,” Schrider told Mining News.

A second one-metric-ton sample of material from Vital’s Saskatoon plant is slated to be provided to Ucore during the second half of 2022, which will allow for a more robust test before building the RapidSX circuit in Alaska.

Ucore intends to begin commissioning the Alaska SMC by the end of 2023 and be producing individual rare earth oxides in early 2024. The separation plant is expected to start off with a 2,000 metric ton per year total rare earth oxide separation and purification capacity and be expanded to 5,000 metric tons per year by 2026.

This dovetails well with Vital’s plans to scale up production at both its rare earths mine in Northwest Territories and midstream REE production facility in Saskatchewan.

“We look forward to further developing our relationship with Ucore with a view to finalizing a definitive offtake agreement and the commencement of supply of feedstock for the Alaska SMC,” said Atkins.

SE Alaska complex

Ucore’s plan to begin delivering rare earths into North American supply chains by 2024 took a major step forward earlier this month when the rare metals mining and technologies company entered into a memorandum of agreement with Alaska’s Southeast Conference for the evaluation and potential development of a Natural Resource Development Complex that would host the Alaska SMC.

“The establishment of the MOA between Ucore and Southeast Conference is an important moment in the development of the Alaska SMC and represents just one of many envisioned partnerships as Ucore advances the establishment of a robust and independent rare earth supply chain for the United States and its allies – with an Alaskan-centric focus,” said Schrider.

Incorporated in 1958 to advocate for the establishment of a transportation network that eventually became the Alaska Marine Highway System, Southeast Conference has long been supporting strong economies, healthy communities, and a quality environment in Southeast Alaska.

As the federally and state recognized development organization for Southeast Alaska, Southeast Conference is investigating the potential of leveraging access to federal economic development grants to fund an industrial park that would host Ucore’s Alaska SMC and have space available for other natural resource projects.

“This collaboration with Ucore as the anchor tenant for the Natural Resource Development Complex will stimulate complementary growth in the mineral sector and attract other types of resource extraction entities that will benefit from the direct and indirect business and physical infrastructure improvements created by the development of the Alaska SMC,” said Southeast Conference Executive Director Robert Venables.

Selecting the site for the Natural Resource Development Complex will be based on what would work for its anchor client, along with other Southeast Alaska economic development opportunities.

Ucore has long considered Ketchikan as the ideal locale for the Alaska SMC due to the port town’s workforce, infrastructure, and proximity to Ucore’s Bokan rare earths mine project on Prince of Wales Island.

Located about 35 miles from Ketchikan, the Dotson Ridge deposit at Bokan hosts roughly 31,722 metric tons of rare earth oxides, 17,715 metric tons titanium dioxide, 9,001 metric tons zirconium, 2,205 metric tons niobium, 464 metric tons vanadium, 231 metric tons beryllium, and 178 metric tons hafnium in the indicated category.

While the Alaska SMC would initially process rare earths bearing feedstock from third-party suppliers, Ucore ultimately plans to use this facility to separate rare earths, and other critical minerals mined from Bokan.

In the meantime, however, building the Alaska SMC in Ketchikan also works very well for processing rare earths carbonate from Vital’s Saskatoon plant, which could be delivered by rail to Prince Rupert on British Columbia’s west coast and a 115-mile ferry to Ketchikan.

In turn, the individual rare earths coming out of the Alaska SMC could easily be delivered to North American manufacturers of EVs, wind turbines, high-tech devices, and the growing number of other household, industrial, and military goods that benefit from the unique properties these elements offer.

“What our real objective here is to assist the United States in establishing that supply chain,” said Schrider.

He says the REE supply chain Ucore and Vital are working to establish is only one of many that needs to be established to supply the massive demand being driven by the current shift to electric mobility.

“We are cognizant that what we are doing is critical for the future and it is not just us, it is going to take the entirety of the efforts in the United States that are working toward the same goals,” the Ucore Rare Metals COO told Mining News.


‘Trust is a hard thing’: Manchin blows up Dem momentum
Burgess Everett, Sarah Ferris, Marianne Levine, Politico, November 1, 2021

Joe Manchin’s pointed refusal Monday to endorse President Joe Biden’s $1.75 trillion social spending bill framework left Democrats insisting that the mercurial Democratic senator would come around.

In a blunt press conference, Manchin said he would not bow to party pressure to support the more progressive social spending bill and decried the “shell games, budget gimmicks” used in writing it. And the West Virginia Democrat criticized House Democrats’ delay of a bipartisan infrastructure bill he helped write, declaring it “time to vote.”

Since Manchin is Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s proverbial 50th vote, his comments rippled through the Senate Democratic Caucus and left some senators like Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) concerned about Manchin’s level of commitment. She contended that Biden “obviously has work to do” with Manchin. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) said “quite a few of us are going to continue to press our friend and colleague.”

It was clear that Democrats had heard some version of Manchin’s calls for delay and pointed scrutiny before. Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said “it didn’t seem like anything he couldn’t have sent in an email.” And some Democrats argued that although Manchin can be hard to predict, that he is not the type of politician to screw Biden over.

“Manchin is not going to be the guy who pulls the foundation out of the Biden first-year track record,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). “I don’t think he’ll surprise me on this.”

Perhaps most perilously for the House progressives whom he criticized for holding up the $550 billion infrastructure bill, Manchin made clear that despite his warm statements about the White House’s framework, he can’t be viewed as an automatic yes just because he’s a Democrat.

It’s a major gut check for Biden and his party’s fragile majorities, which require lockstep unity in the 50-50 Senate and near-total support in the House. Democrats need Manchin’s vote to pass the rest of Biden’s climate and social spending agenda, but Manchin’s only real demand on Monday was that the House immediately pass the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

When it came to the $1 trillion-plus spending bill, Manchin’s words were far less ironclad.

“I’m open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward. But I’m equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country,” Manchin said, citing inflation and budget deficits as his main concerns. Democrats have linked their infrastructure and social spending bills as part of a strategic attempt to unite their disparate wings to advance major legislative goals this year.

As of Monday morning, many House Democrats projected they could vote this week on infrastructure and the social policy measure, passed using budget reconciliation rules that allow it to avoid a filibuster in the Senate. That timeline could slip past this week after Manchin’s press conference, which also appeared to embolden House moderates.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi told Democrats in a closed-door meeting Monday night that the House Rules panel could meet to tee up the $1.75 trillion bill as soon as late Tuesday, with floor votes later this week, according to people listening. Asked when Democrats could release final text of the bill, House Majority Whip Steny Hoyer quipped: “I wish I knew.”

Some Senate Democrats conceded that Manchin had only complicated things even as he tried to offer clarity.

“At this moment in time trust is a hard thing. And we don’t want to give people excuses to vote against the [infrastructure bill] or against reconciliation,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.).

Progressives in the House scrambled in the wake of Manchin’s unexpected criticism of the social spending bill after months of behind-the-scenes talks intended to win him over. Many of those liberals were prepared to vote yes on both of Biden’s bills this week, in large part because they believed the White House had secured both senators’ votes on the roughly $1.75 trillion package.

While some members, including Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), mostly seemed resolved to ignore Manchin for the moment, others feared his comments could upend plans to finally vote on both the social spending and infrastructure bills this week. Pelosi informed some members over the weekend she aimed to bring both to the floor, though other senior Democrats were more skeptical of such a quick timeline given the unresolved issues.

In a uniquely fast statement released after Manchin spoke, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden aides “remain confident that the plan will gain Senator Manchin’s support.”


Billions committed to conservation and renewables at COP26
Andrew Freedman, Axios, November 2, 2021

Big-dollar efforts from public and private entities announced Tuesday could yield carbon emissions reductions in the electricity sector, via land and forest conservation and other means.

Why it matters: A running theme at COP26 is corporations and nonprofits teaming up to build momentum toward climate solutions.

First, the Rockefeller Foundation, the IKEA Foundation and the Bezos Earth Fund launched the Global Energy Alliance for People and the Planet. It aims to tackle access to renewable energy across Africa, Asia and Latin America during the next decade, along with carbon cuts and creating 150 million jobs.

  • The Bezos fund alone is putting $500 million toward this goal.
  • “The political assumption is all of this stuff is foreign assistance and aid and is somehow not prioritizing Americans first,” Dr. Raj Shah, president of the Rockefeller Foundation, told Axios’ Mike Allen in an interview.
  • “And I think the opposite is true. I think by bringing everyone together to solve the greatest existential challenge we all face, we’re actually, you know, deeply prioritizing the security of our own people,” Shah, who headed USAID during the Obama administration, said.
  • The effort has investment partnerships with development banks, including the Asian Development Bank and World Bank, along with Italy, the U.K. and Denmark.

Separately, the LEAF Coalition to protect tropical forests announced it has reached its $1 billion goal for commitments to countries and states to protect tropical forests and reduce deforestation.

  • The group says it will sign its first letters of intent with Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal and Vietnam, according to a statement, and will expand to new partners including
  • The coalition helps pay national and sub-national governments to protect lands for verified reductions in deforestation.

Go deeper: What to know about COP26 in Glasgow