In today’s edition, IPCC climate change report’s findings seem to have been heard, as China is set to put the environment above economic development. Also in this edition, the EU is to hold discussions about a proposal to make supply in the world’s biggest carbon market more flexible in June.
Quote of the Day
“Many people point to China’s laws as a sign of the government’s concern about the environment. But changes in bureaucratic targets are a more direct indication of changing priorities and can tell us whether Beijing means business.”
Alex Wang, expert in Chinese environmental law at UCLA, in the Reuters’ story China set to elevate environment over development in new law
China set to elevate environment over development in new law
Sui-Lee Wee and David Stanway, Reuters
Smog-hit China is set to pass a new law that would give Beijing more powers to shut polluting factories and punish officials, and even place protected regions off-limits to industrial development, scholars with knowledge of the situation said.
***LB: Also in this story “The legislation also proposes to formalise a system by which local cadres are assessed according to their record on pollution issues, including meeting emissions targets.”
China’s Tianjin bans new steel, cement plants – report
The government of the industrial city of Tianjin in northern China said it would not approve any new steel, cement or non-ferrous metals plants in a bid to fight pollution, state media reported on Tuesday.
Chinese court dismisses water pollution lawsuit
A Chinese court has rejected a lawsuit filed by five residents from a major northwestern city after authorities said a cancer-inducing chemical had been found in tapwater at 20 times above national safety levels, state media reported on Tuesday.
EU Nations Said to Set Next Carbon-Market Overhaul Talks in June
Ewa Krukowska, Bloomberg
European Union governments will hold further discussions in June about a proposal to make supply in the world’s biggest carbon market more flexible, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
***LB: Also in this story “The draft measure, designed to introduce automatic supply curbs or injections starting in 2021 to avoid imbalances, requires backing from both from EU member states and the Parliament to be amended and take effect.”
IMF, World Bank push carbon pricing
The leaders of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have called upon finance ministers to “tackle the issue of carbon pricing,” Fairfax reports.
Germany’s RWE begins natural gas deliveries to Ukraine
Christoph Steitz and Michael Kahn, Reuters
Germany’s RWE began deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine on Tuesday, marking an initial step in EU efforts to boost supplies as a diplomatic crisis involving Kiev and Moscow poses the risk of Russia turning off the taps.
US Renews ConocoPhillips’ Permit For Alaska LNG Exports
The U.S. Energy Department on Monday renewed ConocoPhillips’ permit allowing the company to export liquefied natural gas from Alaska to all countries.
Putin Turn to China Heralds New Look at Yuan Debt: Russia Credit
Ksenia Galouchko and Elena Mazneva, Bloomberg
President Vladimir Putin’s turn to China amid the worst standoff with the U.S. since the Cold War is prompting companies to take a fresh look at yuan bonds. OAO Gazprom, the world’s biggest natural-gas producer, is considering issuing yuan-denominated debt, two people with knowledge of the matter said last week.
Report: One fifth of trucks on Europe’s roads travel empty
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen
One fifth of trucks travelling around Europe are carrying nothing, according to a major new EU report that recommends making it easier for hauliers to work across European borders.
Nukes Best Option Against Russian Gas
Will the crisis in Ukraine curb European Union dependency on Russian gas? It should, but it probably won’t.
Coal Rises Vampire-Like as German Utilities Brave Crisis: Energy
Tino Andresen, Bloomberg Businessweek
What’s a beleaguered utility to do when forced by the government to close its profitable nuclear power plants? It turns to lignite, a cheap, soft, muddy-brown colored form of sedimentary rock that spews more greenhouse gases than any other fossil fuel.
***LB: Also in this story “Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2011 to shutter all 17 of Germany’s nuclear power stations by 2022 struck a blow to RWE’s profit stream, particularly for a company that has almost no presence in renewables.”
Political Rifts Slow U.S. Effort on Climate Laws
Coral Davenport, The New York Times
The United States needs to enact a major climate change law, such as a tax on carbon pollution, by the end of this decade to stave off the most catastrophic impacts of global warming, according to the authors of a report released this week by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
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May 16, 2014
California lawmaker scraps plan to replace carbon market with tax on fuels
Rory Carroll, Reuters
A top Democratic lawmaker in California on Monday backed off an unpopular plan to tax gasoline and diesel fuels and instead proposed a less controversial plan to spend up to $5 billion a year from the state’s fledgling carbon program on affordable housing and mass transit.
Dual Turning Point for Biofuels
Clifford Krauss, The New York Times
There is an old joke in the energy business that advanced biofuels are the fuel of the future, and always will be. A Spanish company, Abengoa Bioenergy, has bet $500 million on robbing that joke of its punch line.
***LB: Also in this story “The market is saturated with ethanol from corn. The automobile and oil industries are resisting efforts to increase the amount of ethanol blended into gasoline.”
Natural Gas/ Coal
China Inc joins the big league in oil and gas services
Charlie Zhu and Andrew Callus, Reuters
Global oil companies are increasingly turning to China for services and equipment, attracted by lower costs and a newly acquired expertise that is challenging more established rivals.
Eni Lifer Who Found Biggest Gas Field Offered Top Job by Renzi
Eduard Gismatullin, Bloomberg
Claudio Descalzi’s nomination as chief executive officer of Eni SpA (ENI) puts a life-long oil man in charge of Italy’s largest crude producer, demonstrating Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s preference for technocrats over political appointees to run the country’s biggest companies.
INTERVIEW-Japan’s Osaka Gas seeks U.S. shale gas stake
Osamu Tsukimori, Reuters
Osaka Gas Co is looking to buy a stake in at least one U.S. shale gas project to help supply fuel to the Freeport LNG project in Texas, a senior company official said on Tuesday.
Duke directors targeted over ash spill
Stephen Foley, The Financial Times
Pension fund investors are trying to oust four board members at Duke Energy, the largest utility in the US, amid mounting criticism of its environmental record and poor oversight of its relationships with regulators. Their intervention comes after a Duke facility spilled 39,000 tons of toxic coal ash into the Dan River in North Carolina in February.
San Leon abandons Turkish deal
Michael Kavanagh, The Financial Times
(Dublin-based) San Leon Energy has abandoned plans to buy Turkish oil and gas group Alpay Enerji. The company said it was unravelling the Turkish deal, which was announced by the Aim-quoted company alongside plans for a £31m share placing last September, after completing due diligence.
Temasek widens its Africa footprint
Javier Blas in Lagos and Jeremy Grant, The Financial Times
Temasek, Singapore’s state investment company, has signalled a big push into the booming sub-Saharan African market, closing on Monday its first major deal in Nigeria.
***LB: Also in this story “Temasek, which managed a portfolio valued at S$215bn as of March 2013, has paid $150m to become one of the largest shareholders in Seven Energy, an oil and gas group based in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and most populous country.”
China’s Wind Energy Capacity Tops 92 GW With 16 GW Addition In 2013
In 2013, China witnessed yet another year of impressive wind energy capacity addition. While the total capacity added was off the peak levels seen a couple of years ago, the Asian giant still managed to add 45% of all the wind energy capacity added in 2013.
***LB: Also in this story “Wind capacity addition in China was more than the capacity added in all of Europe. The offshore wind energy sector saw a massive decline in 2013. Only 39 MW capacity was added last year, pushing the cumulative installed capacity to 428 MW. Only three companies installed new offshore projects last year.”
BMW Lifts i3 Electric Car Production to Meet Rising Demand
Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg
Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), the world’s largest maker of luxury vehicles, has increased production of the i3 electric city car 43 percent to meet demand that has exceeded the carmaker’s initial expectations.
Florida Lawmakers Proposing a Salve for Ailing Springs
Lizette Alvarez, The New York Times
To the untrained eye, Manatee Springs is an idyllic refuge in Central Florida: The cool water is so clear in parts that the sand glistens like polished aluminum.
GAO: Delays in issuing annual RFS hurt refiners
Laura Barron-Lopez, The Hill
A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report released Monday said when the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) is late in issuing its annual Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) it increases costs for refiners. The RFS each year sets the amount of biofuels refiners must blend into the nation’s fuel supply.
Green firms urge Lib Dems to retain local energy saving rules
Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGReen
A coalition of green businesses has written to Liberal Democrat MPs, urging them to vote against coalition plans to remove local authorities’ powers to set their own energy efficiency goals, warning the move will water down existing green building regulations.
Increased CO2 levels make fish unafraid of predators
Fish on a remote coral reef in the South Pacific have altered their behaviour, as acidification of the ocean changes their natural habits, making them attracted to the smell of their predators and unafraid of approaching them.