In today’s edition, assessments on the new curbs on coal-power plants officially unveiled yesterday by the EPA, and a sample of reactions (in the Carbon section). Also, the fact that the U.S. move, along with news that China plans a CO2 cap from 2016, leaves Europe under pressure and groping for new initiatives on climate. 

Quote of the day

“This has to be a global effort”

President Obama, after a meeting with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk, in the Reuters’ story Obama: U.S., EU must commit to ambitious emissions targets


Lead stories

US unveils sharp curbs on coal power plants 
The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan seeks to cut carbon emissions by 30% by 2030. 
***LB: Also in this story “The 645-page rule is a centrepiece of President Barack Obama’s plans to leverage similar commitments from polluting nations like China and India. States must submit initial compliance plans by June 2016.” 

Obama: U.S., EU must commit to ambitious emissions targets
U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday touted new proposals from his administration to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants and said the United States and Europe had to lead by example in fighting global warming.

Obama’s new emissions rules likely to face a friendly court
Lawrence Hurley, Reuters
The fate of President Barack Obama’s new regulations for curbing greenhouse gas emissions from existing U.S. power plants likely lies in the hands of a Washington, D.C., appeals court he largely reshaped through a series of key appointments.

White House turns blind eye on Democrats who oppose climate rules
Jeff Mason, Reuters
Democrats in Republican-leaning states have a simple strategy for dealing with President Barack Obama’s upcoming power plant restrictions before the mid-term elections: Fight them, with the White House’s blessing.

UMWA Joins Coal Industry to Oppose EPA Regs 
Jessica Lilly, West Virginia Public Broadcasting
The United Mine Workers of America is joining the coal industry in a rare occasion to oppose proposed regulations meant to curb carbon emissions.

Could climate rule spark shutdown fight?
Erik Wasson, The Hill
President Obama’s new climate change rule could result in a partial government shutdown this fall if Republicans attempt to block the regulations through the appropriations process.

Obama’s climate change regulations are less ambitious than what Republicans were proposing in 2008
Ezra Klein, Vox
In May 2008, Sen. John McCain traveled to Portland, Oregon, and delivered a speech that no Republican presidential candidate would consider giving today.

China plans absolute CO2 cap from 2016
Kathy Chen and Stian Reklev, Reuters
China, the world’s biggest emitter of climate-changing greenhouse gases, will set an absolute cap on its CO2 emissions from 2016, a top government adviser said on Tuesday.

Africa: South Africa Plans to Study Need for New Climate Change Law
Jocelyn Newmarch, AlertNet
The election of South African parliamentarian Cedric Frolick as president of the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE International) earlier this year is likely to turn the spotlight on his country’s domestic climate policies and regulations, as legislators gather for a world summit in Mexico later this week.

In Debate Over Coal, Lessons From ’90s Tobacco Fight
Jonathan Weisman, The New York Times
The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulation of power plant emissions signals the beginning of a fight over coal and climate change.

The Phony War on Obama’s Plan to Curtail Coal-Fired Power
Paul M. Barrett, Bloomberg Businessweek
Business interests are up in arms over President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.  
***LB: Also in this story “Even before the Obama plan was announced, utilities were planning to shut enough coal-fired generation in the next six years to supply a city five times the size of New York in order to comply with existing environmental laws.”

U.S. green groups see need to nudge Obama’s ‘opening bid’ on carbon cuts
Valerie Volcovici, Reuters
In large part, the wide-ranging reaction to President Barack Obama’s signature effort to cut power plant carbon emissions could have been written months in advance.

Obama’s Environmentalist Attack on America 
Arnold Ahlert, Canada Free Press
Apparently the reality that America’s economic output declined by 1 percent in the first quarter, retail and home sales are plummeting, and a record-setting 1 in 8 (or 10 million) American men in their prime working years between ages 25—54 aren’t working or looking for work will be no impediment for a president determined to impose a radical environmentalist agenda on the nation. 

Obama touts need for European energy independence
Justin Sink, The Hill
President Obama on Tuesday said the crisis in Ukraine “highlighted the need for greater energy security in Europe.”

Beijing and Washington’s assertiveness on carbon pollution exposes Europe’s dithering
Joss Garman, Left Foot Forward 
In the course of the last 24 hours, the two biggest polluters in the world – China and the United States – have changed the terms of international talks on climate change, and exposed Europe’s dithering on the issue. 
***LB: Also in this story “Not a single government in the EU is using carbon pollution controls to force the closure of existing coal burning stations. And with the exception of the UK, no governments have introduced policies to prevent new coal stations being built.”


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EPA carbon rule meets quick resistance in Wyoming
Mead Gruver, Associated Press 
Gov. Matt Mead said Monday he will “fight for coal” if he has to amid proposed new regulations that would cut greenhouse emissions from power plants. 
***LB: Also in this story “It’s essentially an energy tax. The last thing we should be doing in this economy when so many Americans are out of work is make the bare essentials more expensive.”

Call for carbon emission cuts expected to hit Tennessee hard
Paul C. Barton, The Tennesseean 
In its most sweeping policy proposal yet to address climate change, the Obama administration Monday called for a 30 percent reduction in carbon emissions from existing electric power plants by 2030, with even more required of coal-dependent states like Tennessee.

Louisiana lawmakers quick to condemn Obama administration plan to reduce carbon emissions 
The Time-Picayune 
Louisiana congressional members Monday quickly condemned the Obama administrations bold plan to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants by 30 percent in 16 years.

Florida must cut carbon under Obama climate plan 
Jenny Staletovich, Miami Herald 
Florida’s heavy reliance on natural gas could make cutting carbon pollution under an ambitious plan unveiled Monday by the Obama administration easier to swallow.

Mass. Ahead Of Emissions Cut Goals Laid Out In EPA Plan
Matt Murphy, 90.9 (NPR)
Massachusetts, one of nine states participating in a seven-year-old regional emissions cap and trade program, is well ahead of the proposed greenhouse gas reduction goals rolled out Monday by the Obama administration in an attempt to curb pollutants blamed for climate change nationwide.

Texas attorney general plans to fight new EPA rule
Betsy Blaney, Associated Press 
A federal mandate to slash carbon emissions nationwide could result in another lengthy legal battle in Texas after the front-runner to become the state’s next governor said Monday he will fight the effort.

Natural gas / Coal

Gas boom dulls carbon rule’s effect
Don Lee, Los Angeles Times
Dspite fears that the Obama administration’s proposed rule to curb carbon-dioxide pollution could wreak severe damage on the economy, the true effect is likely to be much more modest.

Coal Counties Angry at Obama to Sway Kentucky Senate Race
John McCormick, Bloomberg Businessweek
President Barack Obama’s decision to propose tougher limits on power-plant emissions poses a threat to Democrats amid the coal-rich mountainsides of Kentucky and to his party’s efforts to keep control of the U.S. Senate. 

Singapore starts its first fully-LNG operated power plant
Singapore officially started its first power plant that fully operates on liquefied natural gas (LNG) on Tuesday, said the head of the company that owns the facility, as the city state tries to curb its reliance on piped natural gas.

Coal Leaders Now at Huge Selective Discounts to Book Value
Jon C. Ogg, 24/7 Wall Street
With new Obama-led EPA rules for coal-powered electric utilities out, investors and traders have had yet one more reason to dump their coal stocks.

Queen’s Speech: (UK) Greens blast move to ease fracking planning rules
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
The Green Party has slammed government plans that would allow fracking firms to drill under people’s homes without seeking permission first.

S.Korean tax on coal imports for power to start from July
South Korea’s tax on coal imports for power generation will start in July and duty on some alternative fuels will be cut, the government said on Tuesday.


Europe’s struggling utilities call on politicians for help
The heads of Europe’s struggling utilities called on lawmakers to speed up legislative changes that they say would help them cope better with a drop in power prices and demand.

Britain’s solar boom seen even bigger this year
Nina Chestney, Reuters
Britain’s growth in solar capacity could be greater this year than last as firms snap up government subsidies for new large plants before they come to an end, said Foresight Group, a major British asset manager investing in the solar sector.

India’s Modi faces battle with states to fix power crisis
Tommy Wilkes, Reuters
Swathes of India’s most populous state plunged into darkness for 12 hours a day last week as temperatures in Delhi hit their highest in 16 years, with the disruptions underlining the tough challenge a new government faces in keeping the lights on.

How Solar Will Destroy The Power Companies, In 5 Easy Steps
Rob Wile, Business Insider
Barclays recently downgraded the entire U.S. electric utilities sector to “underweight” on the threat posed by widespread adoption of solar-storage.


Profits at UK water utility Pennon rise after tariff increases
British water group Pennon reported a 9 percent rise in full-year pretax profit to 207.3 million pounds ($347.4 million), beating analyst estimates, after tariff increases and new customers helped its South West Water subsidiary.


How climate change and a deadly fungus are threatening our coffee supply
Gwynn Guilford, Quartz
In the next 24 hours, the world will guzzle 1.6 billion cups of coffee, the most popular beverage on the planet besides water and tea.

A Crash Course in Urban Watersheds 
Codi Kozacek, Circle of Blue 
This past Tuesday, I arrived in Baltimore as part of the Logan Science Journalism program’s environmental course—a 2-week fellowship based at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. 


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